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The Four Characteristics Of A Successful Online Student

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Going to college online can be the perfect answer for busy working adults who want to start or continue their education. It's convenient, as you can study when you have time rather than having to show up on- campus at specified times that may interfere with your job or family responsibilities. It can also be surprisingly affordable, with many colleges and universities charging the same tuition or only slightly higher than if you attended on-campus. Online college is especially useful for students who don't live near a college.

But being successful in an online learning environment also requires hard work and dedication. Many people make the mistake of thinking online learning will be easier, but that usually isn't the case; in fact, for some people, it may prove more difficult. Here are the four qualities needed if you want to be successful in this format.

Time Management Skills

With online learning, you don't have a teacher taking attendance or repeatedly reminding you when your assignments are due. You don't have to show up to class at a specified time, so it is up to you to effectively manage your time and prioritize your responsibilities. This will require organization on your part if you want to succeed.


Some classes will be a breeze for you, especially if it's a topic you're interested in. Other subjects may prove not so enjoyable. For example, many people struggle with online classes in math, especially older adults who have been out of school for a while. You will have to persevere to get through the difficult classes and prepare for the additional time some courses may take.


While you will likely have an online forum for each course where you can ask the professor and other students for help occasionally, this isn't the same as being able to get together with a bunch of friends for a group study session. You will need to be able to find videos on YouTube that show you how to balance equations or a documentary that discusses how World War l came about. Whatever you don't know, you will need to largely find the answers for yourself, from a variety of sources.

Computer Literate

Online classes rely heavily on technology, which means you need to be highly skilled with operating a computer, surfing the web, uploading attachments, and creating files and documents. Your computer also needs to be well-equipped. If you don't have these skills, check with your local high school or community college; many offer a free or inexpensive course for teaching adults the basics.