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Follow These Tips to Ensure a Successful Semester as an OU Online Student

Male student looking at laptop with satisfied look on his face.

Follow These Tips for a Successful Semester as an OU Online Student

January 25, 2024

by Michael Mahaffey

A lot happens at the beginning of a new semester. Working your new academic schedule into a busy life that includes work, family and other commitments can be challenging, but you don’t have to struggle to manage the increased workload. Follow these simple steps to get your semester started with positive momentum.

Get Organized and Plan Ahead

For most students, online courses are just one part of their daily schedules. Outlining your schedule in advance can help ensure you’re not overscheduling yourself on a particular day, week, month or semester. Getting organized and adjusting your schedule as needed can go a long way toward helping you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Work Ahead

Once your schedule is outlined, set aside time to work ahead whenever possible so you don’t feel rushed when completing your coursework. The time you bank for later when you work ahead will give you the flexibility to work on projects or assignments at a pace that better fits your daily schedule or allows you to handle unexpected life events without derailing your coursework. Working ahead can even allow you to schedule downtime.

Set a Consistent Place to Study

One of the biggest challenges of being an online student is finding a place to do your coursework. Creating a consistent, distraction-free place to read and complete your assignments will make it easier to focus your mental energy on your studies, so when you’re in your study spot, you’ll know it’s time to get to work.

Get to Know Your Instructors

Unlike traditional students, online students aren’t able to stop by a professor’s office hours for a quick, in-person visit. Contact your professors early on to introduce yourself and share your excitement for the course. Reaching out to your professors to introduce yourself early in the semester not only helps both of you begin to get to know the person behind the name but also establishes an open line of communication for any questions or concerns you may have throughout the rest of the semester.

Participate in Group Discussions

Completing your degree online can often feel like an isolated experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Online forums and discussions are a big part of the online class experience and are one of the primary ways you’ll interact with your classmates. Not only will you receive constructive feedback on your work during discussions, but you’ll also learn from your classmates’ professional and personal experiences and perspectives. Remember, they’re taking online classes just like you are, and their experiences and insights can be invaluable. You may not see them in person, but the relationships and camaraderie you develop with your classmates during discussions can enrich your learning experience and give you a sense of community. They may also become the foundation of your professional network as you pursue your new careers.

Ask Questions

Your professors want you to do your best in their classes, and they want to work with you to help you reach your full potential. This often starts with asking questions if an assignment needs clarification or if you need help understanding something discussed in a course. The only wrong question is the one you don’t ask, so don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have. Whether you’re emailing or setting up a Zoom session to meet face-to-face, your professors want to help.

Make Full Use of University Resources

OU Online provides access to many tools and support services for online students. OU Online’s Student Support Services can help you find the resources you need, from technology support to help with research, writing, career information and much more. Access OU’s library system, visit the Career Development Center or take the first steps to get help with online tutoring or mental health counseling.

Visit the OU Online website to learn more about the degree programs and services.