9 Habits College Students Should Master to Ace Online Classes

Photo by Chris Montgomery from Unsplash

Since the onset of the spread of Covid-19, we’ve been searching for smarter and more effective alternatives to execute our daily means of livelihood. Regardless of social status, we have to adapt to new changes; that’s basically how we live another day. As resilient beings, we’re gifted with a rational mind and a functioning body to get through life’s hurdles in the best way we can.

Among everything, the pandemic has gravely changed the usual operations of our educational system. To achieve quality education in online learning, a new set of knowledge and skill is necessary for both students and teachers to learn. They have to meet the demands required of this academic set-up despite the internal and external circumstances hindering them to do so. For instance, all learners who decide to enroll in this online schooling are expected to be media literate with the vast scope of educational platforms while being excellent achievers.

However, this requirement is unfortunate to those who live in remote areas or in the high mountains of their respective provinces where the internet connection is rock-bottom. Students are accessing information in an entirely different, one-way learning system due to the limitation of student feedback unlike in a traditional classroom. As a result, learners become less satisfied with their performance and cope with self-isolation.

Moreover, online instructors tend to focus on theory rather than practice and take advantage of the students’ availability and accessibility to educational resources; because of this, students rapidly lose the drive to aim for productivity and excellence because there is no clear boundary between rest and school. In addition, there is no tangible manifestation of their progress and commitment directly to the teacher.

Not only are online classes a hassle and at some points ineffective (depending on the curriculum and nature of the degree program) but can also be unfair to the students in terms of school tuition fees. Students are obligated to pay services that they can’t utilize because they’re studying in their homes. As a student, it all boils down to self-teaching and disciplining yourself to not become too comfortable and familiar with the place. Your home is your sanctuary of peace, a place for relaxation and bonding with the family, or at least it was. 






Punctuality is a trait that is commonly associated with professionalism, and I couldn’t agree more. Being punctual in meetings, classes, or even in social events manifests your commitment to the agreement and discipline in yourself. It shows not only that you are prepared and efficient but also reflects how much you respect another person’s time. In your online classes, it’s essential that you treat each class schedule as important as you do when you’re on the school campus. Attend to your Zoom meetings / MS Teams schedules 15 minutes before the time and wait patiently until your professors admit you. If your professor is unable to meet with you, use up the time to finish household chores or do assignments from other subjects. 




One of the perks of this new mode of learning is students can now study with reduced costs (such as not having to pay the fare, lunch, projects, etc.) and have the flexibility to do their school works without a fixed schedule. Furthermore, online learning covers a wide array of networking opportunities for students to access specialized degree courses and sharing of expertise from diverse parts of the world which they can utilize for their gain.

Consequently, students can safely store all the information (live discussion documents, training materials, and emails) in an online database where they can access these documents conveniently. This is where the significance of organizing your files in your computer or any electronic device comes to play. Store all the downloads required by your professors (PDF’s, Word Documents, PPT Presentations, MS Excel, etc.) in Google Drives or your documents.

Delete the unnecessary data you downloaded four years ago so you can leave room for the updated, more important files for school. Make it a habit to rename every bit of document to its corresponding and complete name, and not some acronym or gibberish. This will not only help you when searching for the file but will also help you keep track of the number of documents in a single folder and be more organized. 




As tempting it may be to sleep in, you have to train your mind and body to associate your home as a school or a workplace during school hours. You can do that by waking up earlier than your first class like you would if it were face-to-face classes. Set your alarm at a realistic time enough for you to take a bath and change into proper clothes (to get you in the mood of going to school).

Never underestimate the power of a good shower and wearing the right outdoor clothes; it will help give you the power boost you need in the morning. Moreover, when the projects and assignments accumulate too much on your plate, don’t beat yourself up by compromising your sleep and eating schedule. Know that none of us were ready for this and you’re still in the process of adjusting. Nothing is more important than your health so take care of it, because it’s impossible to restore it once it deteriorates at a rapid rate because of your bad habits. 



Various learning strategies have been experimented with and used in the online mode of learning and it’s understandable if you can’t keep up just yet. You need to take notes (whether on paper or your laptop) for the information your professor will convey verbally, in case no visual aid or reviewer is provided. It’s important to make this a habit because so many disruptions can happen like intermittent internet connection and there’s a possibility you wouldn’t be able to join again. 




