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The Online Student Experience – The Good and Bad

The Online Student Experience – The Good and Bad

Online student catching up on some study
Online student studying in her home. Image source: CSU Image

Both residential students and online distance students have their own challenges and difficulties to deal with.

I’ve had the opportunity to experience both situations and for me personally, online is much more challenging but at the same time very accommodating for my other life commitments.

Here are the good and the bad of being an online student.

Time management

Time management is possibly the greatest challenge with being a distance student. Lectures are not scheduled at specific times and nothing is compulsory.

No one is motivating you to study and your environment might be far more distracting than an on campus surrounding.


Distance students often feel like we get an overload of information but don’t have enough time to cover it all or absorb the information.

This could be because we have the information given to us in varying ways whether on campus students simply have lectures and anything necessary is provided in that lecture.

Because we don’t have lectures we’re also pretty afraid of missing some important information, so often we do have to work harder at checking all the material and making sure we don’t overlook anything.


On campus students are surrounded by peers and come face to face with lecturers every day. This provides support for residential students that online students have to do without.

If we have a question, no matter how small, it requires getting onto your laptop, emailing your lecturer and waiting a couple hours for a reply. In a classroom the question would be answered in a matter of seconds of course.

The flip side

Living off campus has its own set off stress and being a distance student just adds more stress. But there’s a flip side to this.

As an online student, I have a lot more flexibility and independence that residential students don’t experience. This allows me to work three jobs and volunteer with three organisations while studying full time.

If I was a residential student, I’m certain I would not be able to find the time to fulfil those commitments.

Doing online study is not for everyone, but you can always switch to being a residential student before census date if you find it doesn’t suit you!

This is an SSAF funded initiative
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