Over six million students attended online classes in 2010. In the few years that have followed, students are enrolling in colleges that deliver lessons entirely online. While new students in traditional colleges receive supply lists, few, if any, online colleges tell students the essential supplies to have on hand. Here are tips from current online students to newbies when it comes to the must-haves:
It seems like a no brainer, but there are people out there who forgot to consider that they would need a computer to take online classes. Not only do you need a computer, but the computer you have must be updated with the latest anti-virus and spyware software. If you infect the computers of your classmates or the college, you will find yourself in hot water. Whether you choose a laptop or a desktop is up to you, but many students suggest that a laptop is the better of the two.
2. A Comfy Chair
When you take classes online, you’ll be sitting in front of your computer screen for hours. You better make sure that you have a comfy place to sit. Ergonomic chairs are made especially for people like you. If you can’t afford an expensive office chair, consider adding supportive pillows to your couch or bed. You may also find that your armchair and laptop is your classroom. No matter where you choose to sit, be sure to get up at least once every 60 minutes to stretch your legs and roll your neck. If you don’t, you’ll soon find tension building in your shoulders in a most uncomfortable way.
3. A Tablet
If you have a computer, a tablet is not an absolute must, but if you can afford one, a tablet can be invaluable. Much lighter than laptops, your tablet is easy to pop into your bag and take on the go. College students suggest that if you have an Android phone to get an Android-based tablet. If you have an iPhone, get an iPad. Doing this will allow you to utilize the same apps instead of having to spend money over both operating systems. A tablet also makes it easy to download digital books instead of buying expensive, traditional texts.
4. A Keurig
Think you won’t have all-night study sessions because you’re taking courses online? Current students warn that online universities are not the easy way out. In fact, they may be slightly more difficult than traditional universities. A single-serve coffee brewer can quickly become your best friend. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, don’t fear: Your Keurig will brew teas and hot chocolates just as well. A coffee maker is often seen on the list of college essentials at traditional universities; make it an essential item for your online experience.
5. School Supplies
Don’t neglect to buy “normal” school supplies for your online college experience. You’ll need notebooks, pens, pencils, a calculator and other typical school supplies. Many newbies to the online learning environment think that these things aren’t needed. Trust us when we tell you that they are. You’ll be taking notes, writing papers, completing math homework and, at times, mailing assignments to your instructors. Don’t forget to buy at least a few notebooks and some fabulous pens before classes start. You can buy other supplies as necessary throughout the semester.
Attending an online college doesn’t mean that you don’t need the essential supplies. Use this list, provided to you by real students, as a starting guide. As your semester gets underway, you’ll soon discover the things that will help you along your way.
Brett Harris writes reviews for several online colleges that are listed in the online college rankings for 2014.