When to Take Online Courses at School

By Victoria Robertson on January 15, 2018

For those of you that have never taken an online course before, it may seem as if it’s going to be a time saver or “blow off,” so to speak. However, this is an entirely inaccurate assumption.

In fact, online courses can often require more time and effort on your part than a traditional course in a classroom setting.

For this reason, it’s imperative that you consider your options and make educated decisions when it comes to your online course schedule.

With that in mind, here are some tips so you’re aware of when you should take online courses at school.

Photo Via: Pixabay.com

1. It’s the best fit for your schedule

Sometimes, an online course is just the perfect fit for your schedule. Maybe you have a full class schedule, but plenty of free time on nights and weekends. Or perhaps you have extra time between classes in which you can squeeze some extra coursework.

Only you know your schedule, and only you can determine whether or not you are able to fit in another class.

2. You have time

That being said, it’s important to note your free time. As mentioned above, you may have open nights and weekends and feel confident you can complete another course’s work. However, if you feel that you’re always pressed for time on assignments, taking on an additional online course may not be the best option for you (especially given the extra work that typically comes along with online courses).

So pay attention to how your schedule works out – do you feel you have a lot of free time, or not nearly enough? Use that to help you decide.

3. It’s a personality fit

This seems like an odd point, but some people simply don’t have the drive or motivation to take on a class that’s almost entirely up to their discretion. If you require a classroom setting to keep you on track, an online course isn’t going to work for you.

You need to be organized, have good time management skills and have the drive to complete all assignments (as well as teach the material, in some cases) on your own accord. If that doesn’t sound like you, online coursework might not be the best option for you.

4. You have space to work in

Again, this may seem like an odd requirement, but it’s something that you need to consider. Some people have individual rooms in their apartment where they can go to work on their online course. However, for those in a dorm situation, there may not be unlimited time to yourself.

While you can sometimes visit the library to work, you have to consider the likelihood that you’ll do so. And, if this is something you’re willing to do, would it be more beneficial to go to a physical class instead?

5. The subject is interesting

More often than not, students choose to take general requirements online. However, there is a downside to this. If you don’t find the subject matter particularly interesting, you can end up majorly struggling in these classes.

You want to pick classes that interest you, as it helps you stay motivated on your own. In a classroom setting, this is less of an issue as there’s an outside source holding you accountable. Online classes have limited accountability, so if you aren’t the type of person that can be motivated to do things you don’t want to, you should consider the in-class option rather than the online option.

6. It’s the only option

Of course, there are also cases in which the online course is the only option available to you. If you need a requirement completed but the only option is the online course, you obviously would need to take that option.

In those situations, you simply don’t have a choice. So check with your academic advisor and make sure that you’re on top of your course requirements and that you’re finding all the available options. You don’t want to be limited in your information, as the more information you have, the more likely you are to make the right, informed decision.

Again, online courses are not necessarily a time saver and should be strongly considered prior to committing to them. That being said, there are times in which online courses are essential to your schedule and can actually help to propel you ahead of your classmates.

So take a look at your unique situation, determine whether or not you’re capable of completing the requirements needed for an online course and make your informed decision. The truth is, nobody knows whether or not a class is going to work in your schedule besides you, so use these six signs to determine whether or not an online course is a fit for you or not.

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