By creating a decent learning environment suited for you and your needs as a student, it’s important to start looking for a proper location inside your house where you can work efficiently like a little corner where your study desk is. Customize your spot by decorating it to set the right mood and ambiance like putting bookshelves and hanging a calendar where you put your sticky notes. You have to understand that there can be cases when you’re in the middle of answering a question while your little sister is barging up to your room accusing you of taking her headphones.

Location and mood-setting are two important factors when turning a spot in your room into a peaceful, learning environment. Make yourself comfortable but not so comfortable that you’re likely to be sleepy and reminded of the comfort of your bed. By doing so, will help increase productivity and focus on your work because there are less noise and unnecessary distractions. 



While taking online classes at home, it can get overwhelming when professors bombard you with different requirements, leaving you with no time to rest. If your school doesn’t recognize drawing boundaries between school and home, then have the initiative to do it yourself. You can do this by setting specific and different schedules with every task you need to do daily.

Keep in mind that since you’re at home, your responsibilities as both a daughter/son and a student are clashing every day. It may be your Literature class but it’s also time for you to cook lunch for the family. When you can’t afford to hire a helper at home then you have no choice but to do the household chores yourself like cooking for your family. This is where the importance of dividing your time and energy comes into play. 




Constantly communicating with your friends online can make your college experience less stressful. You can vent out your rants or problems to your trusted friends when things aren’t going well at home. If you’re fond of studying in groups, you can do so through video calling. They can help you with the lessons you’re not so fond of and you can assist them in return. When you accidentally sleep in after pulling an all-nighter, they can be of extra help in waking you up or informing you of what you missed in case you didn’t make it.



It’s important and strategic that you take advantage of the vastness of information from the web and in books. Widen your knowledge about a particular topic by accessing through various digital and physical sources. Along with the many disadvantages of online classes, the opportunity to learn shouldn’t be one of them. You can obtain accurate and reliable data from almost everywhere so you shouldn’t have to solely depend on your professor’s input. From the comfort of your home, you can easily satisfy your curiosity or answer a question by a click. 




Remember that as a student, you are a representative of the school’s values and beliefs and anything you do can reflect them. Just because you’re at home and not inside the school campus that you are not obliged to adhere to the school policies and regulations. Just because you’re behind the screen, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t observe and practice media literacy and ethics. When communicating to your professors, even through social media platforms, be careful to not be too comfortable. Draw boundaries with what you say and how you say it, even when the channel is informal. 



“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin 

Published by Monique Renegado

Monique started Life Begins At Twenty as a 20-year-old college student from the Philippines. In her lifestyle and wellness blog, she shares first-hand experiences and soulful advice about student life, relationships, mental health, adulting, and self-growth. Monique is passionate about literature, music, public speaking, and family. Besides studying and blogging full-time, she strives hard to become a published author with her first YA fiction novel and poems. Monique is the older sister you wish you had to help you navigate your twenties successfully. If you want a constant drive for motivation and pep talks, be a part of her journey.

23 thoughts on “9 Habits College Students Should Master to Ace Online Classes

  1. I can't even imagine how hard it must be right now to study. As you said in this particular time it's difficult to draw boundaries between school/work and home. I will adapt some of them to my wiritng and blogging, thanks for sharing Monique! Good luck with your classes starting 🙂


  2. I definitely agree with the difficulties of drawing a boundary with where you relax and live and where you study and work! Definitely something I found tricky when I was doing online university!


  3. I loved taking online classes when I was in college, but it was definitely easier a few years ago when it wasn't just full video chat like classes have to do now. All of these tips are spot on! Something I wish I did when I had an online class was make online friends. I was mostly to myself, but that was my entire time in college lol. Great post! Deandra|theblackprincessdiaries.com


  4. When I had my first online classes, I used to come a bit late and I thought it would be okay. Now I'm starting my second “semester” I come on time. I haven't had the chance to digitally organized my school files though, it feels so weird that the notes are not physical. Kandice, http://www.kandicekaye.com


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