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5 habits of successful online students

by Monica Smith

Oct 26, 2020, 12:00 PM.

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FIU alumni who have graduated with high honors offer insight into the methods that helped them perform well in online courses.

The growth of online learning across the nation has hundreds of thousands of students logging in to classes every day. For many of these students, online learning is a completely new modality to achieve an advanced degree and for others, it’s the only way to pursue a college degree because of other life commitments. While there are many tips to be successful, here are five habits of some of FIU’s successful online students.

1. Carve out time to study every day

We all struggle with busy lives and obligations that fill our schedules; however, to be successful, you should set time aside every day for coursework and make it part of a routine like Teresa Hadjipetrou ’20 did for her master’s degree in mass communication. Working a full-time job and being a student requires time management, she learned. 

“Carving out an hour a day to do the work during the week will help in keeping up with the course work so you can have your weekends free—you need to give your mind a break. Plan ahead and stick to your schedule, it will save you headaches later,” she said.

2. Use the resources offered

When Julio Toledo ’20 decided to go back to school to finish his IT degree, he was happy to discover all of the tutoring available. He had been a professional for many years and even owns his own business, but he yearned to achieve a degree to validate his years of experience. He found that online learning wasn’t easier, but the resources helped him achieve top grades.

“I could go online and everything was available to me on-demand, even tutoring. Math tutoring that was provided by FIU was also available online. That made it possible for me to return to school to not only be successful, but achieve top grades,” he offered.

3. Take your computer everywhere

Days can be busy, but fortunately, online learning doesn’t require classroom walls or a set meeting schedule. It’s education that’s portable, which Fiammetta Di Mauro ’20 found to be the key to pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology

“Online learning fits my lifestyle. I worked on my course anywhere I went. I took my coursework with me. It’s the flexibility aspect of online learning that helped my life,” she explained.

4. Stay connected with classmates

One of the best ways to stay engaged in online courses is to connect to other classmates. Whether through general discussion posts or team projects, successful students will reach out to classmates and the professor about coursework. According to Mark Higgins ’19, his cohort-style master’s degree program in health services administration required a lot of communication.

“The greatest misconception of online learning is that you are on an island by yourself. The online courses, because of how accessible they are with information and with my cohort, I never felt like we were so disconnected. I feel like the online courses keep you in constant communication and together as a team,” he reasoned.

5. Rewind, hit play, stay inspired

Eloy Perez, who graduated in 2016 with a master’s degree in computer engineering and again in 2018, with a second master’s degree in engineering management admitted he watched lessons twice or more to fully grasp concepts.

“The way that online programs are organized allows students to go back and review what the professor was saying. I liked being able to relearn and review to study what was said and take notes,” he confirmed.

Whether you’re just starting out or enrolling in new online courses, Perez pointed out that it is important to stay inspired and focus on what matters. 

 “My family is what inspires me to get ahead,” he declared.

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