Six Qualities of Highly Successful Online Students


August 28, 2014 - By Maribel Ramirez

There are many qualities that are inherent to a successful student. Many of these qualities apply to online students. Jennifer Williamson with DistanceEducation.org describes Six Qualities of a Successful Online Student as:

1. You’re Good At Time Management

Online learners have more freedom in terms of where and when they study than students at a traditional school.  But with that freedom comes added responsibility. 

2. You’re An Independent Learner 

Some students need comrades-in-arms: study partners, a group of friends in class, and a teacher looking over their shoulder. If you want to be a successful online student, you need to keep focused and motivated on your own.  Online students communicate with their teachers and other students via email, instant message, and bulletin board??Successful online students are good at finding answers and motivation on their own, and looking in non-traditional places for support. 

3. You Have Excellent Reading and Writing Skills

There’s no question that distance education relies much more on written communication than traditional schools do. Writing is especially important.  While traditional teachers and professors meet you face to face, online teachers get to know you through the things you write in instant messages, email, and bulletin-board discussions..

4. You Aren’t Afraid of Technology

You don’t have to be a technology expert to succeed in distance education.  But you do need to know the basics: online college courses, online communication, Internet research, and the fundamentals of Excel and PowerPoint. 

5. You’re Good at Setting Goals

Strong online students keep their goals firmly in mind. It’s important to continually remind yourself why you’re taking this course, so you can stay excited and focused. Successful online students plan out when they want certain assignments done as soon as they can.  Mark due-dates on your calendar.  Set intermediate goals as well: when you want your research done, when you’ll finish the rough draft of that paper, and so on.  This will keep you on track and prevent you from leaving everything until the last minute.

6. You Have Your Own Space

In an online program, you might have access to the entire library online—but not the quiet place to study. It can be difficult to study at home.  There are distractions everywhere, from television to dirty dishes to family members.  Successful online students learn to carve out their own peaceful place to study, whether it’s at home or at a local coffee shop or library. 

Distance education can be a challenge, but it can also be extremely rewarding.  Online education doesn't’t just teach you about your degree subject: it also teaches you to be self-motivated, independent, and resourceful.  These qualities will serve you well, no matter where your career takes you.

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