How to Prepare for Online College

Student outdoors working on laptop

6 ways to get ready to take class online


There are lots of benefits to online learning. You can take classes on your own schedule, from anywhere and at your own pace. Plus, it costs less. The flexibility of being able to work and manage personal obligations while advancing your education is huge. And, without additional housing or transportation costs, it’s more gentle on the bank account.


But, just because it’s more flexible and convenient, doesn’t mean it’s easier. Make the most of your online learning by doing a little homework before you get started.


1. Do Your Research

To be successful, you want to be sure online learning is a good option for you. Answer some questions to help figure that out:

  • What are your goals?

  • Will this get you closer to them?

  • Is the course you need (or want!) offered?

  • Is the college you plan to attend accredited?

  • Does the college have an established online program?

  • Does the college offer support and resources to online students?

  • Will you be able to transfer your credits if you want?

  • Do you have access to a computer and high-speed internet?


2. Check Your Technology

This seems obvious, but a lot of people can overlook it. Before your class starts, make sure your technology is compatible with the learning platform. Although online classes are web-based and you’ve probably got an internet connection, you want to be sure it’s reliable, that your browser is compatible and that you have any necessary plugins installed. Once you get your credentials, try logging in to be sure you can access the system. You don’t want to face a technological issue on your first day of class!


3. Watch a Demo

If your online college offers a video demo, watch it. This will help you understand how the courses work. You can see where to access different elements like videos, presentations, chats and forums. Becoming familiar with the interface will make things less stressful when class starts.


4. Plan a Time to Take the Class

One of the best things about online learning is that you can take class whenever you want, but it helps to have a time in mind. Chances are you’re juggling a lot and if you wait until you’ve got free time, you might end up procrastinating. Before classes start, look for times in your schedule when you have mental and physical energy. Plan to set those times aside for classwork.


5. Find a Place to Take the Class

Just like scheduling a time, determining a place to learn can be helpful. Try to find a quiet spot without a lot of distractions. Make sure it’s physically comfortable—but not so comfortable that you fall asleep while studying! If you need to find another spot, you can. That’s one beauty of taking courses online.


6. Get Motivated

When you take classes online, you’re in charge of your schedule. It’s very freeing, but it also means you need to plan accordingly. To make sure your coursework stays a priority when life gets busy, write down the goals you identified in step one and keep them handy. This will remind you why you’re taking classes and keep you motivated.


By taking these steps, you’ll be able to hit the ground running with less stress when your classes start.


How BARTonline Can Help

If you’re interested in taking classes at BARTonline, we have some resources to help you conduct your research and get ready to be a Cougar.


No matter where you are—right next door in Kansas or overseas on a military deployment—our cost per credit hour is the same: $150. (Some courses have additional fees.) Our students have even more flexibility because we offer 15 sessions that range in length from 4 to 16 weeks throughout the year. We like to say we’re always enrolling. So, if you’re ready to jump in, check out our course listings and enroll for a session that works for you!

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