How To Be Successful With Online School in 2021

Welcome to this post about how to be successful with online school!

COVID-19 has impacted every part of our lives over the last year or so. No surprise, when school rolled around again last fall, many kids found themselves forced to attend their school online.

I myself found myself in a similar situation. Our school allowed students to be in-person 2 days a week, and online for the remaining 3.

We’ve been in school now for two weeks at the time that I’m writing this. Needless to say, there’s been some major kinks in the system that still need to worked out. To make things even more confusing, it seems like every teacher is doing things differently.

The combination of these two factors has made school very stressful and tough to navigate for the last two weeks for me. But, I’m starting to get a grip on things and wanted to share my tips on how to be successful in online school this year.

First of all, you need to realize that everyone is in a different situation this year. Therefore, the tips I lay out in this post aren’t going to work for everyone. With that said, hopefully you can take something away front his post and find a system that works for you.

Quick Note About Me

I just wanted to mention a little about me before we dive in. I consider myself fairly smart and currently have a 4.1 GPA as a high school senior. School comes easy to me honestly. I don’t say to this brag, but to build my credibility. The stuff I’m about to share comes from my experience in the American public education system.

How To Be Successful In Any Kind Of School

How To Be Successful With Online School

I believe that any student can be successful in school, no matter how smart you are. When I say successful, I’m talking about getting A’s, B’s and sometimes C’s. You don’t get a D or an F because you’re not smart. You get a D or an F because you don’t try.

If you show up, complete all of your work on time, and put forth some effort, you should get A’s and B’s no problem, even if you don’t consider yourself smart. I don’t believe good grades come from how smart you are. They come from being motivated, not lazy, and not procrastinating.

This is just how the American public education system works. The majority of your grade is made up of assignments that were graded for completion, not correctness.

Some of you may be reading this and think that you do all of those things, yet you still get bad grades. Well my response would be, “Are you really doing all of those things?” Maybe you turn in your assignments, but you do it a few days late. Or maybe you turn in your assignments with copying and pasting all of the answers. You’re trying, but you’re not trying hard enough. If you want good grades than you need to be willing to put in the work.

Now, I don’t want to come across the wrong way here. Yes, school comes easy for me. Yes, I understand that it doesn’t come easy for everyone. Yet, I still believe what I just said is true.

So often, I see kids showing up late to class everyday, constantly turning assignments in late, or not paying attention in class. It doesn’t matter if these kids are the smartest kids in the world, they will still get bad grades.

So to end my little rant here, I believe that any kid, regardless of their intelligence level, can get A’s, B’s and C’s if they do the following:

  1. Show up to class.
  2. Complete their assignments on time.
  3. Put forth some effort.

How To Be Organized In School

The key to showing up to class and completing assignments on time is organization.

How To Show Up To Class On Time

Let’s talk about showing up to class first. This became 10x harder this year with online school. Our school actually has 3 different schedules! There’s one that we follow Monday/Wednesday, one that we follow Tuesday/Thursday, and one that we follow Friday! But, we also have to remember which days are in-person and which classes are zooms.

With all of this to navigate, I created a Google Calendar for myself that has my whole week’s worth of classes laid out. Here’s what that looks like:

How To Be Successful With Online School

This schedule repeats every week on my calendar, so I don’t have to worry about writing all of this done again and again.

Notice that I have the times listed on each of the classes so I know exactly when I need to be at each class. I also have the word Zoom in the title if that class is on Zoom rather than at the school.

I also have the link to the Zoom meeting right on my calendar if I click on the event. This allow me to go directly from my calendar to the meeting.

How To Be Successful With Online School

Also what I love about Google Calendar is the ability to delete an event. For example, if one of my teachers canceled their Zoom meeting, I could hop on Google Calendar and cancel that event on my calendar.

That way I don’t have to remember whether or not I have a zoom meeting. I just know that if they event is still on my calendar, I have to show up!

How To Turn In Assignment On Time

Behind showing up to class, the next key to success is turning in assignments on time. This is where people tend to fall off the wagon.

I think the most common issue here is that someone forgot about the assignment or its due date. This is definitely one of the harder things to manage with dozens of assignments coming at you each week.

That’s why I have created a note on my phone where I write down all of my school assignments. This is what it looks like:

How To Be Successful With Online School

First thing that you’ll notice is that I have my classes numbered in order and in bold text. Then, below them I have the assignments that are due for that class in the order in which I need to do them.

I also have the days listed of when that class is in session, when assignments are due for that class, and any other notes about that class that I need to remember.

