In today’s day and age, many universities are offering entirely online programs. Online universities are tempting because you can work from the comfort of your own home. Also, they save money because you wouldn’t have to pay for gas and room and board if you were to go on campus for classes. However, online universities are not for everyone, because they require a student who is self-disciplined enough to take on the tasks for his or herself. So, how do you know if an online university is the right place for you? Ask yourself these 10 questions, and answer honestly, then you will know if you can succeed in an online university.
Can I teach myself the material?
In an online university you don’t get the benefit of a teacher showing you on a chalkboard how to do certain problems. You have to open your book and essentially teach yourself, with the instructor acting as more of a guide than a teacher. If you get extremely stuck you can e-mail your instructor, but they basically expect you to read and grasp the concepts for yourself.
Can I trust myself to turn in assignments on time?
With an online university, once you get the syllabus that’s pretty much all the reminder you will get that something is due in a given week. You won’t get the benefit of an instructor reminding you in class that your essay is due next week. You have to rely on yourself to mark due dates down in your calendar and stick to them.
Do I wait until the last minute to get things done?
If you wait until the last minute to work on your assignments, there is a very good chance you will fall behind. In online universities you have to stay on top of the work. Since you don’t get face-to-face time with your instructor or peers, there is generally a lot more assignments that are due in order to make sure you are learning the material you are supposed to. It is very easy to put online studies aside for more fun things, but you have to make sure that your education stays at the forefront.
Can I get out what I want to say in writing?
Generally, in an online university instead of tests you’ll have writing assignments instead. Instructors do this to make sure you can repeat back to them what you are getting out of the book. If you have trouble expressing yourself in the written word, chances are an online university will not be the best fit for you. The exceptions to this would be math and science classes.
Do I have reliable internet access?
This one may seem like a “duh” sort of question, but having a reliable internet connection is crucial if you want to attend an online university. If your internet is flaky, you need to be sure to fix it before you enroll. Instructors still want their assignments when they are due, and they won’t care that you had a connection problem.
Can I check in with my class three or four times a week?
You must be able to log on to your class’s website at least three or four times a week in order to be successful at an online university. Instructors will email you through the website if there is a change in the syllabus, and they expect you to be logging on regularly so you know what changes are happening. It is also the way students in the online classes connect with each other. Instructors won’t be sympathetic if you log on once a week and miss an important announcement.
Is my schedule hectic?
If you have kids or a full-time job then an online university may be the best fit for you. You won’t have to worry about trying to make class every week, because you can log on while your kids are asleep or after you get home from work and relax. Just be sure that you don’t let your busy schedule prevent you from being able to log on at all.
Am I able to ask for help when I need it?
If you get stuck on a particular part of your class, you must take it upon yourself to e-mail the instructor and ask for the help you need. You don’t have the buffer of waiting for him/her to explain it to you or waiting for another student to ask the same question. Your instructor should give you the ways to reach him/her on the first day of class. If they don’t, be sure to contact the school and get the information for yourself.
Can I take a tutorial?
Most online universities will have a tutorial that you can watch before you ever enroll in a class. Watch that tutorial and try to understand how online universities work. If you don’t see a tutorial on the online university you are thinking of attending, give them a call and see if they have any brochures or helpful materials to help you make your decision.
I’m still not sure, can I try it to see if it is for me?
If you still don’t know if online classes are right for you, then pick a class that you feel comfortable in and give it a try. Don’t try your hardest subject right off the bat, and don’t go for your first time in the summer. Summer classes are shorter, so you will end up feeling rushed. Take it slow, and if you do well in your online class then try another one or two. By then you should have a good idea if you like learning at an online university.