If you’re a student who’s ready to get a head start in college, graduate early, and begin your career, then an older sibling or parent may have already explained to you the importance of hard and soft skills. While hard skills can be learned in class, like math or chemistry, soft skills are not easily taught in school. They require trial and error. By taking an online class in high school, you can start developing important soft skills early enough to master them by college.
You’re probably thinking, well…I communicate online every day through Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. You’re right. But communication on social media tends to be more informal. Taking an online class in high school will let you practice how to communicate like an adult with your teacher and other students. Once you move on to college, sending a professor an email or writing a discussion post to other students will feel familiar instead of terrifying. Using formal communication in your online class will prepare you for the real world, too. Most adults will tell you that they spend more time in their jobs communicating online than in person, so it’s important to learn how to express yourself clearly in order to be productive.
You probably have experience with learning how to manage your time wisely. Like juggling your acting lessons with volleyball practice or balancing time with your family and friends. Now, you just have to adapt these time management skills to your online high school class. Students are most successful when they make their own deadlines and figure out what pace works best for them. It’s up to you to plan your study time around your day. You decide whether you prefer reading and writing in the evening and going to soccer practice in the morning, or taking dance classes in the evening and working out math problems during the day. When you have 30 minutes of downtime in between lessons or practice, take out your laptop and work on an assignment, even if you only get it halfway done. Every online class is different, but it’s important to take advantage of working ahead when you’re given the flexibility to work at your own pace. Procrastination will follow you into college, so it’s best to figure out how to prioritize now.
It’s so easy to get distracted these days, spending hours scrolling through your news feed or even binge watching your new favorite show on Netflix. Where do you find the motivation to do homework? It sounds hard but eventually you’ll turn it into a habit, like keeping your room organized. When you take an online class, you’ll be responsible for signing on and knowing when you should be working on your assignments. Your teacher won’t physically be there to remind you every day to do your homework, so buy yourself a good planner and write down all your upcoming assignments. Or plug your deadlines into the calendar in your phone and setup reminders to alert you a few days before they are due. College students will tell you this will be the best way to stay on top of your work because professors won’t be reminding you about deadlines either.
Developing a good work ethic while you’re still in high school will guarantee your success in college and in the real world. And the best way to prepare for college classes is to register for one! You can sign up for a dual enrollment program either at your high school or community college and earn college credit. You’ll get a taste of the college experience and complete credits that will count toward your degree once you declare it. However, some students do run into issues when they go out of state because all the credits may not transfer to the university of their choosing.
One way to make sure you receive full credit for your hard work is to find an online high school that offers concurrent enrollment with a top university. It’s similar to dual enrollment except you’ll enroll in university courses and receive credit for both high school and college. The best part is, you’ll kill two birds with one stone because you won’t have to retake the same general requirements as a college freshman. And since the courses are registered with a university instead of community college, the credits transfer almost anywhere.
Signing up for an online class in high school is a great way to begin preparing for college. Take advantage of your options and learn how you can get ahead of the competition. By the time everyone else is getting started, you’ll already be at the finish line.
Still not sure if online learning is right for you? Doing your research in the best first step. Take a look at some of our other posts, including this one on how to decide whether online learning is right for you or this one on the common fears of online education.