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8 Tips for Success in Your Online Degree Program

It is always a great day when we welcome new students to the Tiffin University family! We know our students have a lot on their minds as they begin their classes, so we asked some of our current students, graduates and staff to share some of their best advice to help our new Dragons prepare. Check out our 8 tips for success below:

Tip 1: Organization and time management are key. – Natalie A., MS in CJ:

You have likely heard the saying, “a Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” It applies to online degrees, too. Natalie writes, “Make sure that you stay organized and keep track of all your due dates. It will be worth it in the end.” Choose a day of the weekend that works best for you to get organized for the week ahead and plan your assignments, your reading, your work and family responsibilities, your extracurricular activities, etc. Create a schedule for the next seven days, and most importantly, stick to it. Additionally, ensure you carve out a little time for something you enjoy—investing in your education takes brain power, so make sure you allocate downtime to help you refresh and stay energized.

Tip 2: Engage your family and friends; you will need their support. – Ali H., Director for Online Enrollment Management:

When you invest in your education, it will mean sacrifices in your personal life, but those short-term sacrifices are worth it to achieve your long-term goals. Not only are you changing your life, but you are bettering your family and inspiring others around you. Ali writes, “To ensure success in your degree program, it is important to have support from your family and friends. From helping you with responsibilities around the house to providing encouragement and motivation along your journey, they can be your biggest cheerleaders and most important accountability partners.” 

Tip 3: Create a dedicated space. – Anna S., Undergraduate Admissions Counselor:

While most of our degree programs can be completed from anywhere you have a computer and internet, it is important to create an environment that is conducive to allowing you to focus on your coursework. Anna writes, “We recommend creating your own dedicated space that is organized, quiet and free from distractions. Ensure your space includes a high-speed internet connection, good lighting and a place to organize your resources such as textbooks, your planner, notebooks, etc. Include things that help you feel happy or relaxed, too—maybe a favorite candle or houseplant. Additionally, add a photo of the people in your life who are a source of inspiration for you or a picture that reminds you of the reason you are completing your degree. A quick glance at the photo may give you the boost you need to keep going if you begin to feel overwhelmed.” 

Tip 4: Make time every day and put in the work. – Emily K., MS in CJ

Over the years, our graduates have shared that they feel less stressed and learn more when they spend time on their coursework every day. Emily writes, “The best advice I have for someone starting their degree would be to set aside homework time every single day. I know it seems like a lot, but if you get into the habit of doing assignments and reading every night, it becomes part of your normal routine and you do not have to worry about cramming in homework time at the last minute. My last piece of advice is—you are the only person who is stopping you from learning. You get out of it what you put into it.”

Tip 5: Celebrate big and small successes. – Nick B., Graduate Admissions Counselor:

While we know you are already thinking ahead to how exciting graduation day will be, it is important to acknowledge your achievements along the way, no matter how big or small they seem. Nick writes, “Celebrate every success—from submitting your first big assignment, to reading through a textbook, to your first A, to completing each course…every achievement is important. Pro tip—print your schedule, pin it up somewhere prominent, and cross off each class as you finish. You will love the sense of satisfaction that comes with marking through the names of your courses.”

Tip 6: Stay focused and engage with your classmates and professors. – Kelli C., MBA in Leadership:

You are here for an important reason, and it is critical to keep your long-term goals at the forefront of your mind. Over the years, our graduates have shared that their success was not only a result of their hard work and determination, but also due to remaining actively engaged and focused throughout each course. Kelli writes, “Connect with your classmates and engage your advisor and professors. The teaching staff and my graduate advisor have largely been engaged in not only my learning experience but also my success in the program. Many have been incredibly encouraging which has been appreciated on numerous occasions, especially during some of the more challenging courses. Additionally, dig in and do the work. You will feel an indescribable feeling of encouragement and accomplishment as you start to excel through the program.”

Tip 7: Keep your eye on the prize. – Stephanie W., MBA in HRM

If you have watched the movie Finding Nemo, you are likely familiar with the phrase, “just keep swimming.” We love that famous line because it is great advice for just about everything we do in life, including completing a degree program. Stephanie writes, “No matter what is going on in your life, you can do it! I have watched people make excuses regarding returning to school, but, in the end, if you really want it, you can do it. It’s all about time management and dedication.”

Tip 8: Focus on your personal growth. – Brittany C., PhD in Global Leadership and Change:

Tiffin University’s motto is without risk there is no gain. We know that our adult students are juggling work, family and life in general and starting a new degree program can be risky for that balance. And, as with starting anything new, the first few weeks can be very challenging. Keep in mind that it will be worth it in the long run. You are improving yourself, your career, and becoming a great role model for generations to come. And—everyone around you will notice it. Brittany writes, “When you view the experience as a journey, the process becomes less about the grades or personal expectations and more about your projection of growth.”

To our new Dragons: Congratulations on your acceptance to Tiffin University! We are so proud of you for taking this big step, and we are honored to be on this journey with you.

For more advice from our students and graduates, we invite you to read through our Student Spotlights on our blog.