In college many advanced courses will have prerequisites to them – that is to say that there are other courses or accomplishments you must meet before you can take them. Just as it is true that not every person is built for a traditional college education, it is also true that not every person is built for an online education as well. There are certain things you should have, and personal features that you must possess to some degree (or be willing to cultivate) in order to do well in an online education.
Written Communication Skills
In a traditional classroom setting, you are able to communicate with the professor through a variety of medium in order to make your point and your case for a good grade. You can speak well, you can participate in class discussions, raising your hand to be called on, you can give impeccable presentations before the class for your projects and yes, you can write as well. In an online education environment, most likely 100% of your communication with the professor will be in the written form. Through e-mails, chats, discussion board posts, or documents submitted as assignments online, that will be the only thing that the professor has to grade you by, so it should be pretty good. If your written communication skills are lacking in any way, fortunately it is a skill you can cultivate by taking some writing classes first thing during your online education career.
Time Management Skills
In a traditional classroom environment you receive many regular reminders about your work and when it is due. Your professor will notify you the class before you have a test, your fellow classmates will also likely give you indications of important dates and projects coming up simply by raising their hands in class and asking the teacher about it. You can learn from the mistakes and questions of your classmates and by repeated personal interactions with your instructor. In an online environment, you will lose most of that interaction. It is education that is largely in a vacuum with just you and the professor and if you do not take care to keep your schedule of due dates for papers, reports, and tests in your head and begin your work on time or adjust your studying accordingly, you will pay the price in the form of a lower grade.
Basic Computer Skills
It is nearly impossible to get a degree even in a traditional educational setting without using a computer at some minimal level, but, obviously, with an online education you will have to have more than the most simple computer skills. Knowing how to open and use a document, save files, browse the Internet and uploading/downloading files are some of the things that will be requisite for success in your classes. Again, if you lack these skills, you can acquire them with study or with a class or two taken at your local community college or adult education center.