This note is synced on both my phone and my iPad. This allows me to manage my work on whatever device I am on. Having both my assignments and my calendar digital and synced with each my phone and iPad has been a huge game-changer when it comes to success in school for me.

I used to use a psychical planner, but I found them to be a bit too inconvenient. Whenever I needed to reference something or write something in my planner, I had to pull it out. I hated having to pull it out of my backpack every time I needed to do something with it. On top of that, if I ever didn’t have my backpack with me, I was screwed!

That’s why I started using a digital note as my planner instead. That way I have it wherever I go and I can access it a lot easier. You don’t want your planner to be inconvenient, otherwise you’ll never plan! So find a system that works for you.

How To Put Forth Some Effort

Now that you have the first two items taken care of, the last key to success in school is putting forth some effort. This is when the A, B, and C students are separated.

If show up to class, do your assignments on time, but DON’T put in effort, you’ll probably get C’s.

If you do all 3, you should get B’s.

Well then how do you get A’s? You have two options. The first option is to be smart. But, just because you aren’t smart now doesn’t mean that you can’t be smart in the future! The other option is to put in a TON of effort. I’ve seen some dumb kids get A’s just because they take loads of notes and study all the time.

How To Get Smarter

First things first, let’s talk about how to get smarter. This is the whole point of school! So we’re sort of presented with this interesting dilemma. We need to be smart in order to be successful in school. Yet, we need to be successful in school in order to be smart.

This might make it seem like you’ll never be able to become smart. But, that’s certainly not true! You see, there’s a common misconception that good grades mean that you’re smart. This is true most of the time, but not all of the time.

Remember what I said earlier, you can get A’s if you either are smart, or you put forth a TON of effort. So if you’re not as smart as you’d like to be, you’ll need to find a way to get smarter. How do you do this? Well you need more school!

How To Increase Your Effort

If you’re not doing well in school, I would suggest increasing your learning efforts outside of school. This means reading books, watching educational videos, or doing practice problems! There’s an infinite amount resources available out there!

If you do those things outside of school, you’ll progress a lot more quickly than the rest of your peers. But, you also need to keep working hard in school as well.

Make sure that you’re taking notes and asking questions. This becomes especially important this year as most of us are learning online. That’s why it’s a good idea for you to write down questions you don’t have or something you don’t understand so you can ask a teacher about it later.

A Quick Note On Procrastination and Motivation

I think one of the most common issues that plagues students and even adults is procrastination and motivation. Quite honestly, there’s not something that I could tell you that will magically fix this issue in your life.

Motivation and drive is something that you’re born with in most cases or maybe you acquire it along the way. Here’s something you can try to do to become more motivated. But, I do think that there is something you can do about procrastination.

The problem with procrastination is an instant-gratification mindset. People want to enjoy themselves now, and push their work off to a later date. I’ve always been a believer of getting my work done now, and enjoying myself later. Yes, you have to delay your enjoyment, but you get to enjoy it more without the stress of having to finish something before a deadline.

With that said, motivation really just depends on the day, especially for teenagers. One day you might feel like getting work done, another day you might feel like doing absolutely nothing. Whichever mindset you’re in, I would say embrace it. If you’re on a roll and motivated, keep working! Otherwise, enjoy your downtime and relaxation and get back to work whenever you can!

For more on the topic of success, check out our other posts.

Success Scale

I wanted to take everything in this post and turn it into one grading scale that you can use. Hopefully this will help you determine what you need to do in order to get the grades you want.

F = Not even showing up to class

D = Showing up, but not doing assignments

C = Showing up, doing assignments, but not putting forth effort

B = Showing up, doing assignments, and putting in an average amount of effort

A = Showing up, doing assignments, putting in either a TON of effort, or being smart

The Takeaway

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it taught you something that you can implement in your own life to become more successful. Remember the 3 keys to success in school:

  1. Show up to class.
  2. Complete your assignments on time.
  3. Put forth some effort.

If you follow those 3 tips, you’ll be successful in no time even if you’re not smart!

Next Steps

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4 thoughts on “How To Be Successful With Online School in 2021

  1. Alan

    Hmm interesting choice of subjects! You guys have tax and accounting at school? Nice! Psychology too…

    1. Jacob

      Yeah those are some of the more interesting classes that I get to take since I’m a senior this year. Most of those are dual enrollment ones as well that are run through a university.

  2. Robin

    I think I will share this with my students. You’ve done a good job breaking down steps and suggesting approaches. A significant number of people tell others they need to improve but never give the “how” steps. Helpful article!

    1. Jacob

      Thank you very much!

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