If you have decided to earn an online degree, it makes sense to get your house ready. That means you’ll want to turn at least one room into a dedicated study area where you won’t be disturbed and where you have access to all the necessary amenities of a separate residence, like a private restroom, a small frig, a relaxation area, computer connectivity, sound proof walls, security, and a large monitor.
Remember, you’re not just taking a one-shot online course on how to tune up your bicycle. This is serious business and will take several years. It’s not enough to just set up a computer in the spare bedroom and shut the door for an hour or so. Here’s how to get ready to earn a degree from the comfort of your own home.
Pay Attention to Sound
If you need to add sound-proofing to the space, consider hiring a contractor who can do the job right. It’s worth the cost to have an area where you’ll be able to study in silence even when there are other family members nearby, some of whom might be talking on the phone, preparing meals, or listening to music.
Use a Low-Traffic Area of the Home
If you have a choice, try to use a part of your home that is not in a high-traffic area. For example, it’s usually better to put your in-house classroom upstairs, away from the kitchen if possible. Likewise, avoid areas where there will be a lot of foot traffic or talking. Keep in mind that you are attempting to create a true classroom atmosphere.
Arrange for Funding
Creating an ideal study room can mean substantial expenses. The good news is that you can keep expenses to a minimum by making a detailed project budget. While you’re at it, why not deal with two challenges at once: plan for project costs and your education expenses at the same time. After all, the reason you’re redoing a room in your home is to make a special, dedicated space for study. It’s entirely possible that you will be spending the better part of four years in this space, so it makes sense to cover all the bases.
Step one is to do some online research and learn to take out student loans. There are lots of options, including federal and private sources to which you can apply. Learn about the current interest rates and borrowing limits on all the packages that interest you and consider contacting a lender like Earnest.com if you have specific questions about how to apply and/or get approved.
If you are lucky enough to get your education financed before you begin work on the room remodeling job, you won’t have to worry about any costs but the ones directly related to the project at hand. And when your school is fully financed, there will be no need to cut into the monthly budget to cover expenses for books, fees, tuition, and more. The key thing to remember is that there are many different kinds of student loans and you should expect to spend a moderate amount of time filling out the applications.
Include Creature Comforts
People often overlook the need for creature comforts in the room. When you take the time to add a couch, a comfortable chair, adequate storage space, a small frig, and perhaps a TV, you won’t feel the need to wander through the house and become distracted by people, pets, and other situations. When you need a short break, you’ll be able to walk away from the computer and relax for a few minutes on the couch, have a snack, or take a nap. The goal is to arrange the space so you don’t need to leave until the study or class session is over.
Add a Restroom
Consider adding a separate restroom to your special space. For this reason alone, basements and spare bedrooms often make the best in-home classrooms because there’s accessible plumbing you can work with. Don’t fret over the expense.
When your degree is complete, you’ll have a nice apartment that you can rent out to local college students. If you choose not to add a restroom, try to make sure your personal classroom area is as close to one as possible. Maybe you’ll have access to one in a next-door master bedroom or similar arrangement. Consider all your options and keep privacy uppermost in your mind.
Get the Lighting Right
It’s easy to say, “I’ll just add lighting as I go. It’s not that big of a deal.” In fact, if you make the effort to consider the lighting arrangement for your in-home school room, you will thank yourself later on. That’s because proper lighting can prevent headaches, eye strain, fatigue, and a host of vision-related maladies. If you’re unsure, consult a lighting expert for suggestions. Then, purchase the necessary supplies and experiment with different combinations of floor lamps, table lamps, and ceiling lights. College coursework is hard enough without throwing in the strain that poor lighting can create.
Don’t Forget Paint and Carpeting
A fresh coat of paint and some new, high-quality carpeting can contribute a great deal to the overall feel of a classroom, which is what this area will be for the duration of your degree program. When it comes to painting, you can do it yourself or hire a contractor.
Unless you have experience with interior jobs like this one, it’s quite possible you’ll spend less money by bringing in a painting service. The charge for a one-room project can be minimal, and you won’t have to worry about getting your hands dirty. Just remember to completely clear out the space so the painters won’t have to do anything but paint.
Carpeting is important for aesthetic and functional reasons. An upbeat color scheme is good for a person’s mental attitude, and you’ll need plenty of positive vibes to get you through exam weeks. But carpets also serve to absorb sound. So, choose your floor covering wisely and consider asking for professional advice if you’re not sure how to proceed.