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A Guide on How to Be a Great Online School Student

January 4, 2021

By the time many students reach middle and high school, they’ve learned many skills that go into being a successful student, from keeping focus in class to taking notes, from making time for homework in the evenings to capitalizing on individual learning strengths. But, as many students around the world realized when schools shifted to virtual learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, being an online student requires different skills. If you’re eager to learn how to be a great online student, read on for some tips!

Get a handle on the technology available to you
Depending on your online school program, you may be introduced to several new educational technologies. The first step: learn how to use them! Your teachers, your peers, and even the software itself will all have tips on how the technologies are meant to be used, and how they can help you achieve your academic goals. But, more importantly, you should set aside a dedicated amount of time before your online classes start to explore the tools you’ll be using. Doing so in advance (wherever possible) will make the start of your online schooling go more smoothly, and will set you up for success in your online learning journey. 

online school student

Don’t be afraid to communicate (In fact, your success likely depends on it!)
In a brick-and-mortar school, communication typically happens within the classroom, to the exclusion of other channels. But as an online student, you have a host of communications channels available to you -- and as the most successful online students have learned, taking advantage of the communications tools will help you go even farther in your academic progress. 

This means regularly connecting with both your teachers and your peers as often as possible! In an online learning program, most teachers will host “office hours” (much the way college professors do), where you can “drop in” to your teacher’s virtual classroom for support. We recommend you also take advantage of chat rooms, emails, and other tools, and do so early and often. Without in-person connections, digital connections reign supreme, and the more you talk with those in your online school community, the smoother your adjustment to online learning is likely to be.

Find a routine that works for you--and stick to it! 
One of the biggest benefits to a fully virtual school is the flexibility it offers students’ schedules. If your day is booked with extracurriculars or family or professional obligations, online school enables you to fit in your studies whenever is convenient for you; it also works nicely for students who prefer studying late at night, early in the morning, or any time in between!

But students who are transitioning from a rigid in-person school environment, where bells ring out to urge students to switch mindframes into their next class, the newfound flexibility might feel overwhelming. The best way to adjust is to experiment with different routines. Figure out when your brain is “on” and work around that -- for example, do you do your best essay writing before breakfast? Or do you prefer to wait until you’ve completed all your other tasks for the day? By experimenting with different studying styles, you’ll soon figure out what is most effective for you. Then, you can map out your days and weeks in order to be most effective, no matter what your schedule and interests are! 

Keep self-care top-of-mind
Here’s something critical for all online school students to remember: just because your schoolwork is available at any time, doesn’t mean you should be working on it all the time! Be sure to leave room in your days for all the components of your life that you enjoy, including socialization, time with family, your extracurriculars, your job, playing your favorite video game -- whatever helps you be the best, most balanced version of yourself you can be! 

How Dwight Global Online School helps all students become great online learners
As the experts in online learning, our faculty is deeply experienced in setting online students up for success. We understand how different kinds of learners need different kinds of support as they make the switch from in-person learning to online, and we’re here to help. 

If you’re considering virtual school, reach out! We can help walk you through all the ways online learning can benefit students, whether they need flexible scheduling, or they dedicate lots of time to their passions, or they have previously struggled with traditional schooling. 

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