5 Skills Necessary to Succeed in an Online Degree Program

Must Have Skills for Online Students

  • Computer Literacy
  • Time Management
  • Communication
  • Research
  • Self-Starter

The number of students enrolling in an online degree program increases each year, but many of those students do not realize that they need some specific skills to succeed in an online college. According to U.S. News & World Report, more than five million students take at least one distance education or online class each year. Those who do the best in these courses tend to have some of the same skills.

1. Computer Literacy

You cannot expect to do well in an online class unless you are computer literate. Most colleges give you a list of the technical requirements that you must meet, including the type of computer and software that you’ll use in your classes. It’s important that you know how to use that software before the class starts. You must also know how to use the Internet and log in and out of the college’s online system.

2. Time Management

Many students sign up for online classes because they don’t have the time to drive to a college campus or take classes on one of those campuses. Some of those students do not realize the time commitment that they need to make though. Whether you work a full-time or part-time job or have small children living with you, you have other obligations and things that you need to do in addition to your classes. Having strong time management skills helps you make time in your schedule for everything that you need to do.

3. Communication

In an online degree program, you won’t have as much access to your professors as you would in a more traditional program. Instead of stopping by during office hours or meeting after class, you’ll need to contact your teachers via email. As an online student, you must have strong communication skills and the ability to write effective emails to your teachers. You’ll also need to know how to communicate with those who are in your classes. Many of these programs have discussion boards and ask that you write at least one discussion each week and respond to others posted on the board.

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4. Research

Strong research skills also help you succeed in one of these programs and make it easier for to do the independent work required to write papers and complete other assignments. Though professors may give you online articles to read, those teachers will also ask that you go out and conduct your own research. You can use resources available through the school as well as those offered by local libraries and those you find online. Students also need to know how to evaluate their resources and find valid information.

5. Self-Starter

Another skill that can help you succeed in an online program is the ability to work independently as a self-starter. Self-starters are those who have the motivation necessary to do work on their own and go above and beyond what others ask of them. Your professors will not be right beside you and standing over your shoulders to help guide you through your assignments. They will not remind you daily about upcoming work or ask if you started a term paper. You need to know how to juggle everything that is expected of you and how to motivate yourself to get work done.

Online colleges are a good option for students who can think independently and those with strong time management and organizational skills. To succeed in an online degree program, you need to have all these skills, be a self-starter and know how to communicate with others.