7 mistakes that online students make – and how to avoid them


27th Jan 2017


Online study is exciting, challenging and extremely rewarding.

However, before you consider starting a life-changing degree programme it’s a great idea to educate yourself about some of the common mistakes that online students make – and how to avoid them!


1. Problems with time management

Managing your time is a vital skill for online and part-time students, especially if you also have work and family commitments. Although our courses are part-time, we still require 10 to 15 hours of study per week and when you’re focusing on school-runs and office projects it’s easy to forget about an important assignment deadline. To avoid making this mistake, always make sure you take careful note of your deadlines and read our blog to discover how best to manage your time.


2. Forgetting to make use of resources

As a University of Essex Online student, all of your e-textbooks (plus access to the University of Essex’s Albert Sloman Library) are included in the cost of your tuition fees. However, when you’re given an assignment or discussion forum task that you feel particularly passionate about, it’s easy to forget to use resources or references to support your argument. To avoid this, make sure you always use critical thinking, reference a wide variety of resources and don’t forget to read our 15 foolproof tips for writing a great assignment.


3. Struggling alone with a problem

Your dedicated Student Support team is your first point of contact and your mentors throughout your studies. If you’re having any problems at all—academic, financial or personal—they are there to help you out. Just reach out as soon as you can and they’ll be able to offer advice and support. The team are committed to answering emails and messages within 24 hours (excluding weekends and UK bank holidays), so you’ll never have to wait too long for a resolution to your problem.


4. Misunderstanding assessment requirements

All of our students are assessed using written work (assignments, discussion forums and journal reports) and these pieces are all marked by your module tutor according to a strict set of marking criteria. Therefore, it’s vital that you understand the requirements of the task before you start. This should include the word count, deadline and any guidelines around the topic or area you should cover. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt, contact your tutor to get clarification.


5. Losing motivation

This is very common when you’re midway through a course that lasts several years; it can sometimes feel like you’re stuck on a never-ending treadmill of reading, assignments and lectures. Try to remind yourself why you’re doing your course by reading back over your earlier assignments and personal statement to try to recapture that initial spark of enthusiasm.


6. Underestimating the course

Achieving an undergraduate or postgraduate degree requires a lot of hard work and dedication; that’s why it’s such a recognised and valued qualification. Don’t worry though; our in-house Admissions team carefully check the qualifications and abilities of each person before admitting them onto the course. So if you’re on the course, we know you can do it!


7. Not researching the course or institution

There’s no denying it; there are a lot of courses available on the internet that aren’t genuine or validated. And in some situations, students don’t research their institution thoroughly or they are tricked into paying a great deal of money for a qualification that isn’t recognised. This is definitely not the case with a University of Essex Online. Our courses are recognised by numerous independent organisations meaning that you have nothing to fear!


Inspired to study online? Download our prospectus today.