No one is saying that earning your graduate degree online is easy. It takes a great deal of hard work and an exceptional amount of dedication. However, it can be done, and if you keep some tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to earning a graduate degree.
Use Communication to Your Advantage
Make certain that the people in your life know about your educational endeavor. Enlist the help and support of your spouse or partner and be frank with your children about your goals. Include your boss and co-workers in the loop. Most often, the people at work will also be supportive of your pursuit of your educational goals.
Create a Schedule
You’ll be most effective at work, home and school when you have a clear schedule to follow. Start by making note of the obligations you have that must occur at a set time. You’ll build your study schedule around these inflexible hours. You may find that you have to study at different times depending upon the day of the week and the obligations you have for that day. Alternatively, you might commit to getting up earlier every morning to make time for study. Many people who work full time and attend college online use their lunch hour for study. Try to fit a few social engagements into your schedule as a little down time with friends and family can be beneficial to your motivation. Keep a detailed calendar in sight so that you can refer to it frequently for due dates, test dates and other important deadlines.
Set Up a No Distractions Zone
Inform your family of the times you’ll be studying and be up front about setting ground rules. During study time, other household members should refrain from distracting you with conversation and excessive noise. Make sure that other family members are aware of when you’ll need to use the computer so that it will be available to you when you need it.
Inquire About Adjusting Your Work Schedule
This is not a realistic option for everyone, but some workplaces do offer a little scheduling latitude. Consider asking your supervisor if you could come in an hour early everyday, allowing you to leave an hour early to concentrate on homework. Additionally, plan ahead for particularly busy or stressful times at school by requesting a day or two off from work well in advance of a test date or an important paper due date.
Multitasking is not always your best option when you’re juggling work and school. When you’re faced with several things that need to be done, choose the one with the shortest deadline first. Focus on that single task. When it’s done, move on to the next task. Rather than worrying about what still needs to be done, focusing only on what you’re doing means you’ll probably finish faster and do better quality work.
Always Be Prepared
Keep study materials with you at all times. You never know when a little downtime can turn into an opportunity to work on a paper or log into your class.
Try to Keep a Positive Outlook
As you work and study, you’re bound to have days where it all seems like it’s too much to handle. At these times, remind yourself of the reasons why you’re pushing yourself so hard. Whether it’s self fulfillment or a chance to improve your family’s financial position, remembering your motives can make it easier to see your goal through to the end.