One of the biggest concerns for adult college students is how to balance work and school. That balance once seemed impossible, with many working adults making a hard choice between keeping a full-time job or earning a degree. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.

Online learning now ensures that students from anywhere can boost their careers and expand their knowledge and skills by earning a college degree through remote learning. Students can attend classes from anywhere they have an internet connection.

But while online learning has opened the door for more working adults to earn their degrees, it also raises concerns. Even with the ability to attend class online, they still worry about finding how to balance work and school. It ranks among the most significant issues holding adults back from completing a degree.

Providing Support That Helps Balance Work and School

Working adults who enroll in online degree programs from Northern Michigan University Global Campus reap the benefits of additional support programs. These programs help students studying remotely better manage the online education experience.

It can, at first, seem overwhelming. However, NMU faculty and staff have years of experience working with students across the country and worldwide. They’ve developed supportive programs in several key areas.

Global Campus Pre-Admission Plan of Study

NMU Global Campus offers an unofficial degree evaluation that provides potential students with an estimate of how long it will take them to finish a degree and allows them to plan accordingly. The process factors in prior NMU credit or college-level credit transfer from other institutions. This free service, with no obligation to enroll, is typically completed within two business days.

Global Campus Tutoring

Once enrolled, students receive support from NMU Global Campus tutoring services. This includes Olson Library services that offer tutoring through the Writing Center. NMU also partners with TutorMe, a service that allows students to connect with a tutor on 300 different subjects in under 30 seconds 24 hours a day.

After-Hours, Online Crisis Counseling

NMU Global Campus students receive the same benefits as on-campus students for mental health counseling services. Online counselors work with students on various subjects, including alcohol awareness, domestic violence awareness, mental health awareness, mindfulness, putting yourself first, stress management, and suicide prevention.

College Study Tips for Online Students

With more people than ever taking college courses online, colleges and universities now have more information than ever before on what does and doesn’t work for students studying online. For working adults worried about how to balance work and school, these tips offer an excellent place to start planning better time management.

A Designated Place

Create a space for setting up a computer and connecting with online classes. The exact location is less important than finding a place with few distractions such as noise, foot traffic, or a prominent window beyond the computer screen. It’s also essential that everyone in the household knows about the space and respects “quiet time” for the student.

Dress for Class

One of the tips many people who work remotely have discovered is that getting up early, showering, and dressing as if they are leaving the house can better focus on work. Indeed, it works better than wearing pajamas and signing in at the last possible second. Take the time to go through notes and prepare before class begins, which will cut down on the study time needed afterward.

Practice Time Management

Time management is the key to online learning success. It will also help working adults in their professional careers. At its core, time management keeps people focused on what is most important—the first (and most difficult) step: assessing the amount of time not to be wasted each day.

  • Make a weekly and daily to-do list
  • Plan a schedule to accomplish those tasks
  • Prioritize the work
  • Break larger projects into smaller daily tasks
  • Write down project goals and deadlines
  • Don’t sacrifice the good for the perfect

Stay Alert for Signs of Stress

Stress sneaks up on most people. The early signs signal that the current process is not working because it is raising the level of stress and anxiety.

  • Feeling constantly under pressure, overwhelmed, and behind
  • Often feeling irritable or moody
  • Stomach aches, headaches, jaw aches, muscle pain (such as in the back) caused by tension, and also chest pain
  • Having brief but intense panic or anxiety attacks
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Overeating or taking on unhealthy habits such as drinking too much
  • Feeling sad and depressed often

There are many simple ways to reduce stress, but consistency is the key. They include eating healthy, daily exercise, good sleep habits, and practicing relaxation exercises.

Exercise the Right to Say No

Work and personal demands can sometimes throw even the best-constructed life balance off-kilter. It’s wise to set boundaries and practice the habit of saying “no.” Particularly, in situations such as getting asked to complete a project at the last minute or working a shift over the weekend.

Learning how to balance work and school takes practice. It’s also easier to accomplish with the right kind of support. NMU Global Campus creates a learning environment that offers online student support and ensures working adults can set aside their worries about life balance and focus on what’s important – earning a college degree.