Man in patterned blue button-up wearing glasses and headphones in front of compu

4 Easy Networking Strategies for Online Students

Networking as an online student takes a little extra effort than if you were on campus. Here are some simple ways to start connecting with peers and professors.

If you’re transitioning to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, we hope you find these tips useful to maintain connections and relationships with your professors and fellow students in a virtual space.

As technology advances, online education is becoming more popular than ever. Online programs and schools create new ways for students to pursue higher education in a manner that fits their lifestyle—including students who otherwise may not have access to higher education at all. Because of the benefits, online universities are becoming more credible in the workforce, with many employers now viewing accredited online institutions as on par with traditional brick and mortar schools.

There are many differences between traditional and online degree programs, but one of the major ones is the way students network and interact with one another. In conventional settings, students can talk to each other in class, see a professor after a lecture to ask questions, or head to the advisement office to connect with a mentor. In an online setting, there are still plenty of opportunities for students to network and make connections; they just have to approach them a little differently. Let's look at four simple and effective ways online students can foster relationships and build their network.

1. Utilize school resources

Most online schools offer a range of resources to help students network, such as LinkedIn and Facebook groups, chat rooms within their student portal, and discussion boards. If you're an online student, it's critical to ask about and utilize these resources to establish connections and create relationships with your fellow students. These resources may also be available for alumni, allowing online students to network and make connections that could lead to relevant job opportunities down the line, even after graduation.

Related: 5 Great Campus Resources Students Should Know About

2. Use social media to connect

If you're in an online class or on a school discussion board, make sure to chat with other students as much as you can. Then take it a step further by asking to connect with them on social media. Social media is a great place to connect and deepen peer relationships. Connect on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, or become Facebook friends. These online schoolmates can be great resources for discussing schoolwork, projects, and job opportunities. 

3. Build a rapport with professors and faculty

Online professors are as eager to connect with their students as traditional professors. They typically provide email addresses or chat options to students for a reason, so use them! Reach out to your professors with questions, and work one-on-one with them to make sure you understand all the material correctly.

Many online schools also have advisors or mentors who will work with you and answer all your questions. Connecting with these faculty members via email or even phone chats can help you navigate your college experience more easily. Take advantage of the opportunity and get to know the mentors and professors at your online school—you'll be more successful when you enlist their help.

Related: 6 Simple Ways to Impress Your College Professors

4. Don't be afraid to start up a conversation

Joining online study groups or sending emails to classmates you don't have personal relationships with can be nerve-wracking. But keep in mind that they’re students just like you looking to network and make connections too. You just have to take the plunge and start the conversation! (This applies to your professors too, who are eager to answer questions and have discussions with you.) Finding the courage to ask a question or start a friendship can transform your education and career path.

Related: How to Start Networking: Top Tips and Tricks

When you're an online student, networking is key to having a positive experience that sets the stage for your future. Your professors and classmates want to network as much as you do, so get up the courage and go for it. You never know how a relationship might change your future.

For more career and networking advice, check out our Internships and Careers section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
careers networking online learning online students

About Madeleine Low

Madeleine Low is a content web publisher at Western Governors University. Her experience at WGU has helped her learn about higher education and the college experience to help students around the United States. She has been a content writer and SEO analyst for five years for a variety of industries, including higher education, health, software, and automotive. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Kory Gilbertson

Kory Gilbertson

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me explore my views on college in that "why do I wanna go to a certain school" way. It’s helped me explore the best fits in all of these outstanding choices. All these college admission counselors can access my accolades showing them how I could help their college. This source of information helps me show these admission directors who I am and what I'm interested in. Thanks to this platform, my experience for education will be better than most, and I'm so grateful for all that it has provided for me.

Kyla McClain

Kyla McClain

High School Class of 2024

I found CollegeXpress when you partnered with Bold.org for a scholarship. I found your website, put my information in, and got connected. I only wanted to stay in North Carolina [for college] and not move far from home, but you all opened a door up for me. I started researching colleges you suggested for me. On your social media platforms, you also give really good test-taking tips that I used and suggested others to do the same. It helped me a lot on my exams, so thank you.

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2020

CollegeXpress has been an instrumental resource for my scholarship search and has given me the opportunity to try my best so I can graduate from college debt-free.

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Khush

Khush

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress is a multi-maneuver platform that has been helping students in their college applications and scholarship hunt process. For me, CollegeXpress has been a boon. I've been able to find my dream university via CX, and I've also been able to apply to thousands of scholarships through it. All the thanks to CollegeXpress for doing such a great job for free. I express my sincere gratitude to you for doing such a wonderful job. I recommend CollegeXpress without any reservations.

College Matches