College Study Tips for Online Classes During Quarantine

August 3, 2020

College campuses are built to provide resources for learning, studying, time management, and they prioritize school work. Now what happens when you move home and all of your classes move online?

Those resources start to feel distant and so does your desire to do the work, but there are ways to make your Coronavirus quarantine classes manageable. If you think back to being a first year college student, there was time spent acclimating to study habits and schedules.

Learning to do your work efficiently at home will require some acclimation as well, but with these tips and tricks, it should be a much shorter transition!

Time Management

Time management is a critical part of maintaining good grades, since everything in college comes with a deadline. While you were in college, you may have had some great time management habits that you can also apply at home, or you may have been that “It’s due tomorrow?!” student. Regardless of how you remembered to do your assignments, there are a few tips you can try to help you keep your home life and school time organized and separated.

Google Calendar

One of the simplest ways to manage your time is with Google Calendar. I know that may sound too easy to be true, but if you schedule assignments, study times, and exams in the exact time frames you need to have them done by then you will always have that schedule with you. You can even set alarms and schedule breaks if you need them to stay focused!


If you are more of a visual planner consider a planning app like MindNode. This app allows you to make mind maps for all of your needs. If you have never seen one a mind map is more of a design than a classic bullet point list. It allows you to jot down ideas and continually grow and branch more ideas from each one. If you were to organize your biology class into a mind map you could put biology at the center and from that you could branch your class project timeline, your study schedule, and your reading assignments in whatever template is most understandable to you. There are tons of time management apps out there so give some a try to find your perfect fit!

At Home Learning Resources

This is a great time to show some appreciation for the internet because you may not have the library or your college tutors, but you do have access to a different version of those things thanks to your keyboard!

Online Library

If you are looking for an online class alternative for getting books and research articles from your college library you are in luck. Most colleges have an online version of their library with access to more articles than they may have in the physical building. Online library access runs differently for each college, so search your school’s library phone number and ask any questions you have about using it. People who work at college library help desks are normally very experienced in online research and they may even have some applications or tips they recommend for working from home based on your study needs. If you still really miss the library you can check your local library, even if you can only get the resources you want online you will still have a comfy and quiet place to focus.


If you find yourself struggling more without the aid of tutors, study groups, and after-class explanations by the professor, don’t worry because you don’t have to give those things up. Instead it all just needs to be adapted to fit your online education. If you are looking for a tutor consider reaching out to your old tutor to see if they will do video lessons or check out some reputable study sites like Chegg. Their tutors are available 24/7 in a variety of topics and if you meet one that fits you well you can plan ahead and request them again the next time you need some guidance. Like in person tutors, online tutoring also costs some money so look around on different sights to consider the costs and the reviews so you can find your best fit.

Virtual Study Groups

If you are missing your old study groups or would like some guidance on a topic from your professor, then try reaching out. Zoom calls, group chats, and even Snapchat groups devoted to classes can be helpful ways to stay in touch and help each other learn!

Find Your Focus

Share Your Calendar

Focusing on your online classes can be difficult due to all of the distractions that come with studying from home. To minimize the distractions caused by family and friends, you can let them know when you are working so they don’t interrupt you or give you reason to leave your school work. Sharing your academic Google calendar with close family and friends is a great way to let them know when you will be busy working so they can respect your focus.

Change Your Environment

Make sure your environment is setup so you can work comfortably and focus without distraction. Sometimes it can be as simple as giving your bedroom that dorm feel.

If your home environment is not conducive to your learning consider finding a better environment. For example, your room may not have a desk so you study on the bed and end up falling asleep. Instead you could study in the office, at the dining room table, or you could even try your local library for some peace and quiet.

Limit Screen Time

Lastly let’s discuss screen time and procrastination. We all do it, a quick glance at our phone turns into an hour on social media, an hour that should have been spent studying. To avoid getting stuck in this loop every time you do school work consider silencing your phone and putting it out of sight. If that doesn’t work there are a variety of apps that play music to help you focus or even reward you for not touching your phone, like Forest. The Forest app grows a virtual forest when you don’t touch your phone, and the app donates to planting real trees!

For more on maintaining a healthy mentality and lifestyle in college during quarantine, check out our other article.

Just remember that working on your academics from home makes you no less capable of achieving your goals and if you face any problems the internet and your peers may hold the answers. So stay organized, stay connected, and stay focused!

Photo courtesy of Bruno Cervera.

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