Summer studying on beachSchool’s out for summer! Well, maybe for children, and even for many traditional college students … but not for you. You still have work to do. But the kids want to go to the pool, you’ve planned a vacation trip and yet you still have school assignments to complete. What is a 100% online college student to do?!

If you’re still working and your schedule is the same, then your summer routine shouldn’t be much different. But if you’re home all day with the kids or on vacation, there are several things you can do to help you get through the summer, while also staying on top of your coursework.

Set aside time

Whether at home or on the road during the summer months, make sure to set aside enough time each day to complete readings, discussions and assignments. Consider waiting for your spouse to get home from work or the kids to go to bed before taking time to complete your schoolwork.

Looking for a more creative solution? Set aside time each day for the entire family to do schoolwork together. Buy the children workbooks or educational apps on their devices and have them study subjects they will be starting in the fall while you work on your coursework. It not only gives you time to study, it also keeps the children’s minds engaged and learning, during summer vacation. You might even ask the kids to quiz you, or show you flash cards as a way to study … anything to turn a distraction into something helpful.

You’ll also need to find a good place to study, somewhere you can really focus on reading and writing. Organize the area to be as free of potential distractions (cell phones, televisions, tablets and games) as possible. This will ensure you maximize your study time.

If you’re traveling, use that time to catch up on your assigned reading or to prepare for that big paper due soon. Are you waiting at the airport, stuck on a plane or travelling as a passenger on a road trip? These are all perfect times to study, freeing you up for more fun later.

And don’t forget about setting goals! When you sit down to tackle your coursework for the day, what is your goal? Is it to finish a paper that’s due? To complete discussion posts? Read a chapter in your textbook? Whatever you need to do, make sure you set and complete a specific goal before taking on something else. Accomplishing goals, even small ones, can boost your confidence and mood.

Avoid multi-tasking

It may sound like a good idea to multi-task and work on schoolwork while you’re with the children at the park, the pool or some other summer activity, but that’s not the case. Multi-tasking splits your attention making you easily be distracted. Your full attention is necessary to maximize the benefit of what you’re learning.
And studying by the pool is not as romantic as it sounds. I know sitting poolside or on the beach doing coursework while the kids play may sounds like the perfect way to do it all, but may not be everything it’s cracked up to be. Here are some reasons why:

  • Hot summer days can put your laptop at risk of overheating
  • Glare from the sun can make it hard to see your screen
  • There may be no WiFi
  • Access to power may be limited
  • Water hazard: Kids splashing around or checking on what you’re doing with dripping wet hair, open beverages in proximity, carrying your laptop around the water — all set ups for potential disaster

Essential apps

If you are going to be out and about with your tablet or phone and want to keep up with your school work, here are a few recommended apps to consider:

Bb Studenti – Blackboard Learn offers a new app that allows you to take the Blackboard portal with you anywhere. Students can complete assignments, quizzes and even discussion posts from mobile devices. You can also check grades, access your Google Drive or Dropbox, and even Skype or video conference from the Bb Student app.

Cloud storageii – Cloud storage (via Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and others) allows you to save your important school work, documents, assignments, and more in a place that can be accessed from any device. If you store everything on your laptop, you need your laptop whenever you need to work on assignments. Cloud storage allows you to work on your assignments anywhere, whether on your laptop, phone, tablet or any public computer at the library. If you forgot to submit a report that is due but you’re sitting at the beach, you can still submit it from your phone with access to your cloud storage.

EasyBibiii – Papers need citations and bibliographies. With EasyBib, all you have to do is scan the book’s bar code or enter the title and select which style you need (MLA, APA, etc.). The app will put it all together and allow you to export or email the information.

iStudiez Proiv – When you, or even just the kids, are on vacation, it’s easy to lose track of time. iStudiez Pro is an online planner you can use to make schedules, keep track of grades and input assignment deadlines in one easy interactive calendar. It also lets you sync the data across various devices, so you always know what’s going on.

Now that you’re prepared for a summer vacation complete with fun, sun and successfully completing your coursework, don’t forget to pack your textbooks and sunscreen. Take advantage of your family’s time off, as well as the flexibility of earning your degree from a 100% online university.

Brandon Swenson

About Brandon Swenson

Brandon Swenson, Senior Communications Specialist, is on Grantham's editorial board. He understands the benefits of educationally-oriented programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill having earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City toward the end of his nearly two decades of service in the United States Marine Corp.  

About The Author

Brandon Swenson, communications manager, is on Grantham University’s editorial board. A veteran and college graduate himself, he understands the benefits and intricacies of government education programs, such as the post-9/11 GI Bill. Brandon earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City toward the end of his nearly two-decade tour in the United States Marine Corps.