Skip to Main Content.

Your 15-Point Student Checklist

by Monica Smith

Jun 18, 2019, 9:00 AM.

Get on the path toward success.

There’s no doubt that college can be challenging. For those who are new to online learning, finding your rhythm may be stressful to start with. Understanding this, we’ve pulled together 15 of our best tips from the FIU Online success coaches, alumni, and even current fully online students to offer you the following checklist. With a little discipline, a lot of time management and the following advice, you can ensure your path toward success. Print this article and refer to it every semester to stay on track.

  • Get to know the platforms.

You will use several platforms for your coursework and to manage your student

account. Check three areas: FIU Panthermail, Canvas, and They are all used for different purposes. Be sure you know the difference between each and that you are able to access your course through Canvas.

  • Log in to Canvas.

On the first day of class, log in to Canvas and start looking at your online courses’

components. Pay attention to discussion postings and deadlines. Many times, if you have a weekly discussion, you may have to post mid-week by Wednesday, and then respond to one or two other postings by the final deadline in Canvas. Don’t miss the midweek discussion submission.

  • Check your syllabi.

Every class is different and will have their own deadlines and requirements. Be sure to read the entire syllabus of every course you’re enrolled in. Take note of important dates like exams and final papers. Make sure that you don’t schedule special events on those dates like a weekend getaway.

  • Get your books.

Order your textbook after the first day of class. While you can check out the books your class will require for your course through the FIU bookstore, you should wait until the class actually begins to double-check the syllabus to see what’s required and to be sure that you’ll actually keep the class. If you decide to buy your books through the FIU bookstore, remember that they price match, so always ask.

  • Pay attention to payment deadlines.

You have a chance to schedule your payments in installments, if necessary, but you have to make arrangements for that well before the tuition deadline comes around.

  • Make a note of the last day to drop/add classes.

Once the add/drop date passes, you will have to pay a fee for the class you are in, so do not let that date slip you by.

  • Communicate with your instructor.

Your instructor’s contact information will be available to you through Canvas and will be on your syllabus. If you have a question or a need, be sure to contact your instructor directly.

  • Get familiar with FIU Canvas Help.

They are available for technical support with Canvas by phone and live chat 24/7 365 days of the year. For more information, visit their website at

  • Connect with your success coach.

Undergraduate students have the benefit of their very own success coach. Contact your success coach for advice on time management, tutoring and other university resources that may be available to you to help you on your student journey.

  • Know who your advisor is.

Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to enroll in your next semester. To do so, log in to to access the Panther Success Network. Your advisor will be able to guide you on your educational path to fulfill the credits you need to graduate in a timely manner.

  • Perform a Panther Audit.

Complete a “Panther Audit” through to stay on top of the classes you’ve taken and those that you need to complete your degree. It’s good to have a Panther Audit handy when you talk to your advisor who can help you interpret it.

  • Take advantage of the freebies.

Fully online FIU students have all the resource perks that on-campus students have. Be sure to check out the FIU library and its resources, Smarthinking tutoring, as well as online counseling available through CAPS. All of these resources can be accessed through Panther Den, located on your Canvas dashboard.

  • Check out Panther Den.

Panther Den is a valuable hub that gives you quick access to the university’s resources. Access Panther Den through your Canvas dashboard and check back often as new features are added frequently.

  • Contact the Disability Resource Center.

Online students have access to FIU’s Disability Resource Center. Be sure to contact the unit well in advance if you have a need.

  • Veterans Affairs can offer you support.

Veterans are a priority for FIU. If you are a veteran or in the military and have a question about education with FIU or its online programs, the FIU Veteran’s Affairs Office is ready to assist you.

Want to share your story?

Submit it!

Quick Links

Information for...