Tips on How to be a Successful Online Student!

graphic of items related to time management

Time management graphic by Lisa Sheridan

Being an online student can be tough especially if you are not used to taking online courses and the whole experience is very new to you. Luckily, there is a lot of help to new students about to begin this endeavor. For instance, most campuses offer an orientation course. The course which doesn’t affect your GPA, though it is designed to get you to familiarize with the campus and with student life so that you can successfully complete your academic journey. You are also assigned an advisor who is meant to help guide through your course selections each semester. Then you have the professors with whom you will be working with each term. Most professors are easy to work with, but it requires some effort on your part. You must make sure you are communicating with them. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you don’t understand something or if you are having any other type of difficulties. Lastly, your peers are in this journey with you, so make an effort to build relationships with them through Blackboard. You will likely see the same people in your degree program in other courses throughout your time as a student. This can be helpful because it offers students a “friendly face” as it were in each new class. You will likely always see at least one familiar face. Below are some other tips to help you in your goal of successful online learning:


  • Stay organized by keeping a weekly planner with assignments you need to complete for that week.  
  • Follow CUNY SPS on social media to stay informed about events, students, news and anything beneficial to student life.  
  • Attend events to meet your peers and faculty in person and build relationships with them if you can.
  • Communication is key.
  • Group projects are sometimes difficult, but unavoidable! Be sure to do your part and find an easy and fast way to communicate with members on your team.
  • Falling behind? Ask for an extension. This may or may not come with a penalty of some kind, depending on your professor. Some professors do not give extensions so know upfront which type of professor you have and move accordingly. 
  • Your health is your greatest wealth. Sometimes with student life and work life in the mix, it’s hard to get proper sleep and nutrition. Find ways to maintain a healthy self while being a working online student. (shakes, meal prep, water, healthy snacks, naps, etc.) 
  • Check before enrolling in a class. I always check this out first to give me an idea of how a professor is. If they have too many negative reviews I usually opt out for a different professor if I can.  
  • Taking an online course is basically like learning a lot of the things on your own, I always ask my friend Google whenever I need more insight on a topic or just help in general.  
  • Print your syllabus, mainly the calendar portion, to keep you on track with your assignments.   
  • Join clubs or groups (like the community blog, the Kiosk, student association, the governing council, etc.). If you want to find out more about student life initiatives, events and organizations please contact Anthony Sweeney, the Associate Director of Student Life at CUNY SPS at [email protected]
  • Find internships and fellowships. This can be tougher at an online school, like SPS, than on traditional campuses within CUNY but it is possible. A good place to start for help with this is the Career Services office at CUNY SPS. They can be reached via their website at, via email at, or in person at the 4th floor of the CUNY SPS building at 119 West 31st Street.


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