Making the decision to get your associate’s degree online can be a daunting task, and actually getting the degree can be even more difficult. It’s not everyday you make what could be a life altering decision, and the responsibility that comes with such a decision can at first seem overwhelming. So how do you step up to the plate and motivate yourself to see your decision through to the end? Here are a few tips that might help you in staying motivated while getting your online associate’s degree.

Getting an associate’s degree online can be an eye-opening experience. For some it will be the first taste of higher education learning and it will probably take a little time to become accustomed to the format of the classes, studies, and education as a whole. You should try to be realistic when understanding that this may take a little time. You won’t necessarily know how to do everything right away, but you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Instead, use it as a motivator to learn and be proud of yourself as you discover new ways and techniques of learning.

Plan to devote at least two-years to attaining your online associate’s degree. Some students might be able to decrease the time it takes to get an associate’s degree by bringing previous college level credits from high school or other degree programs or by squeezing in extra credit hours. Others might find that it takes a bit longer if they are planning to work while getting their degree or have family or other commitments. It can be a good idea to set a timeframe for yourself ahead of time so that you can commit and work toward finishing in your allotted time. Setting a timeline in which to complete your education and then gauging your progress by this benchmark can be a great motivator.

Similar to setting a timeframe for completion of your degree, you can set other goals for yourself when it comes to your education and coursework that can be great motivators. Hitting a certain grade point average can be a great motivator for the long term, but often the achievement of shorter-term goals is needed to keep you motivated from week to week or even day to day. Having assignments completed ahead of time, working ahead to get a leg up on long term projects, or reading ahead by a chapter or two every week can be good goals to keep yourself striving for excellence.

Disciplining yourself when it comes to getting your associate’s degree online, doesn’t mean give yourself a spanking if you do poorly upon a test. When it comes to discipline and getting an education online, this aspect of staying motivated is probably one of the most difficult. While understanding timeframes, expectations, requirements and goals for your education are all important, they mean nothing without the self-discipline to forge ahead against adversity. If you can’t push yourself to commit time to studying, completing assignments, and working on projects, it may be the demise of your online educational career.

As many online students end up doing a large portion of their work from home, finding the discipline needed to sit down and study quietly can be difficult. With the phone ringing, the television beckoning, the radio blasting, the internet just a click or two away, and the refrigerator calling, there are a multitude of distractions just waiting to pull you from your schoolwork. This will be the time you need the discipline to focus upon your studies. Look for quiet places to work, preferably ones devoid of distractions, and try to pick times to study when you are fresh and alert. This is often easier said than done, but developing and sticking to a routine can be helpful in maintaining the discipline needed to get your associate’s degree online.