Monthly Archives: August 2014

(Yawn) . . . sleep much?

Are you getting into your college routine?  Making new friends?!   Staying up late?! Going for late night pizza and donut runs?!  Are you already exhausted and school has barely started (or maybe not even yet)?

Today’s blog is simple:  sleep is critically important to your overall health.  Don’t starve yourself of it too much.

Consider this quote from this article:

“Chronic sleep loss contributes to higher rates of depression, suicidal ideation, and obesity. Long-term deprivation has also been shown to be a factor in lower test scores, decreased attention span, tardiness, concentration, and overall academic achievement.”

As the article acknowledges, research shows that teenagers need extra morning sleep in particular; but, if you’ve already registered for that 8 AM class, then you need to be alert and ready to attend/listen/take notes.  SO . . .on the nights before that class, give yourself a break and go to bed earlier than typical.  You can always burn the midnight oil the NEXT night.

Are top ranked schools THAT important?

If you are thinking about applying to colleges (either as a high school student or a transfer student), you may be wondering how important it is to your future career to gain admission to a top-ranked school versus one that it isn’t.

There are many things to consider when applying to a college or university; and, we address this in our book in the early chapters (we even have worksheets to help you!).  Rather than just focusing on top ranked schools, however, I want to draw your attention to this article which discusses the importance of:  grades, top ranked schools, and internships/college experiences.

As the article indicates, depending on your major (or area of study), different aspects or definitions of success hold true.  Want to go into media and communications?  Then start early on to find internships and experiences during your college studies as this will help you land a job later on.

Concerned that you are taking all the ‘right’ courses?  It turns out that is super important to the health care field but far less critical to media and communications.

The graph given in the article makes one thing very clear:  internships, volunteer experience, and even work experience rank very high among all work arenas — higher than the rank of the school, higher than GPA, and higher than specific courses.

So:  plan accordingly regardless of what school you ultimately go to (or are already studying at) — get involved in a myriad of ways and it will serve you well into the future!

Sexual Assault on Campus

College is an amazing experience, but amazing experiences do come with risks. Assault, especially sexual assault, is something all students and parents need to be aware of. Over the past few weeks, National Public Radio (NPR) has been educating listeners on campus awareness programs, new technology created for safety, how to create safe environments and more; each report/story is powerful.

All students and parents should know the campus policy on assault, harassment, bullying and violence, before they have a reason to utilize the information. At our campus, all new students must complete two online training modules, one on sexual abuse, the other on alcohol education, before being allowed to enroll in their second term. These modules provide detailed information on what it means to give consent, descriptions of various types of assault, and how to report incidents.

When incidents do happen, our campus also has victim advocate who is on call, 24/7, and will come to the aid of assault victims. This person will assist the victim through the reporting process and medical visit, and will continue to be a resource and advocate during the investigation and law process (court/trail) if the incident goes that far. Colleges have the responsibility of taking care of their students!

Educate yourself on your campus policies; you never know when you’ll need them!

Theory vs. Practice

Recently this article, A Year Out of College and Working, caught my attention – I figured it may be a bit humorous and have some useful advice for current students; it had both. The advice I am pulling out to share with you is…

It is a tough realization that your degree does not automatically translate into the skills needed for a job. An internship in your career can help you understand the skills needed, expectations and more. … No college course can teach you a company’s work process or work flow.

Students: no matter what year of college you are in, start looking for an internship, or job, in the field you want to pursue after college, now! The quote above is 100% accurate, theory (taught in the classroom) is not equal to practice (hands-on experience). Visit your college’s career center for information on internships and jobs; begin your major related hands-on experience as soon as possible!

HS Class of 2015

You have arrived – senior year! How are you feeling?

  • For some it’s: great/terrific/epic
  • For others it’s: anxiety/stress/concern about college applications

Maybe you’re a blend of both; I think that is perfect!

The final year of high school should be enjoyed – it IS the FINAL year! (Unlike college, there’s no option of going back once it’s over.) However, the college application process is part of your senior year and it can quickly become overwhelming. Before getting in a panic, read the following advice, from a college president to HS seniors…

First, and most important, despite the uncertainties, remember that you have the ultimate power in the college selection process. That’s because there are thousands of colleges at which you can actively create the learning and growth that you want.

If you attend college determined to make learning and growth your priority, if you regularly take the risk to try new things, if you go meet your professors personally, and if you claim the campus as your home, the odds are very high that you will walk across the commencement stage in four short years with a profound sense of satisfaction.

You have the power to create long-term mentors and lifelong friends. You can grow in ways you’d never wish to trade away. You can develop your adult identity and your voice. Every college offers all this—but no college can do it for you. The greatest learners create the education they seek. That excerpt was taken from this article in Forbes.

