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We’re all better off when we’re not alone. This is as true for online education as it is for anything else you strive for in life. That’s why it’s important to have a support system in place while you earn your degree online. The right online university for you will provide the resources you need to balance work, family, and your education. The key is knowing what resources are available to you and how to use them for your benefit. Here are some important support systems and mechanisms to look for when choosing an online university:
One way you can fit your online education into your existing schedule is by taking advantage of flexible scheduling options such as customized registration. Instead of requiring you to take a set number of courses each term, an online university with customized registration allows you to decide how many courses are right for you. If you know you’ll have a lot of family obligations or work commitments during a specific term, you can register for fewer courses so you are not overwhelmed. You can then add more courses the next term, or simply decide to maintain your current schedule because it’s working for you. Some online universities even offer self-paced, competency-based education, which is another way you can control the pacing of your online learning.
Just because you’re alone at your computer doesn’t mean you’re alone in your online degree program. You can turn to other students as well as university faculty and staff for advice and support. One of the best ways to take advantage of the university community is by participating in virtual check-in groups. These groups are typically led by a senior mentor or advisor and give you a connection through which you can ask questions, seek reassurance, and learn new ways to manage your time so you can successfully complete your online degree.
The strongest online colleges provide their faculty with specific training on how to work with students who may be holding a job and raising a family while they learn. You should feel comfortable speaking with any of your faculty members if something in your life is making learning difficult. In most cases, faculty can work with you so that you can stay on track in your online degree program.
If you’re struggling with a specific area of your online education or if you simply want tips on how to better manage your time, find out whether your online university offers webinars or podcasts for additional support and motivation. With real people talking about topics covering a full spectrum of issues commonly encountered by students earning a degree online, these easy-to-access resources programs can give you the additional sense of personal connection and support you need.
Every online degree has its own requirements and expectations, so you should never hesitate to take advantage of the specific resources offered to students in your degree program. For instance, certain online doctorates require occasional in-person residencies where all students in the program gather with faculty for a set number of days. Residencies can be challenging for those with children—unless the online university offers kid-friendly residencies. Such resources can make all the difference for you and your family.
Earning a doctoral degree online can be life changing. At Walden University, we pride ourselves on our supportive environment and our wide variety of family-friendly resources designed for students in certain doctoral programs.