Top 3 Qualities of a Successful Online Student

by South University 10 December 2013

For many students, taking online classes is simply more practical than driving to a campus and sitting in a classroom at a designated time. The convenience factor alone makes it a great option for those with strict schedules. As an online student you have the flexibility to decide when and where you attend class, but earning your degree still requires a significant amount of time and effort.

Education conceptWe’ve noticed that successful students often share certain traits. Do you also have these critical skills? Working to sharpen these qualities can help you succeed in online learning and beyond.

1. They are organized.

Staying organized is critical for success in any arena, and online learning is no exception. Missed assignments - in both academic and work life - can affect your advancement opportunities. However, technology can make it a bit easier to stay on schedule. Sync your calendar with school deadlines so it sends automatic reminders about projects and assignments. An up-to-date calendar is among the most useful organizational tools available to most online students.

2. They excel at time management.

Successful students prioritize their education. You can still complete your work in time to go out and have fun, but school comes first. Once you make the commitment to your education, it's crucial to take a hard look at your current schedule. Keep in mind, regardless of the format, every class requires a certain amount of in-class time and at-home study.

Careful time management is the foundation for staying on task and on schedule. Be prepared to miss out on some social activities, and plan for the ones you definitely do not want to miss. When you stay focused and committed to your program, you can reach graduation and experience the reward of earning your degree.

3. They aren’t afraid to ask for help.

Your classroom material will provide much of the academic information you need, but there will be times when you need extra help. There is no shame in asking, and, you will find no shortage of people at South University who want to help you. Your instructor offers a valuable resource for learning how to apply textbook knowledge to real life situations. You can also find on-demand tutoring in the Classroom, and don’t forget that the Online Librarian, Tech Support, Counseling Center staff, and your Academic Counselor are also here to help.

Never hesitate to ask questions of your instructor, your peers or anyone else. The more information you gather, the better you will do in and out of the classroom. There are no bad questions—except for the ones you never ask.

Become the Student You Want to Be

Getting organized, managing your study time and asking for help when you need it can pave the way for you to succeed. Prioritize these skills and you can join the ranks of successful alumni who have earned a degree from South University!

How to Stop Getting Distracted and Start Focusing on Your Studies

by South University 1 October 2013

The advent of online education has yielded benefits almost too numerous to name. It's now easier than ever to earn your degree while also working full-time or raising a family, or even when you don’t live near an institution of higher learning. However, if you're attending classes from your living room or a coffee shop, it’s also easier to be distracted. South University recognizes the difficulties inherent in earning a degree online and has compiled some of the best tips and tricks for staying focused on your coursework.

adult studying

Designate a Work Space

Tempting though it might seem to work from your couch or bed, you'll be more productive in a specially designated work space. Setting aside a work space reinforces the message that your coursework is important. What's more, an ergonomically correct work space can enable you to focus for even longer periods. When you're in your work space, focus only on work. If you don't have space in your residence, find a quiet coffee shop, public library or other space where you can work undisturbed for a good stretch of time. Establishing a space-related routine is almost as important as finding the space itself.

Allocate Time for Your Coursework

Much as you should designate a work space, so too should you set aside work time. Scheduling time for your courses and homework serves as a reminder that you're working toward your goals and need to dedicate appropriate time and effort to achieving them. Examine your current schedule to determine how much time you can budget for your courses and related activities. If possible, set aside smaller blocks of time each day rather than one large block of time per week. Meeting small goals (even like studying for one hour) is easier than tackling large ones.

Allow Yourself Breaks

If you think working non-stop is the way to get the most done, think again. Short breaks give your mind and body the much-needed chance to recharge. Once an hour, take a few minutes to get up, stretch, walk around, or check your email. Limiting web surfing to breaks makes the experience more enjoyable and helps you stay focused on the task at hand.

Enlist the Support of Others

Don't be afraid to ask for help! Share your goals with your friends and family and let loved ones know what they can do to make your journey easier. Don't be afraid to ask for help! If having a TV on near you is distracting, let your spouse or kids know. If you tell yourself that you would finish that paper but you have to cook dinner, order a pizza. Most people will be glad to help, and their generosity will encourage your further success.

Stand Your Ground

During your scheduled work time, do not respond to other requests or matters. Put your phone on silent (or turn it off), step back from Facebook, and let your family know that you won't be available for an hour or two. If necessary, hire a babysitter or ask a friend to watch your kids. Standing your ground will send the message—to yourself, your family, your friends and instructors—that you're invested in you.

How to Get Organized Online

by South University 4 April 2013

As a student at South University, organizing your workspace and schedule can help you succeed. Here are some tips for staying on top of every assignment that comes your way!

