Archive for Academic Success

Appealing to Tired Eyes

Here’s a college tip: If you have the chance to work for a professor during your academic career, go for it. Professors are a great source of knowledge, professional contacts, and career help.

And you’ll also learn a big lesson about test-taking. Read more

Avoid the Dreaded Social Section

It’s not your fault, you’re only human. Humans are social creatures, naturally drawn to other humans for comfort, camaraderie, and amusement. So it’s only natural that you’re drawn to the social center of the library.

Every library has one. You know where it is. Everybody knows where it is, and that’s the problem. It’s the section of the library where you go to make sure you don’t miss anything. It’s the dreaded social section. Read more

Meet your Professor Face to Face

Yeah right. You’re going to give up a free hour to walk all the way across campus to talk to Professor Thickglasses during his office hours? Very funny.

If you could get students to be honest on this subject, you’d find that most fall somewhere between intimidated and afraid when it comes to attending office hours. And there are some reasonable explanations for these feelings. For starters, Professor Thickglasses is a national expert o the subject area and you know next to nothing about it.

Sure, it makes sense to be a bit intimidated, but it really makes a lot more sense to tromp across campus and take advantage of the opportunity that office hours presents. There are many good reasons to visit old Thickglasses. First of all, he can help you better understand the class material. Swing by, introduce yourself, and ask a couple questions, before you’re totally lost. Professors teach because they enjoy sharing their knowledge. A sincere question from you shows interest and initiative, not ignorance.

Beyond clearing up academic issues, you can also develop a positive relationship with your instructor. Yes, professors have been scientifically proven to be actual human beings. Even those who are not dynamic in the classroom can be pretty darn interesting on a face-to-face basis. Getting to know a prof can have other significant benefits. First off, you may earn yourself a bit of “benefit of the doubt.” Thickglasses might be more inclined to toss you an extra point or two if your grade is on the border between A and B.

Maybe more importantly, professors have great connections and contacts. Many act as as consultants in their off-time. Thickglasses may be able to steer you to a former student, client or colleague who could help you find a job, internship or research position. If nothing else, you can always use a solid letter of recommendation.

Go ahead. Go see Thickglasses.

Juggling

Whether you are in high school or college, a freshman or a senior, school involves a good amount of juggling. You have to manage your coursework, activities, friendships, etc. But each requires a different kind of commitment.

I heard an analogy recently that resonated with me. In life, each thing that takes up your time is like a juggler’s ball. But some of the balls you are juggling are glass and others are rubber. If you “drop the ball” and the ball is rubber, it just bounces right back. But if the ball is glass, it shatters and you may never get it back.

As you prioritize the many demands on your time, it is important to determine which of your activities are glass and which are rubber because very different outcomes occur when they are dropped. For example, if you miss dinner with your friends one night, they will still be there the next day, but if you go to dinner to the detriment of the test the next day, you can never get that test day back and that bad grade erased.

So to achieve college success, be sure you figure out which things in your life are rubber balls and which are glass balls. You don’t want to mix them up!

Study at the right time for college success

IT’S SIMPLY A QUESTION OF WHEN

If you’re one of the rare breed who gets great grades without studying, you’re either very gifted or you’re attending a school that’s too easy for you. But for us “regular” people, studying is a key ingredient in college success. Good study habits have an obvious impact on grades, but also affect how much free time you have to enjoy the non-academic side of college. Effective studying will make a major difference in the quality of job you end up with after graduation.

An important piece of the puzzle is when to study. Let’s start with when not to study. Studying all night is never the right choice. College is probably the only environment where it is accepted, even trendy, to stay up all night when trying to get something important done. When the sales executive has a big client meeting the next day, does she stay up all night to prepare? Of course not. Star athletes don’t stay up all night before big competitions. People need sleep, even college students. It’s just not productive to trade sleep for study time. Read more

Go the Extra Mile with Extra Classes

Whether you care to admit it to your parents or not, some semesters are just not as academically demanding as others. Some schedules actually give you a little breathing room.

 

You need to make the most of these stretches, because they don’t come along very often. Light semesters provide a great chance to work toward college success as is often discussed in this blog. You can get involved in a club, take a part-time job, start searching for a killer summer job, or even start your own small business. There’s another option as well, one that few students take advantage: auditing classes.

Read more

Graduate School is a Job

 

If you’re planning to go to grad school, you may get a chuckle at all your friends working so hard to prepare themselves for the job market. Fortunately, you don’t have to be bothered with such trivialities for many years – you’re going to grad school.

 

Well, guess what? Graduate school is a job.

 

While there are many obvious differences (especially financial) between taking a full-time job and attending grad school, the selection process is similar in many ways. It turns out that the same characteristics that would make you a desirable candidate for a job are valued by graduate programs as well.

 

If you are planning to apply to a graduate program, you may want to check out an application well before (like a couple years before) you actually apply. Although you might expect a master’s program in history to be most interested in your academic background, especially in history courses, you’ll see the program’s application also asks about your extracurricular and work experiences. And if an interview is required, the discussion will definitely go well beyond your grades.

 

Keep in mind that graduate programs are often very selective, so they can look not just for strong students, but strong students who are well-rounded and who will add to the character of the program in other ways. Many graduate programs involve teaching assistant responsibilities, favoring candidates who can demonstrate Leadership and Communication skills. And applied programs such as business schools accept very few students who have not worked for two or more years.

 

The bottom like is that whether you’re headed for the job market or on to more education, you will be evaluated against other talented candidates, and while an impressive GPA is a great qualification, it will rarely compensate for a lack of other activities or skills. Think of grad schools as a job, work on achieving college success and building your background accordingly, and you’ll greatly enhance your chances of being accepted.

Get Up and Go for College Success

 

There are very few things in life in which the difference between success and failure comes down to simply showing up. Just “being there” doesn’t typically get it done.

 

College is one of the places where “showing up” can make the difference for achieving college success. The reason for this is that many students don’t make it to class on a consistent basis. Given that, you can actually gain a “competitive advantage” relative to most by consistently going to class – by just physically being there.

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Write ‘Til You’re Right

It’s approaching final exam season, so let’s talk essay exam tips.  In life, many people say “less is more.” But not when you’re answering essay questions.

Let’s take a look inside the grading process. On a multiple choice or short answer test, you start with 100% and lose points with each question that you miss. You might even say that instead of grading, the professor is “downgrading” your exam. On an essay test, on the other hand, you’re starting at zero, and you can only earn points by putting ink on paper. Every piece of relevant information that you provide adds to the value of your answer and ultimately your grade. Read more

When It Comes To College Success, Four Says More

Maybe you’re a freshman with no idea where your academic interests lie. Or a sophomore planning to change majors. Or a junior thinking about dropping some classes because they cut into practice time for your new band. Or a senior with a serious case of indecision. Whatever your situation, you may be considering adding a fifth year to your program.

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