I am pursuing a Master of Science in Accounting at American Public University (APU). As a graduate student, APU will only confer the degree after completion of all required courses and with a minimum 3.0-cumulative GPA. Being a high-achiever, I make it my business to stay on top of class assignments. In general, online study requires a lot of reading and writing to complete class assignments. There are three key factors that enabled me to consistently stay on top of class assignments.
One key factor is motivation. How does one get that motivation? Well, to keep that motivation fire burning, we need to have a goal in mind and be able to visualize our destination–our ultimate prize at the end of the rainbow is a college degree. For example, if we want to get from point A to B (where point B is a place filled with milk and honey), then we need to have it mapped out in our head as to how to get there; this way, whatever issues we may be facing we will not lose sight of our goal. This tenacity to succeed will enable us to persevere and carry-on, despite mountains of difficulties ahead of us. It will also enable us to develop good study habits and overcome procrastination. Additionally, motivation will enable us to be self-disciplined and be a self-starter.
The second key factor is to prioritize. Most of us online adult learners have families and careers or jobs to juggle; and we squeeze in the little time we have left over to study and complete our class assignments. Is that a good idea to allocate minimal time to our education? I believe our educational endeavor should be memorable and seen as adventurous. For that matter, it should be allotted the most quality time and be made a top priority. When we make education our priority, we will consciously want to stay on top of our class assignments and abstain from procrastination. We will also want to develop good time management skills, schedule our lives around our educational endeavors, and make sacrifices.
The third key factor is to do it in bite-sized chunks. When we think of all the readings and research papers we have to write, most of us will become frustrated and just quit altogether. However, I advise against climbing to the top of your Mount Everest in one giant leap. Instead, just focus on each low plateau at a time–commit to reading just a few pages an hour and answering some part of the assigned problems each hour or day. Hence, complete the reading and writing in small dosages, instead of swallowing the whole bottle all at once.
And believe me, before you know it, the semester has already ended and you will feel an adrenaline-high from getting that “A” for the course. However, if there comes a point where circumstances or personal issues are preventing you from completing a course on time, then you may be eligible to request a “30-day course extension” (APUS Student Handbook, 2013). Consult with your advisor, or professor, before you get to this point to figure out your options for getting the grade you’ve earned for the course.
Houn is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Accounting at APU and currently has a 3.9 GPA. Houn recently received a Certificate of Appreciation for being a Facilitator for the Accounting Group in the Mentoring Network at APU.