Getting into the college of your choice is a wonderful and exciting achievement for any high school student. But succeeding in college requires you to take complete responsibility for your own learning. Students that attend online high school gain significant college prep advantages, because independent learning skills are already ingrained by the time they arrive at college.
Independent learning fosters the attitude, behaviors and thinking skills students will need every day in college and throughout the rest of their life. Attending school online can help students acquire all five of these important advantages:
1. Ability to work independently
Online school requires students to work on their own. Teachers are always available to help, but they do not direct a student’s study schedule or set their priorities. Students who work independently show the initiative needed to complete both their high school assignments and their college assignments upon graduation. When a student has completed high school online they are able to take this independent learning with them and succeed on the collegiate level.
2. Understanding the learning process
Because online students take an active role in directing their own education, they learn the steps necessary to think things through, complete a lesson or a project or solve a problem. They learn to delve deeper to understand the reasons behind things rather than simply memorizing answers to test questions or lists of facts and figures. In effect, they learn how to learn.
3. Emotional maturity
As children mature, learning to accept delayed gratification is one of the hardest lessons. Students at traditional schools may be tempted to sneak in texting friends, checking their Facebook posts, or playing games on their phone rather than paying attention in class, as a way of getting away with something. Students who study online must develop the ability to show their maturity by managing these distractions on their own, since spending time on these distractions only hinders their own progress. For online students, school work and non-school activities are interwoven, requiring them to manage their time effectively.
Independent learning fosters self-motivation and good study habits as well as time management skills.
Online students are actively involved in setting their own study goals, and they are responsible for achieving those goals. That requires self-discipline. As they learn to identify and establish their own priorities, they learn what it takes to set goals for any purpose. That includes thinking through what it takes to accomplish specific tasks or more complex projects and determining which work should be accomplished first.
Self-discipline also builds tenacity. Independent learners come to understand there are psychological and tangible rewards that come from achieving incremental milestones on the way to achieving long-term goals. That gives them the tenacity to see things through, even if those things are difficult or not much fun.
5. Critical thinking
Learning to think critically rather than simply taking things at face value – to analyze both data and ideas – is fundamental to college success. The independent learning process teaches students to find information and analyze it, to distinguish between assumptions or opinions and facts, to look for the “how and why” behind concepts and actions and to relate causes and consequences. They become better problem-solvers.
For many students, independent learning is more enjoyable and fulfilling. Accredited online schools prepare students academically, with an exceptional education that in many cases surpasses what is available at a traditional brick-and-mortar school. Students also gain confidence and determination, along with the ability to focus and other advantages. They are fully prepared, personally and practically, for success in college.