Don't Forget About Your Offline Work

Many degrees can be completed without ever stepping foot in a lab. They include humanities degrees, business majors and several others. Science, engineering and medical degrees often don't have that. For example, nursing school programs often have an offline program for things like biology and chemistry. Others require time in a healthcare setting.

The problem for many students is that they forget about these, which is a major issue. Unlike coursework that can be completed online, the amount of flexibility that you have in taking labs is minimal, at best. So if you decided to take an online degree program so that you could continue work or take care of your family, you need to watch out.

We've previously covered how to establish ground rules with your family, and making sure you make labwork and similar offline classes are sacrosanct should help out a bit. On the other hand, employers are less likely to be thrilled that you can't take an extra shift. In fact, even if the higher-ups are helping offset the costs, your direct manager may see things much more differently.

Another issue happens to stare back at you when you look in the mirror. You may get used to telling yourself, "It's okay if I don't do the readings tonight, I'll take care of it tomorrow for breakfast." That's not going to help with tight lab schedules, and you may be penalized severely for your final grade, or actually miss out on licensing requirements if you mistakenly take a lackadaisical view.

There are two ways that you can lessen the risk of that happening. One is to make sure that you create a weekly schedule as soon as you get your syllabus. Use a different color, highlighter or what have you for classes that force you to make an appearance. It should be in a place where loved ones can see it, as well. As a back up, there aren't much better than a cell phone, especially a smart phone. You can set up event reminders for specific days and times (many email programs also allow for this). Set it for about 45 minutes or an hour before lab or the class starts. That gives you enough time to get your things together and out the door.

It's most important simply to remember that the offline aspect is critical for so many different reasons. So try to get your mindset to include that fact. If you have other ways you keep track of them, let us know.

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Data on U.S. Public High Schools & Private High Schools

Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data displayed is compiled from the most recent sources available. For public schools this is the 2012-2013 school year. For private schools this is the 2011-2012 school year.

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