5 Tips for Making Time for Your Online NNU Degree


Debbie Coutts

Here are five tips to help you find time for your academic pursuits:

1)   Make room on your plate: The main reason adult students don’t succeed in pursuing their academic goals is they don’t make room for their studies. If you’re adding in something as significant as a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts degree, then something else has to give. Take an honest look at the 24 hours you’re given each day.  Then prioritize. Maybe you watch less TV or drop out of your fantasy football league for a bit. You decide.

2)   Take advantage of your commute: If you spend a significant amount of time each day on a subway, bus, ferry, or train, this can be an ideal time for you to work on your studies. Get into the habit now of always carrying something to read with you, so you’re able to make the most of your downtime. Planning ahead can really help you maximize your clock and calendar.

3)   Improve your skills. If you read fast and have excellent computer keyboarding skills, you’ll save significant time on your graduate studies. If not, websites like typingweb.com offer free and fun ways to improve your keyboarding skills. Peruse the web for tips on increasing your reading speed and comprehension or consider purchasing a software program, like www.7speedreading.com. Small improvements in reading and keyboarding can really make a difference.

4)   Bring your family into the equation. Have an honest talk with your family members. While they are your ultimate priority, let them know why your studies are also important to you, and to them. Many of our students have found it helpful to carve out a set time each day when they can be undisturbed. Maybe that’s after your children have gone to bed or before your spouse wakes up. Strategize with your family so you can come up with a plan that enhances—not diminishes—your family life. When you graduate, everyone will feel invested in your accomplishment—and you’ll be setting a great example for your family.

5)   Make space. By this I mean physical, dedicated space—preferably one with a door—where you can have your books, supplies, computer, etc., all in one place. This will save you time and energy. Maybe that nook under the stairs would work—or that spare bedroom that’s been jammed with your old junk. Regardless, find a study space where you can readily access your books and notes. It can make all the difference!

Bonus Tips

  • Bonus tip #1: Attend a commencement ceremony each year during your studies. There’s something powerful about seeing other people walk across a graduation stage and shake our president’s hand that can motivate you to finish your degree—and even more when you know one of those graduates!
  • Bonus tip #2: Turn to your classmates for support. At NNU, you’ll have adult colleagues all over the country and even around the world who are experiencing similar challenges. Turn to them when the going gets tough.
  • Bonus tip #3: Keep inspirational quotes handy. Snag them off of Facebook. Search for them on the web. Turn to the Bible. Here’s a good one: “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
  • Bonus tip #4: Draw motivation from student-success stories, like that of Pastor Debbie Coutts, who is pursuing her graduate theology degree from NNU. Take a look at Debbie’s story – it can be your story, too!

Remember, at NNU your success comes first. We’re here to support and encourage you. If you have questions or problems, just ask. That’s what we’re here for.

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