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As an online learner, self-doubt is no match for your academic advisor

She didn’t realize it at the time, but the self-doubt that Ashley Hatleberg felt while pursuing a natural resources bachelor’s degree online with Oregon State University Ecampus put her in good company.

Many students who learn online — particularly those who are returning to school after some time away — feel the same sense of doubt Hatleberg did. They may think they’re too old to be in college, too busy with life responsibilities or too out of touch to stay on track to graduate.

But as is the case with countless other Oregon State Ecampus students, Hatleberg had her worries erased thanks largely to the expert guidance of her academic advisor.

Academic advisors play an important role in the online student experience. The unwavering, personalized support they offer helps students successfully overcome self-doubt — to name one of a wide variety of benefits — and persevere to graduation day.

“For that, I’ll always be grateful,” Hatleberg said.

We connected with a trio of Oregon State academic advisors who work with Ecampus students to gather a few of their primary pearls of wisdom.

Andy Edwards

Andy Edwards, School of Public Policy

“Talk with your instructors in their virtual office hours. It shows that you care about the class material and your academic performance. Go over returned assignments with them both to get correct answers for cumulative finals and to learn what types of information they consider important — it will make future studying more effective.”

“If it is your first term taking online classes, it is usually a good idea to go a little lighter on the course load. For example, if you are thinking of taking two or three courses, go with two. It is better to discover you had extra time than to need to recover from a first term with rocky grades. You can always increase the pace in subsequent terms.”

Dawn Marie Gaid

Dawn Marie Gaid, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

“Your advisor is here to assist. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to reach out for help — it is easier to help when an issue is timely, rather than crisis management after the fact.

“Utilize your support resources. In addition to your academic advisor, you have access to a career advisor and Ecampus success coaches. Together we will help you cross the finish line.

“Choose the best enrollment level for your circumstances at the start of the term to minimize impacts on your time, money, academic standing and mental health and well-being.”

Josie Miranda

Josie Miranda, College of Business

“Each student is on their own particular educational journey, so it’s important not to compare where you are on your own path against where another student might be on theirs.

“Also, embrace your educational experience and make it your own. Don’t be afraid to take classes for no other reason than that they look interesting to you. If you’re in a course that you may not find interesting, use the opportunity to continue to improve your writing, research and critical thinking skills. There’s no such thing as a ‘wasted’ course!”


Whether it’s overcoming self-doubt, time management or any other topic, learn how Oregon State’s support system for online students can help you get where you want to go.

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