If you’re considering online college, you might wonder how difficult the work will be. Will you be able to manage it, especially with your work and family obligations? Be assured that if you fall behind, there are plenty of ways that your school can help you and that you can help yourself.

Why Online College Students Struggle

While in the past online college courses have sometimes been viewed as easy, today’s online classes are often more difficult courses taken in the classroom. The workload is more time-consuming, and students may have a difficult time adjusting to an education which requires little interaction with the instructor. Online students are isolated from their professors and fellow students compared to traditional students who learn in the classroom weekly or multiple times a week. In fact, this isolation and estrangement from professors in online courses is one of the biggest problems online college students face, according to The New York Times. Without the engagement students should get in the best traditional courses, online students are more likely to drop out or fail the class. However, prospective students shouldn’t be deterred from achieving their goal of earning a degree just because there’s a chance that they could struggle and fall behind.

What You and Your School Can Do

Naturally, schools don’t want students to get discouraged and drop out of college. They have a vested interest in helping you succeed. If you ever find that you are struggling in your online classes, take advantage of the opportunities available to you. There are many help and tutoring services available for students of online degree programs. Depending on your school and your personal situation, you may have options to seek tutoring online or on campus. Some tutors are students who have succeeded in the subject you are struggling in, while others are educators with college degrees. You can explore technological solutions like web conferences and virtual study groups.

As schools work to help students who are struggling, part of the challenge is identifying students who need help before it is too late in the semester to turn their grades around. Some schools, like community colleges in Mississippi, are now using technology to accomplish this goal. The software program Dropout Detective evaluates student success and pinpoints students who are on track to fail or at risk of dropping out so that they can get the help they need, according to The Clarion-Ledger. By identifying at-risk students early, colleges can better help them succeed.

In addition to seeking help from your school, you can improve your chances for succeeding at online college by keeping organized. If possible, create a designated workspace for your studies. Plan time for schoolwork and stick to your schedule.

There’s no shame in struggling in an online class as long as you get the help you need. By staying organized and taking advantage of your school’s tutoring opportunities, you can succeed in even the most challenging courses.