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Especially for new students to online universities, the first week can be hectic. This is your chance to set yourself up for success for your entire term, and these 7 tips will help you do exactly that.
1. Reach out to your professor
Professors have so many students it can be hard to tell them apart. The onus is on you to make an impression, especially in the online university world where you do not have the luxury of talking to your professor face to face. Once the rush of first day emails has subsided, take a look at the syllabus and email a brief introduction of yourself and any questions you have about the year ahead.
2. Read your syllabus and make a study schedule
The first week of class is the easiest time to set great habits. Your syllabus will outline what assignments you have and when they are due, and there is no excuse to be up till 4am the night before deadline trying frantically to turn something in on time. Take a look at your schedule and find some free time that you can set as your study hours, and plan to be working extra the weeks before big assignments are due. By knowing and marking down when everything is due, you can space out your work and avoid getting overwhelmed.
3. Decide if you are committed or if you need to drop a class
Online university students are often extremely busy with families, jobs, and other responsibilities, and balancing these can be a juggling act. The first week is the time to decide if you need to cut some courses- dropping out quickly will allow you to often get your money back and keep your record clean of fails which can hurt your education in the future.
4. Connect with your peers
Online universities can be an isolating experience, as you cannot rely on making friends with the people you are sitting next to in class. Exchange your email address with other students, and participate in a friendly manner on discussion boards. Putting in those first few comments early will help you feel relaxed with the online discussion format and help you engage with your courses.
5. Get those textbooks- and do your readings!
Getting your assigned textbook and doing your readings is one of the most essential ways to succeed at your education, online or not. The cost of textbooks can be prohibitive, but there are options to get them for less. Many times textbooks can be found online through online libraries or institutions such as Project Gutenburg. If you cannot find resources for free, you can often get your textbooks used from former students or through internet retailers such as Amazon or eBay. Once you have your textbook, don’t let it sit around collecting dust! Keep up to date with readings and assignments, and pose questions to your professors whenever you get lost.
6. Get familiar with the technology needed for the course
You will want to acquaint yourself with the technology needed for your online course, from word processing to uploading your finished assignments. Obviously, you will need to check if your computer can run everything! In addition to specific software, online universities require a general proficiencies with computers, and getting to know the course format and what is required of you is essential to avoiding future roadblocks.
7. Get started!
Last but not least, get your butt in gear and get a head-start on your readings and assignments. The first week or two are usually the easiest, and when it gets to crunch time you will be thankful you put in work already. Follow these 7 tips and you will be well on your way to success.