Whether you're currently in the military or have recently retired from the military, taking online courses can be a great way to work towards a degree. There are plenty of dedicated online universities that offer courses for members of the military, and taking courses online can be especially convenient for those who are currently serving and stationed away from a physical campus. Still, online courses can pose their own unique challenges despite their convenience, so there are a few tips you'll want to keep in mind to increase your chances for success with an online university for the military.
Start Out With a Small Course Load
Before you enroll in a full-time course load, consider easing into your online college experience instead. Taking one or two classes instead of four or five at a time will give you a chance to get used to balancing your life between work, school, and other important military obligations. Taking on too much at once can lead to you being overwhelmed and can sour your experience.
Set Aside Enough Time Each Week
While online courses may seem like they'll save you time, the truth is that they require just as much of your time and attention as an on-campus course would. Specifically, you should expect to set aside a number of hours each week that is equivalent to the number of credit hours the class will yield you. For example, if you're taking a four-credit-hour online course, you should expect to spend at least four hours a week on the class itself—so plan your schedule accordingly.
Make Sure You Have Reliable Technology
You can't expect to be successful in taking an online course if you don't have the right technology. This includes a laptop or computer that is able to access all of your online course material, as well as a reliable internet connection. Online professors generally aren't very forgiving if you miss an assignment or test due to technical errors.
Arrange a Dedicated Study Space
Last but not least, consider setting up a dedicated study space in your home or living quarters if at all possible. Having a quiet, secluded space where you can focus completely on your coursework will help you avoid being distracted by other things (or people) in your home. Even if you can't set up a complete home office as a study space, a quiet corner of your dining room or bedroom can serve the same purpose just as well.