A master’s degree sure has a lot of value in today’s workforce. Earning a master’s degree could increase your earning potential over a bachelor’s degree by as much as 20 percent. But going to grad school is no small endeavor, and particularly not when you’re a full-fledged adult working 40 or more hours a week, taking care of kids, and running a household.
Online master’s programs can make it easier to earn the degree you want on a schedule that works for you. You can attend classes at any time of the day or night that works for your schedule, and do your homework whenever you want as long as you meet your deadlines. Follow these tips, and you’ll soon be walking across the stage at graduation – or at the very least opening up an envelope that has your master’s degree inside.
Establish a Designated Study Area
Doing all of your studying in the same environment can help you learn, and can improve your recall if you take exams in that same study area. That’s why students are often advised to find a quiet place to study and then to always study in that place.
Setting aside a designated area for study also signals to family members and roommates that if you’re in your study area, you’re studying and are not to be disturbed. Having a study area can also help you establish a sense of routine around your academic activities, so you’re more inclined to continue sitting down for study sessions day after day (or night after night). Plus, you’ll have everything you need close at hand in your study area.
Schedule Time to Study
Especially when you’re going for an online master’s degree, you need to schedule your class time and study time just like you would work or any other obligation. You may have the freedom to attend your classes whenever you want, but you have to have the discipline to actually review the course materials and complete the assignments on your own, without a professor breathing down your neck.
Block out chunks of time that work for your schedule – perhaps entire day on a weekend and a couple of hours at night during the week. Plan enough time to watch your lectures, do your reading, and complete your homework. Take your reading and study materials with you when you leave the house, so you can use spare minutes as they come up during the day to get some coursework done. You can do your readings and work on your homework during your lunch break at work, for example, or while you’re riding the subway.
Connect with Other Students
You can get any kind of degree online, whether it’s a Masters in Special Education or a doctorate in chemistry. No matter what kind of degree program you enter, make a point to connect with the other students in your cohort. You can book virtual study group time, bounce ideas for assignments off your peers, ask questions, and discuss readings with them. When your degree program is finished, these students will serve as a valuable part of your professional network, so make an effort to form connections with the other students in your program, even if they’re geographically far away.
Reach Out to Professors
In graduate school, you should begin to think of your professors as your peers, rather than your betters. Your graduate school professors are there to help you move forward in your career, complete your research, and succeed academically. And just because you’re taking your degree courses online doesn’t make you any less entitled to interaction with and help from your professors than any student who attends courses face-to-face.
Drop your professor a note to introduce yourself when you start the course. Attend virtual office hours with questions or just to enthuse about the subject matter you’re reading and discussing in class. And, of course, don’t hesitate to ask your professor for help when you need it.
Use Student Resources
Most campuses provide a number of academic resources to students to help them succeed, including access to an enormous university library, digital archives, writing centers, tutors, and more. Familiarize yourself with the student support resources at your disposal and don’t be afraid to avail yourself of them.
If you’re looking for a way to juggle going back to grad school with all of your other responsibilities as a working adult, consider an online program. You’ll be able to take your courses on your own schedule, and maybe even earn your graduate degree faster.
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