The responsibility of the student is to recognize their ability and limitation to take an online distance course/program. If the Institution offers a pre-admission survey/evaluation based on one of the persistence model, like a Rovai Model of Persistence that factors in variables for the potential learner (pg 26). The learner should take it and be as truthful as they can in their responses. The pre-admissions test is not only for the Institution to evaluate whether the individual is acceptable to the program but it should give the individual a perspective in what type a distance learner they would be.
This post is essentially directed towards adult learners. I believe there is an amount of maturity and self-directedness that distance learner need to possess to be successful. David Grow points out that adult learners can be self-directed in one situation and less so in another where they require more direction (pg 15). However true that is, most adult learners enroll to classes with a specific purpose in mind, life experience, a readiness and motivation to learn.
Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective Online Teaching: Foundations and Strategies for Student Success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.