The Essential Guide to Success in Online College Classes


Are you overwhelmed or anxious about the transition to online learning? Good news! You’ve come to the right place.

female college student using laptop for online classes

Let’s get real. This is a messy school year. There’s no sugar-coating it. During this period of global turmoil due to the coronavirus, students such as ourselves are impacted in ways we could’ve never foreseen. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, online classes were optional and supplemental. Now, for better or worse, this learning platform is suddenly in the spotlight, as it is thrust onto the entire educational system. Depending on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, this transition to school at home could either be seen as a welcome change or a major mental health risk.

Introverts, people who are typically more reserved, find it much easier to thrive in this sort of predicament as they are already more comfortable with less social contact. However, this does not mean that they are in the clear. This transition to life temporarily confined in a house is also detrimental to the wellbeing of introverts as they still prefer to have the choice of whether or not they would like to socialize in moderation.

Extroverts, on the other hand, the people known for thriving in social environments and being energized by them, are having a rougher go of things. Universities are closed, there are limited social events, and other restrictions on activities in general. News like this in the eyes of a social butterfly is essentially a sign of the apocalypse.

Either way, students are expected by professors to thrive in this suddenly new and challenging learning environment, so we must adapt, and we must adapt quickly. To help with this, we’ve put together a list below that will help you conquer your online classes.

Here's our top 5 tips for success in online learning

1) Take a deep breath

This pandemic is not the end of the world. This too will pass. You would be amazed how impactful a few deep breaths can be on your overall focus and work ethic during these online courses; not to mention your anxiety and overall mental health (this one is good for everyday life as well).

2) Keep a schedule

Discipline is key. If you take anything away from this post, let it be that. It is so easy, especially during the confinement of this pandemic, to let loose and remove helpful structure from your life. However, this has an adverse effect on your physical and mental well being, whether you realize it or not. This will subsequently lead to poor academic performance. Keeping a schedule will also ease the boredom of living under quarantine/shelter-in-place for days and weeks on end.

3) Have a designated workspace

Having a designated workspace free of distractions could be the difference between struggling and thriving when it comes to this new online learning environment. When choosing the optimal area for learning, take into consideration basic factors such as the noise level and light exposure while also making sure that the space is comfy, but not too much. We recommend having a desk light that can simulate natural sunlight which can help boost your mood.

Since the bulk of your “school days” during this pandemic will likely be spent staring into the screen of a laptop for hours on end, it would probably be beneficial to choose a location with a good view of the outdoors. Being confined at home is hard enough for most people. Don’t make it harder for yourself by not allowing a view of the world outside your home.

4) Take study breaks 

You simply cannot do your best work if you do not rest occasionally. You will overwork yourself which will make this whole online college environment more dreadful. Although everyone’s academic schedules vary, you would be amazed at the results if you were to take a 15-minute break every hour and a half or so. Trust me, this is coming from first-hand experience.

5) Get connected

Last, but certainly not least, you must have a sufficient internet connection. Most online college classes are now being taught through Zoom, an online live video-chat platform. Having a poor internet connection would not only hurt your own online college experience, but also everyone else’s.

Many companies like Comcast, Spectrum, and Xfinity are offering free or extremely discounted internet service plans to students due to COVID-19. While we do not endorse any one provider, we want to provide you with this information to help you establish internet connectivity. Be sure to first check that the provider is available in your area by entering your zip code.

While on this topic, whether you are using Zoom or otherwise, make sure to be very familiar with your platform. Stories of students who have left cameras and/or microphones on with some very embarrassing mishaps are prevalent with this new technology. Don’t become the next story.


Online classes aren’t always easy. If you can implement just one or two of these ideas into your daily routine, you will see significant improvement in your academic performance.

Even if you are in high school, or receiving any form of education, you can still reap benefits from these practices. They will most definitely help you see improvement in your attitude and daily routine during this global crisis.