How to Get Started in Criminal Justice: Part 2

Tips for Taking an Online Criminal Justice Class :

1 - Make a Daily Commitment: Designate a specific time each day for studying using your favorite calendar software. Mark it as an ongoing daily repeat. If the best time for you to study is in the morning, designate an hour for studying at the same time, every morning. If the best time for you to study is at night, choose a repeating time slot each night for your academic pursuits. Online, it doesn't matter when you study. The key is daily maintenance and consistency. Good study habits are important.

Dr. Miller also advises every online student to “treat your online class as a job.” If you do so, you’ll find completing your online class is not a big deal. If you don’t, and save study time for “whenever you have free time,” you’ll fall behind.

2 - Writing Skills Are Essential: Assess your writing ability. Not knowing how to write well while enrolled in an online program can be devastating. Writing is the primary method of communication in an online class. If you need improvement, take a college prep writing class, like Developmental Writing , before enrolling in a for-credit class.

3 - Statistics, Statistics, Statistics: Almost every criminal justice course will require that you understand statistics. Taking a statistics course early in your college career is important, whether it’s an online statistics class or one available on-campus. If you have a good understanding of statistics, you will be able to effectively work your way through academic studies while in college, and policy reports while on the job.

4 - Slackers Take Note: You Are Not Anonymous while Taking an Online Class. Even though you are taking a class anywhere, anytime – don’t confuse an online course’s flexibility as indication that you will be able to slide under the radar. In fact, an online education in many ways is more personalized than one in an on-campus classroom. If you under-perform on assignments and don’t contribute with real effort to online discussion boards, it will be noted and recorded. This is particularly important after you have transferred your college credits earned elsewhere and enrolled in an accredited online college or university like American Intercontinental University, Kaplan University or University of Phoenix.

While online college course provider StraighterLine has one-on-one tutoring for each course it offers, it doesn't have required discussion boards. The attention is on the individual alone. On the other hand, once you transfer those credits to a college where you ultimately plan on graduating, you will most likely be required to take part in some sort of discussion board for the online classes you take. In an on-campus classroom setting, you might be able to get away with not participating, but you won’t be able to hide from a lack of participation online. If quality participation is considered as part of your grade, don’t be surprised if your grade suffers when your own (or lack of) comments are taken into account.

Keep in mind, a professor can use online tools to track time spent on tests and time spent in the virtual classroom, as well as the duration and quality of the participation you have on a discussion board. Dr. Miller advises that the more a student interacts while taking an online class, the better grades they will get.

On a related side note: If you plan on paying for college (beyond those courses you've taken and transferred from low cost college course provider StraighterLine) through a Pell Grant, you are required to have good attendance for all your classes, including online courses. Professors are required to report your attendance records.