Tips for Student Success

Tips

Succeeding in College

College Success 101: 3 Credit Hours. This course is designed to equip you with the skills you'll need to make the most of your college experience. We will help you understand your own strengths, weaknesses, interests, and priorities so that you can make informed decisions regarding courses of study and career paths.  During this course we will seek to instill in you the skills you'll need to succeed as a student, as a parent, and as a powerful and active member of the community.

Briefly put, successful students:

  1. Accept personal responsibility for their college experience;
  2. Know how they learn and how their learning preference affects their interactions with teachers;
  3. Are active listeners;
  4. Manage time effectively;
  5. Take effective notes;
  6. Prepare well for examinations;
  7. Present clear, well-organized written and oral reports;
  8. Set goals and develop strategies to achieve those goals.
  9. Develop competencies for dealing with issues of cultural diversity and how "culture" impacts their college career;
  10. Identify resources that are available on campus and in the community that can assist with problems related to academics, health, social life, financial aid, and other issues.

Myths and Facts

There are many "myths" concerning the benefits of a college education, the importance of choosing a major, and the educational requirements of many familiar jobs. Here are a few misunderstandings that might help you down the path to a higher education.


Myths and Facts
Myth: Fact:
You need an exact match between your major and a future career. Though there are some careers that require specific training, such as nursing, engineering, accounting, etc. there are more careers that do not follow from a specific major. In fact, a recent study by the College Placement Council indicated that the majority of college graduates are successfully employed in fields not directly related to their academic majors!
Once you have a major, you must stick with it your entire college career. Over 70% of college students change their major at some point during college.
Job market demand should be the primary determinant of an academic choice. Selecting a major because it is currently "hot" on the market can be dangerous. Though it is important to look realistically at the potential for employment, the job market is difficult to predict. What is in demand when you are a freshman may not be in demand by the time you graduate. You are on much firmer ground when you select a major that truly interests you, and find a way to apply it to a career.
You must pursue certain specific majors in order to prepare adequately for professional schools such as dentistry, law, medicine, and business. Etc... Most professional schools do not require a specific major, as long as you meet certain academic courses. For example, in recent years liberal arts majors have had greater success with acceptance to medical schools than biology majors.
Your academic major is the primary determinant for your future career success. A college major is not enough to help you prepare adequately for a career. Internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work all contribute to your growth as a well-rounded person, and in developing your skills and abilities. In fact, employers place a very high value on these types of "extra" activities when looking for employees.

Nearly half of all graduates change their career plans after they finish college, and the average person changes nearly 8 times in his/her lifetime.

"At the Bachelor's level your College major may not train you for a single, specific job. Instead, it seeks to develop your aptitudes and abilities so that you can use them in the broadest variety of careers. It is important to choose a major which allows your individual talents to flourish. Find a major that fits YOU rather than trying to fit yourself into a major. Undergraduate education is not so much a determinant of what you are to BE, as much as what you are prepared to BECOME."

Sources: College is Only the Beginning, edited by John N Gardner & A. Jerome Jeweler, What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Nelson Boles; What Can I do With a Major? By Lawrence R. Malnig

Selecting a Major

The Process...

  1. Meet with your Academic Advisor to talk about the options you have available to you.
  2. Consider your values and future goals. Do you want to stay in your hometown and near family? Select a major related to your interests, values and abilities.
  3. Consider a field where there is a need in your community such as teaching and medical fields and computer science.
  4. Talk with people who are working in a field that is interesting to you.
  5. Volunteer with an organization to try something or to observe a professional.
  6. Ask for help! You are not the only one wondering about what major to select.
  7. You must select a major if you want to apply for Pell Grants or Scholarships. However, you can choose your major at any time. In fact, you probably will. So don't worry about it.

More Tips for Success

  1. GO TO CLASS!
    You might hear that in college, "a person can go to class any time he/she wants." NOT TRUE. Yes, maybe some classes will be boring, but not everything in life is interesting, and collegiate studies are not a matter of you being entertained. So learn to handle the "grunt work" and then you will demonstrate the pattern of good work habits that can only enhance your achievement. Once in class, pay attention!
  2. UNDERSTAND THAT THE UNIVERSITY HAS RULES, PROCEDURES AND DUE DATES.
    Even if there are more rules than you can remember, always have a copy of your Student Handbook and Catalog. Remember that ignorance of what is required is no excuse for failing to perform. Confusion is one thing but ignorance of the rules says volumes. Do not become one who frequently states, "But no one told me..."
  3. ACCEPT CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
  4. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
    There is nothing wrong with being initially confused. Be patient with yourself!
  5. GET INVOLVED
    Join a club or the Student Senate. Go to the Student Lounge in Gurley Hall for information
  6. A DEGREE IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT, YOU MUST EARN IT.
  7. KNOW YOUR ACADEMIC SITUATION.
    If you are doing poorly in a course, be sure you know the deadline for withdrawing without penalty.
  8. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR BEHAVIOR
  9. KEEP IN MIND THAT NOT EVERYONE GRADUATES WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN FOUR YEARS.
  10. IGNORE RUMORS.
    Get the facts from a reliable source.
  11. MAKE SURE YOUR INSTRUCTOR KNOWS YOUR NAME. VISIT YOUR INSTRUCTORS DURING OFFICE HOURS.

Remember!!!
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!!