Five questions to ask yourself before studying online

September 6, 2019

Before you begin an online course for one of our fully online certificates or degrees, it’s important to make sure that you are prepared for success. Although the decision to become an online student is highly personal, we’ve compiled a list of reflective questions to help guide your decision.

Am I prepared to succeed online?

Online learning is different from learning in a traditional classroom setting and is also different from remote learning. With online learning, students are required to learn and complete the necessary coursework but are granted the flexibility of where and when they do so. Without a designated and required time to meet (as is the case with remote learning), fully online students are required to be disciplined and internally driven. Students who succeed in online learning demonstrate good time management skills and are highly self-motivated. It’s also important that students communicate well through writing as most online courses rely heavily on written communication.

Does my schedule allow me the required time to succeed in my online course?

Contrary to popular belief (by some), online learning is not easier than traditional learning. In fact, some students share that an online class requires just as much time and energy as a face-to-face class. In general, be prepared to spend 4 to 15 hours per week on your online course. Learning in an online environment requires you to master the content in a virtual realm, so consider your time constraints, learning style, and personality as you decide if online learning is the best way for you to achieve your goals.

Does my class require me to be on campus?

Your online course should not require you to be on campus. Most courses are asynchronous, meaning that students aren’t required to be “online” at the same time as they are with remote learning. However, some instructors might offer students the opportunity to meet virtually for a specific activity, such as a test review. As always, communication with your instructor is important. Email and call them as needed.

What kind of computer do I need for my online course?

Most online courses will require daily access to a computer; however, you have flexibility in the specific type of computer (or technology) you use for your online course. Students often use a laptop or desktop computer, and some even use their phones. It’s important to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong with your personal computer. It’s important you can access at least one computer (even your phone) daily. Students with a valid Alamo Colleges ID are eligible to purchase discounted computer equipment and low-cost services offered at the SAC Tech Store.

How much will it cost for me to study online?

At the Alamo Colleges, the tuition rate for all Bexar County residents is $99 per credit hour. The fully online E-rate, for in-state students outside of Bexar County, has recently been reduced to $170 per credit hour. The tuition rate for international students is $466 per credit hour. You can submit your free application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) at For more information on federal aid, please visit

For more information

Contact an Enrollment Coach, today!

Enrollment Coaches are here to help you get started with the application process and to guide you through registration for fully online courses this upcoming semester. We can also connect you to an advisor, as well as refer you to services available to online students.

Don't delay, call (210) 485-0110 or email, today!

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About AlamoONLINE

AlamoONLINE represents the range of opportunities for students pursuing degrees, certificates, or other offerings delivered 100% online from Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, San Antonio College, and St. Philip’s College.

At our Alamo Colleges, a 100% online degree, certificate, other offering, or Transfer Advising Guide (TAG) has all courses offered fully online and does not require students to come on campus or to an external site except for required proctored exams or to participate in a clinical, internship, cooperative education, or practicum site.