When adults—especially moms and dads—think about going back to school, many see no way to squeeze college into their hectic routines. But it is possible—and we’re here with tips for success in online courses. Attending college online helps with that time crunch. Not having to commute to a campus saves adult students several hours per week. These stolen hours can then be applied to home study time. Truth is, the average working American has about 30 hours of free time per week. That’s right: 30 hours. The key is learning how to manage your time tightly.
At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.
A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group (and be careful not to go overboard) -- student organizations, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or sports teams. You'll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.

Since online courses are more independent and self-paced than in-person college courses, the process of studying can be a bit different than with in-person courses. Make sure to re-watch any lectures, videos, and/or slideshows that the teacher posts, take notes, jot down questions you have, utilize the class discussion board, do some outside research to fill in gaps in your understanding, and reach out to your teacher if any questions you have remain unanswered.
While you might think “duh, that’s obvious,” a reliable Internet connection is not always available in your area or deemed too expensive. You’ll need to have a cable modem or a fast DSL connection in order to connect to your courses. Reliable is the key word here. If your Internet connection has a tendency to crash your browser or drop altogether, you’ll need to diagnose the source of a problem or find a new way to access the Web.

Let’s be clear—having a degree does not get you a job. Forty years ago, a bachelor’s degree was almost a guarantee of a job upon graduation, and a lifetime career. Those days are gone. While those with degrees tend to be compensated better than those without, this is not a hard and fast rule. You must be able to talk to your interviewer about your experiences and the knowledge you gained, and relate those to the role for which you’re being considered. Best of luck!


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If you have friends in your classes, you may want to consider holding a study group every week. Here, you can bounce ideas and questions off of each other so that you can better understand the material. Everyone learns in different ways, so you may learn some test-taking strategies from your classmates. Study groups are especially helpful for college students, especially when going over a study guide for an upcoming test.

You don’t do that by going into your interview and talking about your views on symbolism in 1950s film noir. You do that by ensuring you gain practical experience while you’re a student, either by working part-time, or by doing an internship. Yes, part-time retail jobs teach important workplace skills, such as cash management, customer service, and inventory management. An internship can provide more “professional” experience related to your major. If you’ve held a job while working on your degree, or if you’ve done an internship, be sure to put those on your resume.
While you might think “duh, that’s obvious,” a reliable Internet connection is not always available in your area or deemed too expensive. You’ll need to have a cable modem or a fast DSL connection in order to connect to your courses. Reliable is the key word here. If your Internet connection has a tendency to crash your browser or drop altogether, you’ll need to diagnose the source of a problem or find a new way to access the Web.
The most common culprit of free time is TV. Most adults spend about 20 hours per week watching TV. We are not saying you should never watch TV; we’re suggesting that you give up watching the TV shows that do not really interest you. Free up your time. Record what you love for viewing on demand and nix the rest of that dead TV time. Reducing your TV time by 10 hours per week will result in 10 hours of free time to devote to your online education. Ten hours of free time per week is enough to complete that long-delayed dream of earning a college degree.
While you might think “duh, that’s obvious,” a reliable Internet connection is not always available in your area or deemed too expensive. You’ll need to have a cable modem or a fast DSL connection in order to connect to your courses. Reliable is the key word here. If your Internet connection has a tendency to crash your browser or drop altogether, you’ll need to diagnose the source of a problem or find a new way to access the Web.
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For us onlooking or partaking upperclassmen, that feeling isn’t too distant. As a freshman, the sense of being lost in a big new world was exciting, but at the same time I treasured every bit of advice I could get. And there are still many things I wish I would have known then. Now that I’m a few years older, I thought I’d share some thoughts. More importantly, I went around and asked some of the most accomplished Penn students for what recommendations they’d give to freshmen.
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