We come in all shapes, sizes, and mindsets. People are wired differently, and one place where it really shows is education. The reason that different degrees and educational programs exist is that there are so many different people with a variety of personalities, interests, and goals.
Online and distance education is a great thing for adults who need to continue their education. In most cases it allows them to study and work on their own schedule while they carry a full-time job and a family at the same time. Busy? These students practically invented the word!
Because of these pressures, before entering a distance education program it’s a good idea to take stock of your own personality and habits and do your best to figure out if it’s a good fit for you. Not everyone makes a great distance student, and it helps to consider your own strengths and weaknesses. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Do I need this course enough to motivate me?
- Am I the kind of person who tends to put things off until the last minute?
- Do I work best by myself, or do I need the company of others?
- Am I good at finding my own solutions rather than having everything explained to me?
- How fast do I need feedback on my work? Can I wait for a few days?
- Considering my job and personal schedule, how much time do I have to work on an online class?
- Do computers intimidate me, or can I work through tech challenges?
- How good are my reading skills? Can I read and comprehend most materials?
- Am I a strong, average, or weak writer?
The strongest distance students deal with these issues well, and are confident in their ability to operate by themselves, solve problems, discipline themselves to do the required work, and they believe in their ability to write and communicate effectively.
A weakness in one or two areas isn’t enough to make you a bad candidate for online or distance learning, but it does tell you where your challenges will lie, and where you’re going to have to work a bit harder to stay on track. If you have a lot of weaknesses, then you should look for a program offered by a local institution which provides more support for you, more association with other students, and perhaps some support and resources near where you live.
Whatever kind of program appeals to you, there are options. Many people take one or two classes to get their foot in the door and make sure that they can succeed in this new and different educational setting. Many people do research on different institutions to find the program that’s the best fit for them.
Perhaps the best news is that none of this is a deal-breaker. When you’re motivated to reach a goal, you can overcome obstacles and still succeed. Thousands of adults graduate from distance programs every year, and they have worked hard to maintain their focus and complete their courses and programs.
One of the most inspiring aspects of distance education is the students who succeed and reach their goals. They simply work through the issues associated with distance studies and come out the other side with new achievements, new learning, and a new set of credentials. They’re ready to take on new roles life and succeed once again.
We hope that you are one of those – someone who sees their goal, goes after it and succeeds!