Tips for a Successful Virtual College Experience

Sep 24, 2020

If you are a college student in 2020, you are probably in the position of being unable to return to campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be a Fall semester like no other. COVID-19 has changed how we do everything. Some universities and colleges will be physically open, but with different kinds of restrictions; others, will open the year completely online.  Here are some tips for a successful virtual college experience.

Stay disciplined

In a virtual college environment, your interactions will most likely be done through online postings, a chat box, or video call. To concentrate on schoolwork, set aside a workspace and create a study schedule, just as you would if you were on campus. Another good way to keep focused is to use a calendar app to schedule blocks of time in your day for class, studying, and other tasks. 

Be flexible

Your classes are now online lectures, videos, or a series of readings. Your library is now digital, and office hours are virtual. Resources are still available; they are just in a different form. Being flexible about these changes will help you adjust. Sometimes you’ll need to adjust at a moment’s notice, like when you lose your Internet connection. Download course materials so that you can access them offline. In group projects be sure to communicate well and often, and assign tasks that play to strengths of members, and proofread your work.   

Manage your time wisely             

The benefit of face-to-face classes is that you can rely on them to assess where you should be in the curriculum and remember what exams and deadlines are coming. In an all-virtual environment, you may need to set up your own reminders. Once you know what’s going on, get organized and make a plan for completing work. If you prefer structure, develop a written schedule of when you need to be available online for a virtual class and when you will work on projects and assignments. Remember, you will now have more control of your time, so think about when you work and learn best and try to capitalize on that.

Keep in touch

Humans are social creatures—some more so than others, of course, but connecting with people matters for everyone. On campus, opportunities to ask questions, join study groups, visit tutors, and chat with friends are a short walk away. These activities help you keep up with the course and keep you in touch with other people.

Online, you need to make a conscious effort to stay connected. Reach out to your professor with questions, participate in online discussions through your course, join (or start) virtual study sessions, and keep in touch with your peers via phone calls, text messages, e-mail, and social media.

Written by: Brianne Tomko

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