This is a Guest Post presented by College.com

While pursuing a degree online can be convenient and rewarding, by its very nature it is far more solitary than an education in a more traditional setting. You don’t need to become a recluse while pursuing a higher degree, though, when so many options exist to incorporate a more university-style experience into your online education.

College life is all about connection with like-minded people through clubs and activities.

One of the primary ways to accomplish this is to seek out local groups that favor similar interests to your field of study. For example, if your degree has a focus on writing or literature, check out the local book clubs or writers’ groups for opportunities to share your passion with others. Local astronomy clubs, nature enthusiasts and other groups welcome new members and can supplement your studies. There are groups out there for everyone, so check the bulletin board at your local library, or listings of interest in your local paper, to discover the perfect venue that will supplement your education. If all else fails and you can’t find what you’re looking for, start your own club. Chances are if it interests you, there will be others who are just as eager to be involved.

Remember to stay active!

An online education means a lot of time spent in front of the computer, so make some time in your schedule to get up and get moving. A great way to meet people and learn a new skill at the same time is to attend a class at your local YMCA or health club. Work your stiff muscles with some Thai kickboxing or aerobics classes and enjoy shaping your body while you socialize. If you love team sports, look into local clubs or groups for meeting times. If you don’t like to play, you can always attend a game and indulge in that old college pastime of supporting the team.

Nothing says “college” more than study sessions at the library.

Try organizing a study date for other online students to attend at your local library or coffee shop. Your instructor will be able to provide you with a class list, or may be able to email students and make them aware that this opportunity exists. Most likely other students will enjoy the companionship and the chance to discuss topics that are covered in class.

College also offers a chance to get involved and help others. However, it`s difficult to come by these extra-curricular opportunities when you are an online student. Local charities and soup kitchens are always happy for volunteers and you can also search online for ways to get involved locally and make a difference. Activities that give back to the community will always reflect well on your future resume and add depth and substance to your academic achievements. Providing much-needed help in the community can be a valuable addition to your future career, as well as giving you a great feeling of accomplishment.

Using some of these suggestions, students of online colleges can have the best of both worlds. They can study and earn a degree on their terms, while still enjoying the kinds of social opportunities that come with a traditional college education.

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