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In some ways it's easier to balance work, school and life when you're getting a criminal justice degree online. However, if you're the type of student who skipped class as an undergrad and often crammed the night before big exams (or begged for deadline extensions on assignments), online college may not be right for you.

Can you develop a system—and stick to it? If you're not a generally organized person, you'll need to learn. Use whatever method works to keep track of due dates and assignments. Typical online courses require students to log in to the blackboard several times a week and post items on the discussion board, responding to other students and the instructor. Organize your calendar so you're completing assignments before the last day they're due.

Are you working full time? If you are, it's important to leave work at work. Don't bring work home with you and don't accept overtime unless it's absolutely necessary. Online school takes just as much time as on-campus graduate programs, so you'll need to say no to extra hours and responsibilities.

Don't give up your social life and friends. Plan ahead to study on certain nights of the week and spend time with friends on certain nights. You need the break for volunteer activities, going out after work, spending time with your sweetheart, and spending time just by yourself. Online classes can be accessed at any hour, so schedule schoolwork accordingly.

Minimize distractions at home by doing schoolwork elsewhere. Pick a favorite booth at your favorite coffee shop or a quiet nook in the public library. If there's a community college nearby, bring your laptop and work on online graduate school assignments among other college students. If you must work at home, turn off the TV and the cell phone.

You're in control of your learning. That might be a scary prospect, so take stock of your personality and find opportunities to grow through online college.

Remember, it usually takes far less than two years in an accelerated online criminal justice program to complete your master's degree. Balance school, work and life and you'll emerge with a great degree and your sanity intact.

Get a handle on "The Difference Between Criminology & Criminalistics" or learn more about Law and Criminal Justice graduate programs.

Request free enrollment and scholarship information from online criminal justice programs through the graduate programs search engine.