“Work smarter, not harder.” How often have we heard this saying? Obviously, it’s a great idea. Why would we want to work harder than we have to, right? Unfortunately, many times we take the long way in accomplishing a task. Once finished, we discover that there was another way, help was available, and there were resources we could have used. Life could have been easier!
Leveraging the resources available to you is essential to attaining your goals. This is true whether you are striving to obtain a position in your desired field or completing a course assignment. In either of these instances, your network is key. When looking for a job, your colleagues, current and former supervisors, family, and friends, can all serve as potential networking leads in your search. As a student, your professors, tutoring services, library services, and academic advisor(s) all serve as part of your academic success network. Here’s how.
1. Go to the head of the class, literally.
Who knows what is required in your classes better than your instructors? When you have questions about course requirements, expectations for assignments, or if you are having difficulty understanding a certain concept, be sure to ask your professor for clarification or additional guidance. Also, if you are experiencing some challenges that are interfering with your academic performance at the moment (like intensive training for a new job, covering an additional position at work, illness, family responsibilities, an emergency, etc.), be sure to communicate with your instructors about these as well. This way, they know you are still committed to the course and can potentially work with you to successfully complete the class.
2. Save time with tutoring.
Tutoring can actually be a time-saver! Instead of struggling for hours with a concept or trying to find someone to edit and/or review your paper, check out an online support site like Smarthinking. This service offers live drop-in tutoring by IM or audio (for select subjects), live tutoring by appointment, and offline questions. It also offers a Writing Center where you can submit your paper (or drafts) for review and feedback.
A key tip for success with Smarthinking: Plan ahead for turnaround times. Availability of drop-in tutoring subjects vary depending upon which tutors are available at the moment. Scheduled tutoring must be reserved 48 hours in advance. Writing reviews require 24 hours to complete.
3. Use a reference guide.
Need help finding references for a research paper? Ask a librarian! Some schools, like Johnson & Wales University, make it easy for students to seek library help through a number of methods including text, email, phone, as well as the ability to IM with a librarian.
4. Seek academic advising.
Whether you’re pursuing an online bachelor’s degree or online master’s degree, your advisor serves to assist you in navigating your experience. From helping you choose courses to serving as your main point of contact for any questions or concerns, your advisor is a key resource during your student experience.
Remember: As an online student, you are not alone! There are a number of resources available to help you on your path to graduation; be sure to take advantage of them.