04/02/2012

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Scheduling Time For Online Classes If you are going to college part-time while you work, consider taking classes online, possibly in addition to traditional classes. One of the best things about online classes is that you set your own schedule in terms of when you login. That means you can work full time, or take care of your family, or both, and still find time for school. But just because you choose your time for class work, doesn't mean you don't need to schedule that time. You'll perform better, and have less stress, if you have specific times to log on and work on your assignments, as well as time for independent study. It's best if you can log in every day, and check messages and announcements, and read the discussion posts from other students as well as responses to your own posts and assignments. Plan to log in every day, and set specific times for class work. Scheduling a specific time even if the assigned tasks don't require a set time makes it easier for you to keep track of what your responsibilities and assignments are, it will help you engage with the instructor and other students.You may need to participate in scheduled class chat sessions, for instance, as well as post and respond to discussion and forum posts. Make sure you keep a local copy or a print out of any class discussion posts or online work that you submit. You can usually even log chat sessions, though you may have to resort to copying and pasting the text into a word processor document. Keep in mind that you'll probably be graded for class postings and discussions. When the instructor assigns a discussion or post topic, take the assignment as seriously as if you were writing an out of class essay. Write a rough draft, using pen and paper or a word processor offline. Revise it, and proofread it before posting. [This post was originally written for College Adviser in 2012]
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Some Advice About Your First College Term You've been accepted, and you've got a start date in September or October. Right now is a great time to get your first term in order. Here are a few suggestions to help make that first term go well. If you're not already registered, get your ducks in a row to register as soon as possible. Classes fill up quickly. If you've got responsibilities like a job or a family, those present scheduling challenges. You'll want to register early so you can can fit your classes to your schedule. Be reasonable about your time and what you'll be able to accomplish. Create a schedule that includes your classes, your commute time, meals, work, family responsibilities, laundry, study and sleep, as well as regular breaks. Don't schedule more than ninety minutes of study without at least a 15 minute break where you get up and move around. If you can get the list of textbooks for your classes early, do it. Try to get an ISBN number from the instructor for textbooks so you can check prices online at Amazon and other retailers; they may be cheaper. Don't forget about the possibilities of renting a textbook, either. Make a note of those office hours; try to visit every instructor at least twice during the terms during office hours. Have some questions prepared in advance. Don't skip classes if you can possibly avoid it—but don't sleep through them either. That's possibly even worse. If you find yourself falling asleep, as quietly as possible, get up and take a short ten minute break; get a drink of water, and make yourself wake up. If you didn't do as well as you wanted on a placement exam, find out if you can re-take it, and when. In the meantime, if you've got three days or more, cram like you've never crammed before. You might just pass. On the other hand, if you think you could take the class and do really well, take the class. A good grade is a good grade. [Originally written for College Adviser]