How to Make it as an Online Student

More students are opting to take their studies online as an alternative to sitting in the physical classroom than ever before.

As a result, there are lots of skills that are needed to complete an online course successfully as an independent learner. If you are not capable of the below attributes, then you should consider if an online course is a way forward for your learning.

Time Management

To complete an online course, a student must be able to manage their own free time and be able to create gaps in their normal schedule to study.

It is also important to understand how long the time period will be in which you will study before you eventually complete the course.

If you are unable to manage your own time, then it is unlikely that you will be able to prioritize your studies and give them the time needed.

Most online courses will give you an idea of how many hours of study are required and over how long the course typically takes.

For example, has online MSN programs, and they describe these as taking at least 36 months to complete. Consider what your own schedule should look like to consider your course needs.

Critical Thinking

Completing an online course means more lone working and less opportunity to discuss and debate topics with peers or as a group.

As a result, an online student should be constantly looking at their subject from different angles and consider using skepticismskepticizing on their points of view more closely.

This is important to do to be able to put forward arguments in future debates and to widen your scope of thinking and your interest in the wider subjects.

Critical thinking can also be used to make judgments over the quality of work being produced and decisions that need to be made about study efforts.


From thinking critically about your studies, will come the need to be independently taking the initiative. While there is a support system for those doing online courses, such as teachers that can be contacted by email and often online discussion areas for students, the responsibility to utilize these options is your own.

An online student must be able to independently take responsibility for their own work schedule, their communications with professors, and their study environment.

Only the student themselves will be able to provide the workspace and questions needed to make progress.


Lastly, an online student should be just as committed to their course as an on-campus student. The value and difficulty of a course’s subject do not differ because it is online, and a student should not start a course with the misperception that it will be easier to gain the qualification because it is an online program.

The course will still need to have ample attention given to it and is likely to still be a significant life and financial decision. If you are unsure if you genuinely want to finish the course, then you should not start it.