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Prepare for Your First Online College Class with These Essential Tips

When you enroll in online classes at Abilene Christian University, you’re taking the next step in fulfilling your life’s calling. It’s a big undertaking that affects your future and it’s important to prepare for success before you even get started with your first online class.

ACU Online’s Senior New Student Ambassador, Elisabeth Evan, put together some steps you can take to prepare for your first online class, and set yourself up for success.

Evan points out that ACU is a missional school and that her main role is to make sure she’s equipping students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.

Step #1 – Prepare Your Family for Your Commitment

Remember, you’re not the only one going through this journey – your family and friends are going through it too, and they’re a huge part of your support system. Let them know that your classes will require some of your time and ask for their help.

Step #2 – Think About How You Can Better Manage Your Time

It’s really important to begin looking at your life and figuring out when you can carve out moments to study. Maybe you can get up a little earlier in the morning to make time for your homework and studying. Perhaps you spend a lot of time on your phone — if so, you could use the ACU mobile app to get in some more study time.

Step #3 – Be Sure You Have a Working Computer with Access to the Internet

If you’re having problems with your computer, get those sorted out or consider purchasing a new computer before classes begin. You don’t want to miss out on something important because your computer freezes up in the middle of your class. Dependable internet access is also essential to your success in online courses, so make sure you have high-speed internet access beforehand.

Step #4 – Talk to Your Graduate Team

Both your advisor and your student ambassador are there to help you throughout your entire journey with ACU. Take time to talk to both of them before starting classes. They can answer any questions you have, as well as offer insightful tips.

At ACU, along with a graduate admissions advisor and a new student ambassador, you’ll also have a financial intake specialist and student services advisor, and this team of people is behind you and ready to work with you, so you’re never alone. Your support team is there to help you—whether that’s using the online class system or talking you through your schedule.

Step #5 – Get the Required Books

You don’t want to start your online classes without the required books. When you have a welcome call with your advisor, they’ll help you find out what books you need, how to order them, and how to ensure you get them before your classes begin.

Step #6 – Schedule Your “Walk to Class” Orientation

ACU also provides an orientation referred to as a “Walk to Class” that teaches you everything you’ll need to know to get started and succeed in your online education.

“These hour-long zoom presentations get them acclimated to the class,” says Evan. You’ll have six different opportunities to choose from. Pick the one that best fits your schedule.

During this live presentation, you’ll explore your educational portal, learn where to find graduation support team information, the resources page, the library, and how to find your assignments. After the initial live presentation, you’ll have the opportunity to explore further on your own. You’ll find helpful information sections with videos on topics like where to find instructor feedback, and you’ll need to take care of activities like acknowledging the ACU student handbook and academic integrity policy.

Step #7 – Introduce Yourself to Classmates and Faculty

As a part of orientation, you’re invited to introduce yourself to classmates and faculty. You can post a video introduction, or you can type in an introduction. This is an important part of the process because you’ll get to see the faces of your peers and get to know a bit about them. You’ll also have a chance to interact with your professors before classes begin.
Throughout your journey at ACU, you’ll find that your classmates not only offer extra support and encouragement, but they make great study buddies as well.

ACU believes that following these steps will help you prepare for your first online college class and a successful online academic future. Remember, one of the benefits of taking courses at ACU is that you’ll get individualized attention from the very beginning.

“I think that’s part of being in the ACU family … we’re not so big that you’re getting lost in the shuffle … and we really try to apply everything to the individual,” said Evan. Not only does Abilene Christian University help you prepare for success in your online graduate program before you even take that first class, we’ll be there with you all the way through graduation, helping you succeed as you work to pursue your calling. To learn more about ACU Online graduate programs, call 855-219-7300 or visit

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