Attending bible college via any medium comes with inherent challenges, but online bible colleges present some especially significant challenges for students. While these colleges offer flexibility and affordability, they don’t provide the same atmosphere as on-campus programs do. This isn’t to say that you should seek out an on-campus bible college, but simply to point out that online students should be prepared for those additional challenges. Here’s how to survive the first semester of online bible college.
Step 1: Maintain a Regular Study Schedule
As helpful as the flexibility of online bible college is, most students do best when they have a regular schedule to follow. Design a study schedule that works for your situation, but make sure you have a fixed schedule that you follow.
Sit down with your coursework at the same time each day, and you’ll effectively train yourself to study then. Avoid the temptation to vary your studying, and you’ll find that the discipline pays off.
Step 2: Participate Fully in Forum and Video Discussions
Many online bible college programs have a discussion component that’s run either via forum or video chat. Make sure you participate fully in this part of your courses, for this is one area that you get out of the work as much as you put in. Even if you do the bare minimum to get a good grade, you still won’t benefit from discussions as much as you would if you engaged other students.
Sometimes engaging other students online can feel stiff and forced, but participate as much as you’re able to. Share insights that others might not have, and everyone in the class will be better for it. Also, make sure to read through your classmates’ comments — you’d listen to them if they were in the same classroom as you.
Step 3: Find Fellowship Among Local Adults
The biggest aspect of on-campus learning that’s missing in an online bible college is the collegiate aspect of a college. A christian college can be an especially beneficial environment to grow and mature in, as fellow Christians are able to continually build one another up in the environment. As important as video chats and forums are for online students, they ultimately aren’t a sufficient substitute for collegiate learning and growing.
To find the collegiate environment, joining a meaningful fellowship of adults in your local area. Look for other young adults who are going through college, or an older bible study if you’re a non-traditional student. Fellowshipping with others who are in similar life stages can give you that safe environment of encouragement which is so meaningful.