Online (or distance learning) student enrollment is growing. Many campuses offer online courses for any student, not just those who live in another city or state. A third of all students take at least one class online, and about 15% of college students take classes exclusively online. Even if you’re not on campus, you can still utilize on- and off- campus resources to help ensure your success as a college student.
Depending on your campus, you may still be able to take advantage of campus resources. Your school may have resources available online for distance learners, such as online therapy modules or mental health apps. If you live near campus and take classes online, you may be able to utilize on-campus resources. Check to see if you qualify, as some on-campus resources are available only to students who pay a fee, and distance learners may not pay all campus fees. If your school has an office for online students, check with the staff to see what resources you can use.
You may be working, have children, and have other responsibilities in addition to taking classes online. Balancing work, life, and school can be difficult. You may find it helpful to get into a routine, just like you would if you were attending classes in person. Set aside time every day to “go to class.” This includes watching online videos, doing the assigned reading, and completing homework assignments. The great thing about taking classes online is that you can fit the work into your schedule—you might be able to watch a lecture over your lunch break, and you could do homework after the kids are in bed. Find what works best for you for ensuring your work is done on time.
If you are under 26, you may be able to stay on your parent’s plan. In addition, if you work full-time, you could opt-in to your employer’s plan. If your school offers a student health insurance plan, you could look into that benefit. An important note is whether your providers will be part of their network. If you live in another city or state, you may not qualify for coverage with the student health insurance plan, or you may have to pay extra for health services. Check with the plan administrator for more information. Another option is the Health Insurance Marketplace. It’s based on income, so if you’re both a dependent and a college student, you may qualify for cheaper rates.