Getting the Most Out of Winter Session

by | Dec 05, 2022
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By Will Kanter, Marketing Associate

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has offered four-week, full-credit online classes over winter break since 2014.  These courses are an invaluable way to boost your GPA, get yourself on track to graduate early, and overall, reap the benefits of studying remotely on your own terms. Between holiday celebrations and travel plans, this season can be hectic enough without factoring in more school, so here are some tips to help you make the most of a Winter Session course.

Tip #1 – Keep Track of Deadlines

Mark a calendar (physical or digital) with the due dates for your assignments, quizzes, and exam to prevent them from sneaking up on you. Do this before finalizing any travel plans so that you don’t cause any conflicts for yourself. Tell your friends and family when you will be able to spend time with them and when you will need to study.

Tip #2 – Create the Ideal Workspace

One of the best things about remote learning is that it can be done just about anywhere with a laptop and internet connection, whether you’re at home, the library, or your favorite coffee shop. Find the lighting, room temperature, and noise level that work best for you – some might prefer total silence, while others benefit from listening to music. Put your phone on silent so that you will not be distracted while in class or studying.

Tip #3 – Remember your Priorities

Because Winter Session courses take place over a shortened timeframe, it is imperative that you use your time wisely to get work done with maximum efficiency.  If you have one assignment due tomorrow and a quiz next week, your focus should be on the more imminent deadline, but that doesn’t mean putting off studying for the quiz until the night before. Once you are ready for tomorrow, look ahead and figure out what you can do to better prepare yourself for next week.

Tip #4 – It’s Okay to Ask for Help

When you are not interacting with a professor, teaching assistant, or your peers face-to-face, it can be easy to forget that they are resources upon whom you can call. Whether you need advice on a technical issue or the coursework itself, your instructor is only an email away, and they will appreciate you reaching out sooner rather than later. You may not be sharing a classroom with them, but that doesn’t mean you are alone.

Tip #5 – Be Good to Yourself

Hold yourself accountable for getting your assignments done, but also recognize when you need a break. Go for a walk, take a nap, or eat a snack, then return to work and see what difference it makes. Plan ahead, focus on getting one thing done at a time, and ask for help when you need it to make your Winter Session course an experience you won’t regret.

The study habits and time management skills that you develop taking an online class can be applied both to other classes and long-term career paths – and there’s no time like the upcoming winter term to start practicing them!

For more online study resources, check out this Illinois Online blog post.