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Eight Tips to Succeed in Online High School Classes

April 20, 2022

You may have decided to enroll in an accredited, international online high school like Dwight Global Online School because you seek an academically challenging curriculum with the flexibility to pursue pre-professional athletics or artistic pursuits. Or, you may have chosen an online school because your local school is not a good fit.

Whatever the reason, you will want to get the most from your online high school education. Below are eight tips to help you succeed in online high school.

1. Create your personalized learning schedule

Establishing a learning schedule that works with your lifestyle, preferences, and needs will set you up for academic success. Set aside time for studying, attending class, and group work, as well as time for athletic training and competition, rehearsal and performance obligations, or whatever your personal passions include.

If you have a busy period coming up outside of school, ask your teacher for advance work. Crafting a personalized learning schedule that fits your interests and talents is essential for an engaging online school experience. Planning ahead will help you meet deadlines and avoid cramming.

2. Determine your learning style

Think about how you accomplish your best work. If you are a morning person, reserve space for studying then. Maybe you are a night owl, or find midday is your most productive period. Preserve and protect your most productive time to ensure you get your work finished.

It is also important to know what type of learner you are in terms of context absorption, retrieval, and synthesis. Do you need visual support to memorize information? Do you learn best from hearing the material out loud? Maybe you have discovered a combination of both works best, or that different subjects require different methods of learning. Know your own style and incorporate and seek out information gathering and retention in the ways easiest for you to grasp new concepts. Employing relevant study strategies that include your best learning styles will help you enjoy learning more, as well.

3. Communicate!

Communication is a key component in online school success. Reach out to faculty and administrators to communicate your questions and concerns, of course, but, in addition, go further than that and reach out to clarify assignments and deepen content understanding. Many students find that communication can be challenging when you primarily connect with your school community online. Becoming adept with online communication tools like email and scheduling will ease your transition to online education.

Finally, devote some time to simply getting to know your teachers and your classmates outside of class. Set up meetings, participate in extracurriculars, volunteer for leadership positions, and get involved in all aspects of your school. Build and master communication skills within your classes and outside of school. Learning to communicate verbally as well as in writing over email is an essential skill no matter what occupation or path you choose.

4. Come to class prepared

Success in an online school depends on how deeply you invest in your own learning. Seek to own the process and the responsibility of your education. Prepare for each online class each day, and spend a few minutes each night looking at your next days’ schedule and the week and month ahead, to make sure you are aware of your short-term and long-term obligations in every subject area.

Good preparation will save time and yield excellent results. Your classes are a time to challenge yourself and your peers, exchange ideas, and participate in meaningful, in-depth discussions. Classes are the favorite aspect of online learning for many students, and completing the assigned readings before class will help you focus on contributing to the discussion and learning from your classmates' comments.

5. Participate

Active participation in class and outside of the classroom is a proactive way to ensure success in your online high school. You might comment on a classmate’s discussion topics or paper, read recommendations from classmates and faculty members and then follow up to let them know your thoughts, or simply ask questions in class or outside of it through email, message boards, and in meetings.

Active participation means reaching out when you need help, and also adding to the discussion with connections from your own life experiences and recreational readings and activities. Find your voice, and use it, for a great online high school experience.

6. Stay organized

Another key component for being successful in an international online school setting is organization. Create a consistent schedule for completing your schoolwork.  Dedicate a space within your home where you can work with minimal distractions. If you have to travel, proactively stay organized before you leave, during your trip, and when you return. Identify a system for organizing your classes and assignments to avoid losing or overlooking any completed work. Find the organizational method that works best for you: online calendar, notebook, and phone notes can all provide organizational support.

7. Connect with others

The best online high schools promote a sense of community through in-person and online experiences. By fostering connections with classmates and teachers, you expand your network, open the door to future opportunities, and create lifelong friendships. It will be easier to ask questions in class or say "I don't know" if you are comfortable with classmates and faculty. Extracurriculars, clubs, book groups, social events, and residential experiences like those unique to Dwight Global Online School will help you feel an integral and important part of your school. Creating solid friendships and school relationships will go a long way toward making your online school experience a deeper, more meaningful, and memorable one.

8. Set goals

Set academic and personal goals at the beginning of each semester, and post them somewhere so you have a constant visual reminder. It may be helpful to talk over your goals with a teacher, Dean, or friend, so you clarify and prioritize them over a series of days and months, or even a year.  For example, if you want to take the highest level of mathematics by graduation, plan each year to ensure you take the necessary prerequisites.

Create a method to check off your goals on a list, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. You may need to work at this to find the best method that works for you, and your methods may change over time.  Some students find inspiration through mood boards or mindmaps for their goals.  It’s never too late to review and renew your goals, and focusing on them will expand your learning and help you grow as a student and a person.

Learn more about Dwight Online Global School and its highly respected curriculum and faculty here.