5 Tips for Success: How to Succeed as an Online Urban Planning Student

At this point, we’ve all accepted that we will have to live with Covid-19 for what seems to be an eternity. And as a result, education has gone online. This article is intended to help Urban Planning Students cope with the changes on-campus Urban Planning Programs are undergoing through the transition to virtual platforms. The following list shares the secrets to online learning success from a recent Urban and Regional Planning Master’s Program graduate.

  1. Make a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Pick a time of day when your brain works best. My brain works best in the morning so I made sure I cleared my mornings for study time. 

  2. Find a study space that allows you to concentrate. Creating a study environment tailored to your needs will help you use your time efficiently. This may be in the form of cushioned seats, noise cancelling earphones, access to food during breaks, studying music, etc. Personally, I study best in a quiet coffee shop, facing a wall rather than the entrance, while listening to a YouTube study music soundtrack. Everyone is different, so find what works best for you. 

  3. Don’t procrastinate. Trying to turn in work at the last minute can be a disaster especially if you have unexpected technical difficulties. Some professors will not be understanding. Turn in assignments prior to the deadline. An added benefit of completing work early is that you can get feedback from your professors and make edits prior to turning in the final draft. 

  4. Get to know your professors! Send emails, attend virtual office hours, ask questions about the text and lectures. Office hours are a great, yet underutilized resource. More individualized guidance will help improve your work. Also, developing a relationship with your professor will be imperative when it is time to ask for recommendations to apply for internships and jobs.

  5. Lastly, build up your online student network. Get to know your fellow classmates by responding to their discussion posts, share information, and ask questions. Many of your fellow classmates will be working in your field or are already working in your field, so they hold a wealth of knowledge that can be helpful when it comes time for your job search.

As an Urban Planning student, virtual learning has its set of challenges. However, fear not! Equipped with the advice listed in this blog, students can survive and thrive in the virtual education system. 

Jane Turner is a recent graduate of the University of Florida Online Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program and received her Bachelors from the University of California, Berkeley. She currently resides in South Korea where she is a teacher and hopes to begin her career in Urban and Regional Planning once she moves back to the US in the near future. 

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