5 Tips for Long-Distance Learning

Education is the most solid investment one can make – the one thing no one can take away from you. Academic education helps keep graduates on par with the social and cultural demands of the world, and, most of all, offers them the opportunity to succeed on their chosen career paths.

Census data shows that in 1980, only 32% of US adults under 25 had earned a degree or completed any college coursework. By 2000, this number had jumped to 52%. Economic growth, outsourcing of manufacturing labor to cheaper countries, and tremendous growth in the services sector has helped lead to these figures. Obviously, without a degree of some kind, it’s become pressingly harder to advance or land a better job. What about people who can’t afford to go to college, due to economic or social reasons? When you’ve got a 9 to 5 job and household responsibilities, it’s easy to become entraped between two worlds.

For individuals in this situation long distance education can be an excellent opportunity, as it offers the perfect balance. The main advantage of distance learning is flexibility – you make your own study hours, you can choose your own customized programs, and it’s generally much cheaper than the campus experience.

There are some downfalls to it, as well. You will probably never meet your teachers or classmates in person. You don’t have a campus full of people studying the same thing. Some of these might be difficult for you, especially if you’re not a very well organized person. Like all things, however, personal management skills and education can be attained. These five simple tips will help you on your way to succeeding in earning a long distance degree.

Set goals. Any GTD (getting things done) program has this at its centerpiece. Goal setting is the first step in managing any kind of endevour. Check your curriculum, read your courses requirements, break them into tiny chumps and set goals.

Plan a schedule. Work out what time of the day is best for studying; some people prefer after lunch, some after breakfast, others late in the night after work. It’s important to keep a fresh and open mind while studying. On par with your earlier set goals, determine how much time you need to allocate for a given subject, put it a timeline and hold to it. PRO TIP: write your schedule on one or multiple sheets of papers and post them somewhere your study room where you can always see it.

Find your pace. Conventional campus universities take years to complete, and there’s a reason for this. Information needs to be absorbed, and as such a long time needs to be allocated on your part. Skimming through all your courses in one long run won’t help you at all. It helps to consider that your program is not only offering you a certificate, but also useful information which is helpful to assimilate, not memorize, and which will aid you in the future.

Ask for help. You’re not in campus, and you don’t have any colleagues. Like I said earlier, it might be stressful and tedious to study all by yourself. With this in mind, those of you who aren’t that good at studying by yourselves might want to consider asking for help. Talk about the long distance program you just enrolled into with your friends or co-workers. They might have the skills or know someone who has them to help you out with your projects, homework or studying.

Join a study-group. Better yet, why not ask the help of like minded people who are already into the field you are studying. If you’re studying finance, you can always join your local finance group and seek advice there.

Obtaining a long distance degree requires discipline, focus, and motivation. Using the tips above, one can achieve academic and career success.

Tibi Puiu is a professional blogger and an advocate of cheap degrees. He believes education should be accessible to anyone willing to grasp it, no matter of his financial status.