Returning to school to earn an LL.M. degree can complicate your work and family schedules. Online classes, while offering flexibility to study when you want, can also be a challenge, especially for those who have been away from school for many years. Prepare your schedule for studying law online with these helpful tips and you’ll be on the path for successfully earning your LL.M.
Create a study plan early.
Prepare your schedule well before classes begin. You may choose to map out the year in a calendar, or create a study timetable. Your study plan may be printed or digital. However you choose to format your study plan, start by looking at your semester’s syllabi and map out study times to fit the demands of the class.
Schedule large blocks, preferably two hours, of study time.
You may not always use all this time, but it’s better to plan for it than to find yourself in a time crunch right before a big project or exam.
It’s also important to add in time for breaks, work assignments, travel, and personal events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and major holidays.
Reserve time for yourself.
Professional school is a major commitment, especially on top of a career and personal life. It’s important to schedule time for yourself. It helps to avoid burnout and stress. A day at the beach, movie night with friends, or a daily walk by yourself—you define what “me time” means. Just make sure you’ve got it in your schedule!
Set study goals.
Be specific as possible. This is where your study plan can really come in handy. Set a goal for each study session that relates to a subject, assignment or upcoming exam. Your goals should be realistic and flexible. You want to hold yourself accountable to your goals, but you certainly don’t want your study plan to add stress to your schedule!
Keep track of your progress.
Tracking your studying against your plan will help you stay on schedule, alleviate test anxiety, and identify opportunities for downtime or catch-up if needed. Your study plan should be flexible, so if you find that your original study goals were unrealistic, adjust your schedule accordingly to get you back on track.
Get friends and family involved.
Friends and family are a great resource for help with your personal responsibilities. Housework, meal preparation, child care and transportation—identify who can help you and how. Add these accommodations into your schedule for increased flexibility.
Talk to your professors.
If you find yourself struggling or falling behind, don’t keep it to yourself. Professors can only help if they know your situation. Reach out to your professor as soon as you can. Communicate your challenges honestly and work with your professor to come up with a plan to address the issues. Your professors want to see you succeed, trust in them to help you do so.