From setting goals to remaining open to new ideas, approach earning your college degree online as if you were an entrepreneur.

Earning your college degree online is a lot like running a successful business. It requires investment, commitment, and discipline, but when you achieve your goals, you’ll enjoy multiple rewards.

Approaching your online education like a business is a good idea—these nine tips tell you how:

  1. Set measurable goals.
    From increasing sales to securing new clients, every well-run business sets goals. Setting academic goals as you pursue your online college degree is just as important. Want to devote 2 hours every weeknight to studying? Make it a goal. Want to complete your reading assignment before the weekend? That can be another goal. Setting goals gets you organized and directed. And achieving them helps keep you motivated.
  2. Aim high.
    Successful entrepreneurs and managers set ambitious goals—and when you do the same, you’ll have a greater chance of success. Don’t plan to earn a B on your exam; try for an A. Not sure if you can finish your online degree program in 2 years? Plan realistically, work hard, and you can do it. Expect the best from yourself, and you may be surprised by what you can achieve in your online education.
  3. Remain open-minded.
    Thriving businesses (and the people behind them) rarely reject new ideas. You should approach your online college degree the same way. Whether it’s learning to navigate your online university’s operating system or signing up for a class you wouldn’t normally take, remaining open and flexible is essential as you pursue your online degree program.
  4. Be patient.
    Running a business isn’t easy, and it takes time to learn how to do it well. Even the brightest, most experienced business owner stumbles once in a while. The same can be said for earning your college degree online. Be patient with yourself as you pursue your online education. From specific subject matter nuances to citations in academic writing, you’re not going to understand everything right away. Give yourself the time you need to master new concepts.
  5. Consult experts.
    Good business owners know they’re not experts in everything. They hire accountants to do taxes, communications professionals to launch public relations and marketing campaigns, and more. One of the best things about an online education is the abundance of specialists at your fingertips. From course selection to tutoring, think like an entrepreneur and consult your online institution’s experts. It will make your work easier—and might even boost your GPA.
  6. Reward yourself.
    There’s a reason successful businesses reward employees with bonuses, parties, and other fun or valuable incentives: it boosts morale. As you pursue your college degree online, reward yourself for accomplishments both large and small along the way. Whether it’s studying for an important exam to finishing a group project, setting rewards you can look forward to—going to see a movie, buying yourself something you’ve wanted for awhile, making plans with close friends—can reenergize you as you pursue your online education.
  7. Prepare your personal support network.
    Effective business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs know they can’t accomplish their goals on their own. Like all worthwhile pursuits, online education can be a challenge. That’s why it’s essential you surround yourself with people that support you as you work toward earning your college degree online. Tell family, friends, coworkers, and even your boss that you’re earning your degree online, and turn to them for support when you need it.
  8. Learn from mistakes.
    All entrepreneurs and managers make mistakes, but the most successful individuals learn from their errors. As you continue through your online education, you’re likely to get some things wrong. That’s OK—and to be expected. The important thing is that you acknowledge the mistake, avoid being too hard on yourself, and apply what you’ve learned from your misstep toward succeeding in the next steps in your online degree program.
  9. Be realistic.
    Despite idealistic goals and objectives, realism is an important balance for businesses—and online university students—who want to succeed. From the goals they set to the new ideas they pursue, successful entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners are realistic about their businesses and what they can accomplish. The same is true for your online education. Whether it’s what you can handle in a weekend or how long it will take to finish your online college degree, be realistic about what you can accomplish—and you’ll potentially accomplish more.

Ready to treat your online college degree program like an entrepreneur would? Walden University, an accredited institution, is ready to partner with you for academic success. Explore how Walden can make your higher education dreams a reality.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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