Taking a paralegal course online is a great way to get your education with an amount of flexibility you’d never get with a traditional on-site program. Whether you’re already working or just have too much going on to spend days in school each week, an online paralegal program can get you prepared for your new career. This style of learning poses some unique challenges, so here are seven tips for succeeding in your online paralegal education.
Time management is a must for your online paralegal studies. Both social media and your television are the biggest threats to your time, so cut down on the use of both while you’re taking your courses.
If you’re not sure how much you can handle at one time, you may want to start working toward your paralegal certificate part-time at first. A course can require five hours of studying per week or more, so factor that in when you’re planning your schedule.
Get your goals in writing
Earning your paralegal certificate online is not easy, and there will be some obstacles. Make a list of all your reasons for earning the certificate and put it somewhere you see often, such as your bathroom mirror. While that may sound a little silly, having all your reasons down in writing serves as a reminder that will help keep you motivated, even when things seem to get tough.
Stake out a study space
Getting your paralegal education takes focus and dedication. To guard against a premature drop-out, claim a space of your own for studying. It could be a quiet spot in your attic, basement or even the garage. By having a dedicated and calm space for your schoolwork, you’ll be more likely to stick to it!
Create a solid study plan
After you’ve registered for your online paralegal course, set a home study schedule of at least four hours each week. Put aside a minimum of two hours twice a week for study time, such as from 6pm to 8pm on Saturday and from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday. For the first study day, read all the assigned materials and take good notes. On the second day, review those notes and work on any other assignments you have. Make sure everyone in your household knows your study times and that you are not to be interrupted during them.
Plan for potential family care issues
If you have children, you will need care plans for them so you can focus on your schoolwork when you need to. Professional daycare can be expensive and the availability may not line up with your paralegal course or study schedules, so be creative to give yourself more options. See if neighbors you’re friendly with, friends or family members can watch your children when you’re busy with school. Pool with other parent students by connecting with them at your online school. By mixing up resources, you’ll have more options and won’t be relying on just one person to watch your children while you’re studying or taking your classes.
Seek your employer’s support
While it may be tempting to keep your school enrollment quiet if you’re embarrassed about not having a degree yet, this will make getting support at work difficult. You may need to leave early one day a week to attend an online class session or get a big project done, so you’re better off telling your employer about your schooling. Most employers will be supportive of your goals, so go ahead and put it out there.