Did you notice how many times he (the writer) said ‘you?’ (Read it again, count the you and your.) Yes, college is all about YOU! So, now is the time to make a plan to research colleges of interest, practice writing your application essay, schedule and go on visits/tours, and really think about what YOU want from your college experience! These things are part of your senior year – make them fun! And, don’t just leave them up to your parents and friends, they aren’t YOU!

Make sure YOU utilize our free, downloadable, worksheets, they’re sure to be helpful!

Academic Advising

Last week, I was assisting transfer students with academic advising at our university’s final orientation session. I was in a room with science majors, and I asked my final advisee of the morning “are you a Bio Chem major?” His reply “I don’t know what I am.” This student had spent four years between two community colleges, to arrive at a “four-year” institution not knowing what he was going to major in. His story is not uncommon.

After chatting for about 20 minutes he told me he might just like making cabinets for 20 years, but wanted something to fall back on ‘after his back hurt and he couldn’t do that any more.’ And there it was… Late that evening I received this email:

Per your recommendation, I went to the major advising for the construction management and that major is EXACTLY the kind of thing that I am trying to do, I could not have thought of a more perfect major for myself. Needless to say I am now pursuing my bachelors in Construction Management, all thanks to you! I have been trying to figure this out for years and years and all it took was ten minutes of your time! Where were you four years ago?? But really, thank you from the bottom of my heart, you really made an impact on my life today and I will be forever grateful.

Students: the first time you get academic advising, is probably not the last! Utilize all your campus resources to help you find the major that is perfect for you – well before you’re four years into college! Find numerous suggestions on how to engage in these conversations in On the Quad!

Just in case you didn’t trust us . . .

Today’s post will be short and sweet:  In case you’re wondering if  the advice and hints to success we give you (here at the blog, but also in the book) are really true, check out this piece by a professor on the other side of the US.

Her list is long-ish (21 points); but the first 10 points are critical to keep in mind:  #2 says to “read all of your syllabi carefully.”  Our book has an entire section on how to read syllabi, how to understand the percentages each assignment will contribute to your total grade, etc.  Syllabi are critical sources of information for each course; they are the “play book” or “rule book” of each course.

Please take a chance to read the list 1 – 10 and then skip to #21.  It, too, is really good.


The importance of acquiring textbooks

So, you’ve attended orientation; you’ve made a packing list and checked it twice; you’ve even registered for classes and downloaded the campus map so you can make it to your building on time for class (if you’ve not done this, do it!).  But, have you bought your textbooks?!  Do you know which texts are required for your courses?

At our university, and at many institutions, faculty book orders are due to the university bookstore about 6 months in advance of classes starting; while some faculty aren’t on time with their orders, by now, most faculty will have submitted a textbook requirement list to the university bookstore.  For our students, via their student center, they can view the textbooks that are required for each of their courses (assuming a text is assigned).  If not viewable in your student center, go to the bookstore’s homepage and find information about your class (by title, usually); you will be able to see/view required texts.  I can not stress this enough:  find out today what textbooks are required for each of your classes.  Purchase via the bookstore or some other online source; make sure the texts are available to you from the night before classes start.

I am currently teaching a 6 week summer course; two of my students do not yet have their texts.  While I have deep sympathy for them, there is nothing I can do to help them.  The library does not have copies of the text (but if the library did, most likely it would have one copy not multiple copies) for them to check out and read.  So, instead, I receive desperate emails from the students asking advice:  my advice was listed on the syllabus — that each student received on day one of the class:  make sure each student has access to the texts immediately.  The information has been available since April (it is now August).

We give you this advice in true love and kindness:  we know texts are expensive; we know they aren’t your favorite books.  But, we also know that they are one of the KEYS to a successful first year (and other years) of college!  Go forth and buy your texts!

Packing List 2

Are you headed to college this fall?  Are you going to live at home (or in your current residence)?  You still need to plan ahead for things to have on hand from the first day of classes.

While we have some great advice in On the Quad, you can also look at this list of necessary school supplies for First Year College Students.  The list includes everything from highlighters and tiny staplers to index cards.  Yes, index cards.  You might be thinking:  “Index Cards?!  Those are so old-school! I’m going to use a computer/tablet/phone for all my notes and classes.”  Don’t forget to check out our previous blog (here) which talks about how important it can be to take notes by hand; to listen and write during lectures.  I see students use index cards frequently in my classes (especially in my introductory courses where information is key — memorizing new terms/vocabulary, remember formulas, etc.).

Take a minute to think about what kinds of study habits you had in high school.  Make a list of how you studied (reading material, taking notes, highlighting, etc.).  Then, take about 15 minutes to reflect (be honest!) on whether these habits were successful or not.  If they were, circle the habit.  Then figure out if you need any supplies to support that habit.  Carrying successful habits forward into your first year of college is a reasonable strategy for success.  You may find that you need to add new strategies to be successful, but you have to start somewhere.

Now, back to that list . . .index cards, pens, notebook paper,  . . . have fun!