Balancing Life and School – How To Succeed In an Online Program

Jan 19, 2024 | Blog

The idea of online college can be intimidating. There are so many unknown factors to consider that can be scary if you don’t have someone to help guide you through the transition to becoming a college student. We at Grace Christian University have helped many students overcome these struggles and fears over the years, and we can say with certainty that college is far less scary than it seems. Throughout the years of helping students, we noticed a common theme. Students have a hard time balancing life and school. Every student struggles with this one way or another. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful list of strategies to help students balance school and life to succeed in their online undergraduate program. Check out the list below!

Balancing Life and School

Balancing life and school can be admittedly very difficult. But with the right strategies, any student can succeed academically while making time for family, working a job, and maintaining a healthy social life. Here are some of the strategies that will help you make time for all the important things in your life and get the most out of your online college experience.

Correctly Managing Your Time

The biggest hurdle students have to overcome when trying to balance their lives is managing their time correctly. It can be hard to know how much time you actually need to dedicate to learning outside of class. It is recommended that you spend 2-3 hours studying for every hour you are in class. So if you attend a class for two hours that week, you should spend 4-6 hours total studying or doing homework for that class. This may seem like a lot of time, but you’ll quickly learn that the time you spend studying flies by. And you may not need to actually spend that much time studying. Every student is different so some may need more time and some may need less. 2-3 hours is a good starting area but feel free to make adjustments to suit your needs.

While that is the typical rule for traditional classes, Grace’s online courses are a little bit different. At Grace, we find that successful students dedicate around 15 hours per week to completing classwork. Students are free to take these online classes anywhere and at any time. This ensures the work gets done when most convenient for them.

Managing your time can be difficult but when done correctly, it’s incredibly rewarding. By focusing on your studies, not only will you be able to learn more about the subjects you are passionate about, you’ll also get to deepen your enjoyment of the Bible through theology classes no matter your degree.

Focus Is Important

It’s also important to make sure the time you dedicate to studying is actually spent studying. Focusing on your work can be difficult, especially when there are so many distractions like texting, social media, friends and family, and a practically infinite number of things you could be doing. We recommend experimenting to find what helps you focus the most. Some students work better when they have someone to study with, some need to be alone. Some work better when listening to music, some need silence. Find what works for you so that the time you spend studying is actually spent studying.

Another helpful tip that many students benefit from is setting a timer. Staying focused on your work can be especially difficult in online classes but when you do accomplish your classwork it will be incredibly satisfying. Set a timer for 30-45 minutes, put your phone somewhere where you can’t reach it, and just work until the timer goes off. Then take a 5-10 minute break before repeating. If you eliminate distractions and focus on your work, managing your time is a piece of cake.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated can be fairly difficult, especially in the first year of college when most students have to take classes that don’t always pertain to their degree, but it’s vital to balancing life and school. If you can’t stay motivated, you’ll begin putting off doing your school work and your grades will slowly start slipping. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

One of the best ways to stay motivated that we’ve found is finding a way to reward yourself. Whether that means treating yourself to a sweet treat, doing something you love, or buying yourself something you want, find a way to reward yourself. Make sure the reward is proportionate to the task at hand. 

Set a goal like completing all your assignments on time for the whole week and reward yourself when you complete that task. Staying motivated will help you complete your work in a timely manner and allow you to have more time for things you enjoy.

Make Time For Yourself and Others

While schoolwork is definitely important, it’s also important to have a healthy social life. If you only focus on studying, you’ll get burnt out in no time. Make sure you are making time for yourself and others to recharge your battery. Take time to indulge in a hobby of yours or hang out with friends. You can even study with friends if you need to keep working, just make sure to relax every now and then.

Contact Us Today

If you’re interested in learning more about Grace and the programs we offer, contact us today! Our knowledgeable and friendly staff is ready and waiting to help you start your college journey. Also, be sure to check out our full list of online programs to find the degree path that’s right for you.


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