Do You Have to Be a Self-Starter to Be Successful in an Online CollegeMany people may wonder if you have to be a self-starter to be successful in an online college. It can certainly help. Learning online is quite different than education in the classroom. There’s no instructor to ask questions of or classmates to collaborate with face to face. However, different isn’t necessarily a negative thing. There are lots of benefits to online education. Keep reading to discover more about taking college courses in an online environment and whether it may be the right option for you.

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About Online Education

Online college is higher education that is primarily delivered virtually over the internet instead of at a brick and mortar campus institution. There are many benefits to such an arrangement. It offers students the chance to learn at convenient times that are right for them, which is particularly advantageous to adults who are trying to balance school with work and family obligations. Online programs also let individuals enroll in more types of study than those restricted to the degree programs offered at local colleges and universities.

Students can pursue a degree from home with very little need to show up in person. However, some programs do require some face to face components for clinical work and other such specialized studies. Students don’t have to travel or be in class during certain hours. Their learning is much more flexible. There are opportunities to speak with instructors and receive assistance when needed. In addition, collaborative exercises can be done with peers online.

Helpful Skills for Online College Students

U.S. News shares how it is important that a student be a self-starter when attending an online college, though. Unlike the traditional classroom, students don’t see an instructor and peers to answer to each day and to help keep them on pace. Learning is self-directed. Students must decide when to do the readings, and they are responsible for keeping themselves to the syllabus. In addition, good reading comprehension skills are crucial because much of the lessons are self-taught through reading textbooks and other supplementary materials.

Students must be motivated to set aside time to study. Good written communication is also important. They should have strong computer literacy, as all of the work occurs online and through email. Strong study skills with an active interest in learning are also needed in order to maintain the momentum required to forge ahead when things get boring or difficult.

How to Know if Online Learning Is the Best Choice

Online education may not be for everyone. Some potential students think this will be the easy route to education since there isn’t an instructor looking over their shoulder. That is far from the case. For many, it can be far more difficult to be self-directed enough to stick to a curriculum, set aside study sessions and turn in assignments on time. Students who prefer the robust environment of a traditional classroom may find online learning to be isolating or boring. Someone who doesn’t have strong basic computer knowledge such as how to download attachments and such may find this way of learning to be stressful.


Students should take all of this into consideration when thinking about taking classes online. There are a number of advantages to distance education. However, it’s important to understand that a learner truly does have to be a self-starter to be the most successful at an online college.

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