5 Ways to Feel Connected to Your College While Taking Classes Online
May 3, 2019 3:35pm
Heading back to school can be an exciting – and uncertain – time for you as a student. Many learners might be wondering what the campus culture will be like, what kinds of activities they might become involved in, and if they’ll fit in with their peers. But what if you are completing your degree online? How will you feel connected if you are never on campus or sitting with your peers in class? It might come as a surprise to you that there are ways to get involved and even make lasting friendships in the virtual classroom.
Follow your school on social media
Even if you only mildly participate on social media platforms, following your school’s various Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter accounts, and LinkedIn profiles is a great way to get and stay connected. Not only can you keep up to date on the latest in announcements, helpful articles, and job postings, you can also interact with others following the page. This means you can get connected with other students like yourself or alumni. Participating in comment threads and discussions with other learners and alumni is a great way to network – no matter where you are in the world. Being involved online can help serve as a reminder that you are part of a college community – even if you never technically step foot on campus.
Join your school’s alumni organization
Though you might be a couple months or even years from graduating, you should connect with your college’s alumni organization. In doing so you can ensure that you stay in touch with activities and networking events – some of which might even be taking place near you. Be sure to also follow your school’s alumni association on social media so you can get connected to others who are either working toward their degree or alumni who might be able to give you some advice. Many alumni organizations provide career services to graduates, so it’s a smart move to get connected sooner than later.
Participate in student organizations
Even though you aren’t on a physical campus every day, you can still take part in student organizations available to you online. Once you enroll, be sure to ask your advisor what organizations or clubs might be available for online students. Many schools have Student Veterans of America chapters, honor societies, and virtual clubs that might match your hobbies and interests. These can not only be a great way to feel included and involved, they can also serve as a great source for networking and job leads down the road.
Reach out to fellow classmates
This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get connected to your new online college community. Simply reach out to other classmates in your courses through your learning management system. Introduce yourself to others taking the class, tell them about yourself, what state you live in, what you do for a living. It might surprise you how many other students share commonalities with you. Maybe they can tell you about an online club or honor society they are part of, or career possibilities you had not yet thought of. Learning management systems can serve as a close-knit social media platform of sorts. You can get to know others in your classes as well as your instructors even though you aren’t physically sitting next to them.
Change up your study space
One of the keys to being successful in an online classroom setting is to find a study space that works for you. Maybe you work best at home in your living room, or maybe you prefer to get out of the house away from the distractions. In any case, branch out every once in a while. If you are feeling a little too isolated, get out of your comfort zone and hit up the coffeehouse down the street or go to a local library. It’s likely you will be in the company of other students studying just like you. Just being around other people working toward their degree can help remind you that you are not alone in your journey.