You've probably chosen this mode of study because you’ve got quite a bit going on in your life already, so it’s important to make sure you balance your online postgraduate studies with your life to ensure you get the most out of both.
Let’s take a look at how this can be achieved.
Decide what is most important
Take a little time before your course starts to take stock of what you consider to be the most important parts of your life. What's the highlight of your week? Are you doing lots of activities or clubs outside of work? How often do you work late and is it necessary? Look at the time you have and what you value. If you are studying to improve your career, then maybe you won't want to do anything to impact on your reputation at work. You'll have to give something up to study a postgraduate program online and in reality, for most of us, this is likely to be watching the latest TV shows or checking social media.
Keep expectations real
Make sure you understand what you are in for before you agree to start the course by doing good research such as chatting with past students and academic staff. Once you know you can be realistic about what you will be able to do during term time and what your friends and family can expect from you. When essays and exams are looming you should probably consider clearing the decks and making some extra time for your studies.
Get to know yourself
You need to know yourself in order to keep motivated as an online postgraduate student. Do you understand what motivates you? Do you need a deadline to get the work done or do you prefer to work slowly building to the due date? Knowing this will help you understand how you will work as you will have to be very self-motivated while you study online, as there are plenty of distractions sitting on your laptop.
Set limits & boundaries
Make a space in your home that is for your studies and get into the habit of sitting there when you are engaging in your online postgraduate course. This will train you to think of it as a workspace and mean that your home is not taken over by your studies. If you are tight on space, then tidy all of your study materials away when you are finished so you can relax properly in your downtime and think about something else.
Find out everything that you need and want to do each term and plan accordingly. If there is a family occasion or work function that will clash with your course, then plan around it. Try and finish your assignment early or if this isn’t possible you may find you need to decide not to go to the function. If you plan this, then you will feel less guilty either way. You probably shouldn't work all week in paid employment and then also work overnight and all weekend on your studies for the full term. Plan nights off and days away from your studies as this will give you time to relax, recharge and reconnect with why you are studying in the first place.
Choose the right university
One final key to online study success is making sure you choose the right university for you. Postgraduate online study is now offered at many prestigious universities and institutions in the United Kingdom, United States and worldwide. Make sure you investigate your institution thoroughly and ascertain that it offers the right level of support and suitable teaching methods for you. There are even some universities dedicated to only providing online study such as the Open University. This world-leading, dedicated distance learning university is becoming increasingly popular, as this table illustrates.