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Good Study Habits for Online Students

Step 1: Time Management

Give up watching the TV shows that do not really interest you. Free up your time. Reducing your TV time by 10 hours per week will result in 10 hours of free time to devote to your online education. Ten hours of free time per week is enough to complete that long-delayed dream of earning a college degree.

Step 2: Put Your Dreams and Goals in Writing

Earning an online degree will not be easy. You will encounter obstacles. Though it may sound silly, I encourage you to write down why you want to return to high school. Write down all your reasons and put them where you will see them often, like the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

Step 3: Claim a Study Space

One of the most common reasons for people to drop out of online programs is that online learning is hard work. It takes time. It takes discipline. It takes quiet. The first step is to look around your house and find a place to claim as your own. Some students have found a quiet space in the garage, basement, attic or laundry room. After you've claimed your study space, make sure everyone in the family understands it is your sacred spot. Put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign and enforce it! Even if you can't follow all the tips for success in online courses, your odds of staying in school will increase if you find a study spot.

Step 4: Make a Study Plan and Stick to It

Once you register for an online program, establish a home study schedule of about three to five hours per week. Pick two times that are each at least two hours long for your regular study time—for example, Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m. and Sunday nights from 6-8 p.m. On your first study day each week, read any required materials and take notes. Go back a few days later to review your reading notes and work on any written homework or other assignments. Now that you have identified your regular study times, tell everyone in the family. Post a notice on the refrigerator that you will be studying at predetermined times each week. Ask family members to respect this time. Make sure everyone understands you are not to be disturbed during your study time. Never skip a study time. Always sit down at your station at study time. Do this even if you don't have pressing homework to complete. Keeping a regular schedule will help prevent procrastination. If you find yourself sitting at your desk and looking at your books, but not reading, remind yourself that you must study for a short amount of time. Set a timer. At the end of that time, close the book and give yourself a break.

Step 5: Seek help when you’re struggling

Nothing great comes easy, so if you feel like you’re not understanding your school work, seek out help! You can contact an adviser for additional help. Don’t try to do this on your own, you will only get frustrated and may even want to just quit.

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