Checklist for Getting Started in Online Courses

Interested in online learning? Not sure how to get started? Use the basic checklist below to help you get started in an online program.

  • Determine if online learning is right for you
    • Online learning is best suited for learners who are self-motivated and self-directed.
    • Take a self-assessment test at to ensure that you have the skills necessary to be a successful online student.
  • Complete admissions  or assessment test (if required)
    • Most MnSCU four-year universities require the ACT to be considered for admission.
    • Most MnSCU two-year colleges require the Accuplacer assessment prior to registration for courses.
  • Request admission to a Minnesota State College or University
    • Apply to the institution that meets your current and future program needs. For most online programs and courses, geographical location is not an issue.
  • Submit your official high school and college transcripts
    • Contact your high school or college registrar to request an official copy of your transcript (including military training) be sent to the college or university.
  • Determine how you are paying for your courses and additional expenses
  • Register for Courses
    • Once you have been admitted, you will be eligible to register for courses through your home college and any other publicly offered courses throughout MnSCU. When registration windows are open, you will use eServices to register for courses.
  • Attend orientation or try a sample course
    • Before beginning online coursework, it is highly recommended that you learn to navigate the online course rooms in the Desire2Learn (D2L) technology. On your own, try a free sample course. If you need more personal assistance, request a guided tour from an Online Advisor via Skype.

Note: This is a basic checklist for getting started in online learning at institutions within Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. There may be special requirements for admission to some colleges or programs.

For links to additional resources, visit In addition, the Minnesota Online Support Team is ready to assist you seven days a week by phone at 1.800.456.8519 or email at


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