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Category: Study Skills



From part one of this series: ”

My distance degree is not worth “just as much” as a traditional campus degree – it is worth more.  It is worth years of work, life experience, and personal growth.  Let’s go above degree equality, let’s go above and beyond the status-quo.  If you are going to be different, stand out.  Go big or go home! So I encourage you and challenge you to own your degree this year.  Use 2018 as the year you pursue doing more than just getting by, just passing the test, just getting the credit.  How do you do that?  I’m glad you asked!

If you choose to think outside the box, be a little uncommon, and earn your degree through distance learning, you may find yourself having to explain your degree to everyone you meet.  This method will grow you and challenge you.  But it also gives you the option to, not only earn a degree, but to also acquire years of experience and skills that make you invaluable in the workplace.

Here are five practical ways to maximize your college years as a distance student:

1. Get an accountability group

Pursue finding students who are also earning distance degrees and create an accountability group.  You may find them on an online forum, a Facebook group, your online class, or even just local friends. I even met one friend at my testing center when we were both there to take a CLEP.  Having a group that can pray for you, ask you how the tests are going, or just be a sounding board for any questions/rants/comments that you have.  Get a group of people who are studying like you, and build each other up in the Lord.

2. Pursue workplace skills

Put yourself in the position to learn hard and soft skills in the workplace.  Part-time or full-time, internship or job – it really does not matter.  Seek out a position that will allow you to learn from those who are older and more experienced than you.  Pursue learning skills that will set you apart once you graduate – not just for the resume, but for the rest of your life.  And never underestimate the power of a letter of reference from a happy employer.

3. Look for volunteer and service opportunities

As a distance student you may not have the opportunity to get involved in Greek Life, on-campus service projects, or help lead the student body.  But don’t let that stop you.  Change your perspective and look for opportunities around your city and your community.  Schools, special need centers, National Parks, your church, mission trips – the opportunities are endless for you to volunteer and be involved in the life of your local community.  And service projects or volunteer work is often the work that has the greatest amazing impact on our life.

4. Keep your reading list

So many people I talk to say, “oh, I haven’t read since I started college.”  I hear this and I inwardly cringe. Prioritize reading – even if you only read one or two books a semester.  It may seem like a little thing, but reading is actually a vanishing skill in today’s world. Reading challenges your brain, helps you practice your concentration, and grows you as a person.  Read interesting books – fiction and nonfiction – and keep a record of what you read.  Also, choose your reading material thoughtfully. In the process of applying to graduate school and applying for scholarships, I have been able to share with the deans and faculty that I have read The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables while finishing my degree.  In other words, I have surrounded myself with good literature – instead of burying myself of modern textbooks.

5. Pursue relationships with your professors

With a few exceptions, most distance students will not have the opportunity to meet their professors face to face.  But don’t let that stop you from purposefully pursuing a relationship with them.  Do not limit yourself to public posts on the forum, get their personal email and send them your questions and comments.  If you have any questions, ask them – do not guess at the answer.  Demonstrate to your professors that you are not just there to pass a class, show them that you actually want to learn all that they can give you.  College faculty are faculty because they are passionate about their area of expertise and sharing it with students.  Take advantage of that fact and ask them for more than just what they list on the syllabus.  Once again, never underestimate the power of a letter of recommendation from a professor.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  What ideas do you have for making your degree worth more than just four years of coursework?

Control Your Wasted Time

Control Your Wasted Time


It’s going to happen to all of us.  No matter how great your intentions are (or how long your “to do” list is or how many time management apps you have installed on your phone) you will waste time throughout your day.  Instead of living in denial that it is happening, you need to spend your time working to control your wasted time.


How do you currently waste time?  I know that sounds funny to think about, but your time goes somewhere.  When you aren’t working or studying what do you turn to?  Where does your mind go?  Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are quick and easy to get to, so they can turn into huge time wasters.  I’m not saying social media is horrible – on the contrary, I study social media as a part time job – but it might not be the best avenue to always turn to when you have a spare minute.

In addition to those common wasters, we have watching television, surfing the internet, or any other way you can dream up to waste your time.  What we are worried about is passive activities.  When your brain turns off and you cease to have worthwhile thoughts.


Now retrain yourself to control your wasted time.  To reach for challenging activities when you have a free moment to spare.  Start by searching for things that will challenge you and grow you in new ways.

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Read a book
  • Play a musical instrument (or learn to play one)
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Go for a run
  • Play a mentally stimulating game (like chess or checkers)
  • Draw/paint
  • Write a letter to a friend or family member
  • Cook or bake something
  • Learn a new skill (changing your oil or sewing on a button)

And certainly, last but not least, sometimes just sitting and being quiet is good.  Good thinking only occurs when we are quiet and still with no distractions.  Sit on your front porch or hike somewhere.  Leave your phone and find a quiet place.  Think and pray.

There’s a reason God tells us to “be still and know He is God”.  Find some time to be still and know God.  That is never wasted.

Skills for College Students

Skills for College Students


Skills for College Students: Reading, Writing, and Keyboarding

There are several skills that everyone should learn.  Not only will they help you succeed in school, they can help you be successful in the rest of your “normal” life.  Having these skills not only allows you to study and communicate effectively, they can help prove to prospective employers that you care about learning and that you have the ability to learn.  These are skills that you can’t be taught, you have to teach them to yourself.  You have to have the desire and the discipline to sit down and learn them.  So, without further delay, here are a few skills for college students to learn and develop – in class, their personal life, and the workplace.


In our technological age, this skill is becoming more and more vital for students to know.  Being able to type well and quickly will save you time in class, as you type out notes.  It is also an asset in a job hunt.  Make sure you include your typing speed on your resume!

Figure out how fast you type with a fun typing game!

And learn how to type or improve your skills with a free, online program!

Speed Reading

We can all read, but being able to read quickly for information is a skill most of us have to learn.  I highly suggest that all college students take a speed reading course.  It probably won’t make you the fastest reader in the world, but just improving your speed a little bit is a good thing.

See how fast you read with this fun, quick test!

 Writing to Share Information

Writing is becoming a lost art.  Texting, with it’s short bursts of information, has become the only way many people communicate.  And now with autocorrect, we don’t even have to know how to spell anymore.  Being able to write clearly and effectively is a skill that professor and employers are looking for.

For a fun course in writing, try Institute for Excellence in Writing.  I’ve taken multiple courses from them and love them!