Email Folders: Instead of keeping all your emails in your inbox, create separate folders for each type of email you save. You may have a main folder for South University, then subfolders for each class and additional subfolders for each project. When you don't have to spend time searching for everything you need, you'll wind up finishing much more quickly.

Bookmark Folders: When you bookmark certain web sites, you'll end up with a long list if you don’t create specific folders. When you have folders for your research, fun sites, school sites and work-related sites, it will be much easier for you to find the page you need. Plus, you won’t have a long list of unsorted bookmarks to scroll through.

Calendars: Use a calendar to send yourself reminders. You can use an online calendar, a calendar that may come with your email program, or you can download a free or paid calendar application for your PC. Some calendars also synchronize with your smart phone, so you may be able to get reminders while you are away from your computer. Fill in times for your work and class schedules so you can see – at a glance -- when you have free time.

Other Applications: Find a note-taking application to help you keep everything from class in one place and easy to find. Evernote is a popular, free note-taking application. Like your email folders, note-taking apps let you create separate project files for school, work and play, and you can create subfiles within files. For example, if you are studying Criminal Justice, you may have a file called Criminal Justice Notes and subfiles called Juvenile Justice, Law Enforcement Issues, etc. When your next project or paper comes up, you'll know where to start your research.


When you are organized online, your life offline becomes more organized as well. You’ll be less likely to miss important dates or deadlines – and things will be much easier to find, which could save you hours of time. In fact, you may discover that you suddenly have more time for your online classes, more time for additional work projects and maybe even more time to relax!

Why Time Management is Essential for Online Education

by South University 26 November 2012

One of the biggest mistakes a student makes while attending school is not having the proper time management skills. Time management is an absolute necessity while working towards your degree and without it, students often fall behind which causes low grades, repeated classes and an extension in time until graduation. Having these skills are important for all students, even more so for those who have a busy lifestyle and are constantly trying to keep up with the fast pace of the day.

We all know what time management is, but not many students know exactly how to create a good time management plan while attending school. They are also unaware of the many benefits that come along with having good time management skills. A student who has a good set of these skills will obtain effective learning, be able to pursue other activities offered through the school other than the general courses and helps prepare for a new career where time management skills are necessary.

If you are looking to implement a time management plan into your everyday life, there are a few things you can do which will help you to create a strong and successful plan. The first thing you need to do is break down your life into categories. For example: personal, work and education can all be categories that must be a part of your time management plan. You can also add in any additional categories that do not occur on an everyday basis such as shopping and other recreational activities.

Once you have broken down your categories, you will want to create a chart. Using a chart until you become familiar with your new time management plan will help you to stay on track. Under each of the categories listed, you will want to determine how much time is needed for that particular category each day. For example, work may require eight hours and personal may require four. This means that 12 hours out of 24 are already used up and the rest is open for your educational needs.

After you determine how much time must go into each category, you want to chart the times that these activities will generally take place. For example, you may want to put education a few hours before bed so that the house is quiet and you are able to focus on the material at hand.

This chart can help you be successful in time management, and, after using it for a short period of time, you will begin to develop the time management skills that are necessary for education success and you will no longer need a chart to track your daily activities.

Advantages of Online Learning: Time Management

by South University 18 July 2011

When contemplating attending college, many online students research campus-based options before exploring online. Ultimately, they have reached the conclusion that this is the most practical choice for them. In addition to offering convenience and flexibility, many have found that the online learning environment provides them with extra time to focus on other areas of their life, where campus-based learning may have put them in more of a pinch. Below are just a few of the ways online learning can give students the gift of time.

Your Classroom is Where You Are
As an online student, you don’t have to worry about driving to class every day. Whether you’re at home, at the library, or in the park enjoying the sunshine, as long as you have your computer and internet access, you have the ability to attend class. Not only that, but you won’t need to worry about spending extra money on gas, or any fares required to park on campus. You can put the money you would’ve spent on those items aside for something more important your family might need down the road.

You Have More Time to Study
Imagine that you had decided to attend school at a local campus. You probably have an idea of how much time you would spend driving to class. If it would be thirty minutes each way, for example, you can use that extra hour you’ve gained to spend more time on your coursework.

You Have More Time for Your Family
For many online students, this is the most important benefit of online learning. Your time is precious. You work forty hours a week and have many family obligations. If, when you look at your schedule for the day, the only time you have available to complete your coursework is after your kids go to bed, you have the ability to do this. You wouldn’t be likely to find many night classes at a campus-based location that begin at 10pm!

If you ever feel overwhelmed, help is never far away. Discuss your concerns with your Academic Counselor, whose contact information can be found on the home page of the Campus Common.