woman taking online program
woman taking online program

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How to Balance Work with Your Online Program

Are you thinking about going to school even though you have a full-time job? Good for you! It’s a big decision and one that means you need to consider how you will balance your current commitments with a new responsibility. But lucky for you, a lot of programs that might help you move forward in your career or start a new one are available online. That means you could have an easier time juggling both school and work.

 

Here’s What You’ll Want to Look for to Keep Balance in Your Life

 

A School Schedule that Fits Your Work Schedule

 

Online programs are known for their flexibility, but you’ll still need to turn in assignments on time and take quizzes and tests when they’re scheduled. You may also be required to attend real-time lectures and group discussions. Can you arrange them around your work schedule? Plan it in advance. You may even need to connect with coursemates for group project work. It all sounds like a lot—and it is—but if you plan out your calendar in advance you’re more likely to find success. Keep up the good work you already do at your job and get ready to do a good job in school.

 

Realistic Coursework

 

Some programs pile on reading assignments to replace classroom lecture time. Find out before you start how much work you’ll be expected to complete outside of lectures. Read all the details about the program to determine what the balance will be among projects, lectures, assignments, and tests. Look for specific references to the hours you’ll be expected to commit. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and even talk to people who’ve completed the program. Just because you take the course via your computer doesn’t mean there aren’t real live people behind it all!

 

Accessible Technology and Support

 

If you’re going to take an online course, you need to be comfortable getting online and using common software. Maybe you already use similar programs on your job. Great! But even if you don’t, you need to have easy access to the tools you need. Whether you jump between PCs and Macs or from smartphone to tablet, make sure you can access the coursework you need when you need it. No excuses for late assignments! Before you sign up for an online program, find out what the equipment requirements are and how you will access what you need. Make sure you are familiar with the necessary technology, tools, and platforms before the class begins. And find out what kind of support you can expect if you get stuck. You don’t want to lose time to a technological glitch.

 

Academic Support

 

Just because you take a class remotely doesn't mean you should feel like you’re separated from the school, instructors, and other students. Find out how you can reach your teachers and fellow students outside of the normal online class work. It’s also a good idea to find out what kind of support the school will provide if you have questions or need assistance along the way.

 

Family & Work Support

 

Even the best online program in the world won’t meet your needs if you don’t have time to do the work. Make sure people at home and work know what you’re trying to accomplish. Accept some extra help. Maybe someone needs to sit with your kids while you study. Or maybe you need to say no to that second shift without jeopardizing your job. Let people know what your end goal is and they’re sure to want to help you achieve your goals.

If you’ve checked out online programs and are ready for that next move, it might be time to apply.  Charter College offers several flexible online programs that are ideal for students like you who work full time but are ready to advance their careers with some additional training. Fill out the form to fnd out how we might be able to help you work and learn at the same time.