Washington University in St. Louis – School of Continuing & Professional Studies provides online and hybrid courses because they offer greater flexibility and unique learning opportunities to engage with fellow students and faculty. However, some students simply do not do their best in an online environment.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if online learning is right for you:

Are you comfortable working on a computer? Are you prepared to solve an occasional puzzle?

Successful online students are comfortable with using a computer: sending and receiving email, downloading or uploading a file, playing a video, or searching the internet, for example.

Are you independent and good at managing your time?

Because your course does not meet at a regularly-scheduled time and place, online learners must be independent and organized to succeed.

Do you have a dedicated work space, or a place you can use on a regular basis that is free from distractions?

Successful online learners have determined where they will complete course work, just as on-campus students know in advance where their courses will be held.

Do you have daily access to a computer with high-speed internet access, even when you are traveling? Do you check your email daily?

Although online courses provide flexibility, to do well in such a course you must be able to check in daily in order to participate in discussion boards and receive feedback and direction from your instructor.

Are you comfortable interacting with students you have not met face to face?

There are many opportunities in online courses to get to know your fellow classmates and instructor, but you should be comfortable doing this online, for example by interacting on a discussion board or posting a video of yourself.

Do you have a good reason for taking an online course?

Online learners are more likely to succeed when they are motivated, for example, to complete a degree program or learn a new skill for work.

Are you returning to school after a substantial break?

You may find that it is best to begin with a face-to-face course to refresh your study skills. Once you are comfortable in your new role as a student, try out one of our online options.