Set Realistic Goals

When undertaking a new endeavor, we all have grand visions, and very high goals. We want to succeed and we try our best to excel. We want to improve ourselves and the plight of our families, and in the beginning we are very excited. Generally, however, we take on more than we can reasonably accomplish. We forget that we have still have other obligations, and we underestimate the time involved in doing everything. And this only leads to disappointment and the awful feeling of defeat or failure. Consequently, when enrolling in online classes, especially with the purpose of acquiring a degree or diploma, it is important to be honest and set realistic goals for yourself.

Pre-planning is one of the keys to a fruitful learning experience and a successful education. Sitting down and seriously weighing all one's options before committing is crucial. Look at the school's timelines expected for completion of the program, and determine how you are going to fit that requirement into your schedule. Can you reasonably finish the program within the alloted time, given your free timeslots. Before signing up, review the school's schedule and open a spreadsheet. Or get an hour-by-hour calendar, and fill in the slots. Either way, to begin, first block out the hours that are already taken. The hours you make supper for your family, the times you pick up the children from school, the hours you work at your job, and other daily activities that require your time. Once you have done that, now you can realistically look at the calendar and decide whether you can fit in online courses.

Moreover, when determining whether you have enough time to complete the courses, take all aspects of studying into account. This not only includes reading the material, but watching videos, completing the assignments, researching when you do not fully comprehend the topics, attending online seminars and discussions, preparing for tests, doing experiments or co-op studies, and any other duties that are required to meet the course curriculum. Each of these tasks takes time and should be documented.

Finally, be careful what you expect for grades. Obviously, everyone wants to do well and earn the highest grades possible, but remember, that sometimes, a perfect score is not always possible. Endeavor to do your best, but recognize that given all the constraints on your time, that you might not achieve what you had anticipated. We are not referring here to receiving a lower grade on a paper than it was worth, but rather, planing for the future. For instance, many students start with high hopes, and decide that they will focus on nothing else but school and receive top notch marks in all courses. But by the end of the semester or year, they realize that other things became important, too, and their grades suffered a little. Indeed, this is discouraging, but if you determine upfront what you can accomplish, and set realistic goals, things will be much more pleasant for you.