Whether you’ve been taking online classes since you were a freshman, or if you just made the switch over during the Covid-19 madness, taking classes in an online format offers a whole slew of new challenges that you don’t experience in physical classes. If you have never taken an online class before, or if you took one (or a couple) before and didn’t like them, the transition may be a little hard. It’s important to recognize that online classes also offer students a great deal of flexibility in their ability to take the course.

While everyone is adjusting, here are some tips that may help make the transition a little easier, and ensure that you succeed in your online classes.

1. Stay Organized

It is incredibly important to stay organized in order to ensure that you stay on top of your course load. Familiarize yourself with the framework of the course and how lectures, assignments, and exams are set up.

Break all of the information down, and set up specific goals for the day. Setting up small goals or tasks to complete will help motivate you to achieve your end goals. Before beginning the day know what you are going to accomplish or achieve with your courses. It is much easier to have a calendar of your day set up and assign certain tasks for certain times instead of cramming everything all at once right before something is due. Every day of class or study session should have a specific purpose.

Another way to stay organized is to create dedicated places for you to study or attend online lectures. Consistency is key in helping you get into the rhythm of taking classes online. Ensure that these areas are free from distractions and that you are able to set aside the required time to not be disturbed.

Ways that I try to stay organized is by setting up daily task lists for myself. I outline everything I need to accomplish that day for school, and then set aside the time I need each day to complete those tasks. My desk in my room is a place where I can work undisturbed throughout the day, so that’s where I always get my work done. Consistency is key.

2. Talk to Your Professors

Your professor will probably be one of two people. They will either have been teaching online classes and will be able to help you transition, or they will be just as lost as you and you’ll be able to help each other adjust to the new format. Even though you will not be meeting your professor in person anymore, it doesn’t mean that making or maintaining that relationship isn’t important.

Communication is a key element in ensuring that everyone knows exactly what they are doing. If you don’t know what’s going on or what you should be doing, your professor is either an email or a call away. Don’t be hesitant to ask for their help. Remember that just because your courses are online, it doesn’t mean that you are now alone.

I always try to engage with my professors in the beginning of the semester. No matter the class, there is a high chance that with whatever you plan to do in the future, your professors will probably be able to help you out in some way or another. Taking classes online is no different. Despite not being able to meet physically, professors can still help you out so many ways. They definitely seem to be an untapped resource for many students.

3. Engage with Others

Just because you aren’t seeing your friends and classmates in-person anymore doesn’t mean that you can’t still connect with one another. From Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or even just a call, talking to- and engaging with your friends and fellow classmates can help keep you sane during quarantine. Talking to others during this time will help keep your mind open and keep you motivated to continue with your courses.

Participation in online classes is just as important as it is in physical classes. It also helps to communicate with other students to fully understand the course load, lectures, or to study for upcoming quizzes and exams. Being behind your computer isn’t an excuse to disengage from other students and your school’s community. Everyone is in the same boat and can help each other out.

I maintain a couple group chats with my friends and classmates across my courses, and we go over weekly course material together. Zoom helps too in order to give a visual element of connection, despite being miles and miles away.

4. Be In Class Regularly

While yes, you can’t physically be in class, you should still be regularly signing in to your classes and checking your school email. Things may change at a moment’s notice, and if you only are online when something is due then you might miss something. It’s probably really tempting now that you don’t physically have to go to class to stop “showing” up per say, but regularly signing on will also help keep your motivation to complete your goals and ensure that you don’t miss anything.

It only takes a couple minutes (if even that) to log on and check if anything has changed. Whenever I get up I check my courses real quick and a couple minutes a day ensures that I don’t miss anything.

5. Stay Healthy & Reward Yourself

Even though you can just sit there and take your classes and do your work, it’s not recommended. Maintaining your health during a time like this will also help keep your sanity. Remember to exercise when you can, eat good food, and talk to your friends and family. It doesn’t take long to develop cabin fever, so make sure that you’re maintaining your social life, exercising, and eating healthy (as much as you can).

It’s also important to reward yourself for a job well done. If you got a good grade on an assignment, a class, or if you feel deserving of a treat, do it. It’s healthy to positively reinforce yourself on the actions that you’ve done well. Without doing so it is really is to burn out.

I try to maintain a schedule that works around getting enough sleep, food, and going outside to get the blood flowing – even if it’s just the backyard. Calling friends and family up helps keep my sanity during quarantine as well. A giant bowl of chocolate ice cream as a reward once in a while doesn’t hurt too much either.