Attending university is a critical milestone for many people, but the pandemic changed what that looks like. Instead of moving into a residence hall or meeting up with friends at the refectory, now you spend every day at home. Switching to virtual courses takes a bit of an adjustment, but anyone can make it work with the right tips.

Use these six helpful hacks for taking online university courses this year. You’ll quickly learn how to balance schoolwork with other responsibilities so you can earn high marks without ever stepping foot in a lecture hall.

1. Maintain a Planner

It’s much easier to hold yourself accountable when walking into class every day reminds you of upcoming deadlines. It puts each subject at the forefront of your mind. It’s much easier to forget about your studies when they don’t happen in person.

It’s crucial to maintain a personal planner while taking online university courses. Write down every deadline, assignment and exam. At first, you might think it’s a bit much, but you’ll be grateful for all the reminders. You won’t wake up in a panic because you missed a deadline after forgetting to log into one of your course sites.

2. Create a Study Space

Studying in bed sounds comfy, but you’ll likely face more distractions because of your surroundings. Your brain knows that your bed is for sleep, just like it knows the kitchen is for eating. You’ll struggle to focus on your courses in spaces meant for relaxation or other activities.

Many students wonder how to take online university courses, but the secret to earning that degree is creating a study space. Find an area in your home and use it only for your university studies. It might be a desk in the corner of your flat, or a guest room converted into a private office. Sit there only during school hours or study periods so it becomes your new classroom.

3. Use a Timer

Working on your time management skills could make your virtual courses much easier. Instead of trying to get everything done in a rush, find success in online learning by setting a timer.

Continuous work only tires the mind. Taking regular breaks when your timer beeps increases your daily productivity because your brain gets a chance to refresh itself. Work for a set amount of time on each subject. Try using the Pomodoro technique to break your work into cycles.

However you work best, stick with the new routine. Work with your timer to adjust your focus and improve your studies.

4. Minimise All Distractions

When you’re sitting in a classroom, there’s very little to distract you. Your home is very different. There are dishes to wash and piles of laundry to finish. Your television and phone are always waiting to entertain you. When you’re stressed, these distractions become even more appealing, so how can you deal with them when you can’t leave your home?

You might download a social media app blocker to limit when you can check your feeds. Plug in your headphones and listen to background noise designed to make you forget your surroundings. Minimise distractions with a little help, and you’ll have an easier time focusing on school. 

5. Try New Study Techniques

When you lived at or visited your university, you likely studied in the library. You can’t go there now, but you can try new techniques that create a similar environment. Memorise material after popping in some earplugs. Sit at the table to recreate where you sat in the library.

Think about what worked about your old study habits to find new ways to do them at home. This is one of the best tips for online classes because it’s easy to personalise according to your needs.

6. Participate More Than Usual

Isolation doesn’t have to result in constant loneliness. Participate in your courses more than you would in-person to benefit from additional engagement. You’ll feel connected with your classmates as you post on discussion boards and speak up in video chats.

While you battle loneliness, participation will improve your memory. You’ll absorb the discussions about the current study material and do better on exams because you jumped into your virtual classes.

Keep Communicating for Online School Success

Even in the pre-pandemic world, virtual classes never turned out well for students who didn’t ask questions or participate. Embrace the idea of sending emails to your instructors whenever you have a question or concern. When you combine your improved communication with these helpful hacks for taking online university courses, you’ll find success in online learning no matter what you study.