5 Pitfalls Online Students Should Avoid

Common Pitfalls To Avoid When Studying Online

– Enrolling in Non-Accredited Degree Programs
– Low Interaction With Instructors and Classmates
– Not Seeking Internships
– Failing to Employ Good Time Management Skills
– Not Taking Advantage of Experiential Learning Projects

Many prospective students are drawn to the flexibility and convenience that characterize today’s online degree programs, but there are some common pitfalls that online students should avoid to successfully achieve their educational goals and long-term career objectives. As the quality of online educational programs increase, prices for higher education continue to rise as well. Subsequently, everyone wants to extract as much benefit out of their educational experiences as they can. An online student can get off to a good start by recognizing some of the ways that their peers commonly sabotage online education opportunities.

Related Resource: Cheapest Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Enrolling in Non-Accredited Degree Programs

Accreditation tells future employers and graduate school admissions officers that a prospective employee or student has earned a degree from a school that meets certain industry standards. Besides these institutional accreditations, many employers and graduate schools prefer candidates who have graduated with programmatically accredited degrees. An example of this is a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This type of accreditation is especially important for online degree programs since they are often stereotyped as lower in quality than traditional university programs.

Low Interaction With Instructors and Classmates

The developers of online degree curricula are constantly raising the bar to create more effective and robust programs for online students. By using various tech tools and some initiative, online students can enjoy nearly the same level of instruction as traditional students. They can take advantage of instructor office hours via video conference, instant message or phone to gain clarification about difficult concepts. Many university professors also make good mentors and have acquired a lot of professional contacts over the years. They usually love helping hard-working students get started in their careers. Savvy students also don’t miss opportunities to network with classmates. A proactive online student can use social media to informally pass around ideas for assignments and network with their peers.

Not Seeking Internships

Internships give students opportunities to put theoretical knowledge to the test in real-world settings, according to U.S. News & World Report. When they are done right, internships help students to start their careers with minimal learning curves. Many of today’s employers almost expect candidates to have completed internships. The fact that students who show promise during these special programs are often hired by the companies that host the programs is a major incentive for avoiding the pitfall of not seeking an internship. Online students who do not participate in internships may not be as competitive as traditional students who do internships as part of their degree programs.

Failing to Employ Good Time Management Skills

One of the most obvious pitfalls that online students should avoid is improper time management. Because traditional degree programs inherently have more opportunities for classroom discussions and interactive projects, they often have fewer homework assignments, quizzes and tests than online degree programs. Online students may find that the key trade-off for the convenience of working remotely on online degree assignments is that they generally get assigned more work. This requires online students to be self starters who know how to manage their time wisely in order to complete assignments and graduate on schedule. The good news is that these online students cultivate characteristics that are valued in every workplace.

Not Taking Advantage of Experiential Learning Opportunities

Because of heavy work loads, some online students are tempted to take the easy way out when it comes to project ideas. When online degree programs include opportunities to do special projects for credit instead of just reading and taking tests, students should construct projects that allow them to put what they have learned into practice. Talking with professors during the planning phases of projects can help one to avoid this common pitfall that online students often fail to see. Online students should also digitally document their projects to create portfolios of their work for future employers or graduate schools.

An online degree can be packed with as many rich educational experiences as are found in traditional university programs. However, online students must establish education goals early and do adequate research on prospective online degree programs to find out if they fit their unique needs. Armed with this knowledge, online students can easily avoid the five common pitfalls that are described above.