Archive for Success In College

College Success: Making College Count

It sounds simple enough, but what does it mean?

It’s all about making your college experience a launching pad to help take you where you want to go. I’ll grant you that this might sound a little lofty, but when you boil it all down, that’s really why you’re here.

There “where you want to go” part is, for many students, one of the most challenging pieces of the entire puzzle. It should be. It’s incredibly difficult to decide what you want to do for 50 hours a week for the next 40 years before you actually go do it.

Choosing a direction is not impossible though – and you will have to do it eventually. So do the homework now and make a decision. If you do, you’ll be in a much better position to make a plan and actually begin making it a reality. If you just can’t sort it out, keep working at it. Go to the library. Get on the Web. Talk to professors about areas of interest. Be creative, and find ways to talk to people who work full-time in the field. Remember, you’ll have to make a decision at some point. Doing it sooner, not later, can offer some significant advantages.

Regardless of the field you choose (and even if you still don’t know exactly what that is), this weekly feature can help get you “where you want to go.” It will look at college in a way you may not have seen before – through the eyes of a future interviewer. Whether you plan to go to work or to grad school, the recruiter evaluating you will be looking for specific traits in deciding whether or not you’ll get the nod. Making College Count will familiarize you with these “Winning Characteristics” and help you to make a plan to develop them. It will put you in a position to prove that you deserve the opportunity the recruiter has to offer.

List Making

I make lists all the time. What I need from the grocery store, who to invite to dinner for a friend’s birthday, the homework I need to do this weekend, my goals for my student organization’s charity auction—all of these things and more make it onto my lists.

Whether you are in high school or college, lists can be your friend, provided you have them at the ready, and work toward crossing things off. Lists are key to achieving college success and high school success. Here are some ways to keep a list:

 

  • Pocket/purse sized notebook
  • App on your smart phone
  • Scraps of paper you always have in your pocket
  • Sticky notes
  • Notes stored on your computer

Of course there are more ways to keep lists, but you get my drift. Now think what kinds of things you need to put on your list and get going! Make a list of colleges and universities you would like to get more information about, of goals for your summer internship, of things to add to your resume, or application deadlines.

Do you need help coming up with ideas for your list? Making College Count is a perfect place to start.  It is filled with great advice for college and can help you developing goals and good habits that will help you achieve college success.  With your list in hand, you are now organized and ready to tackle your tasks.

Staying Healthy in College

Maybe you had a great exercise and healthy-eating habit in high school. Maybe you are looking to start a new, healthier lifestyle in college. Whatever your background, you can avoid the freshman 15 or even slim down while getting your education. Here are some tips for staying healthy in college.

 

  • Eat breakfast. Let’s face it. For most college students, getting up early enough to stop by the cafeteria for breakfast just isn’t going to happen. So many will just skip breakfast all together. This is a bad idea. It’s a fact that breakfast is important and can help your brain and body in many ways. So each night when at the dining hall for dinner, pick up a piece of fruit or fill a plastic baggie with cereal to munch on while on your way to class the next morning. It does not cost anything extra or take up any extra time in the morning. It’s the perfect solution, especially for students living on campus. Read more

Preparing for Letters of Recommendation

Many graduate schools and jobs require letters of recommendation before they will seriously consider you as a candidate for admission, scholarships or employment. A great letter of recommendation can really make the difference. Conversely, a poor letter can also make a negative difference. So in order to get the best letter possible, you need to do a little work first.

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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.

New Semester’s Resolutions

So you are back for another semester.  You have made your New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more, eat less late night pizza, get together with old friends more often, and call your mom at least once a week.  But what resolutions are you making that will help you toward your college success?  The book Making College Count contains great tips and tricks to help you through a new semester, so get the book today!  (It also makes a great high school graduation gift for your friends about to join you as collegians.)  But until your book comes in, here are some resolutions you can make to help you on your journey to college success. Read more

Popcorn Can Lead to College Success

 

A mentor of mine tells the story of when she was in college and how her friends knew exactly what was best for her at one point while she was in college. I thought I would share this story to give you some perspective on the importance of maintaining a school/work/personal life balance.

 

My mentor, Sally let’s call her, was the quintessential overachieving college student. She served in the student government, held leadership positions is numerous campus organizations, had wonderful grades, and everyone loved her. It is the college experience anyone hopes for. But with this fury of activity taking up most of her time, it seemed that she did not have any time for herself.

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New Habits for a New Year

Before the academic year gets too far along, this is a perfect time to make some “new year resolutions.” What adjustments can you make to make the year really count?

Here are some resolutions to help you Make College Count:

  • I will go to all my classes, even the early ones.
  • I will study between classes.
  • I will learn what resources are in the library and how to find and use them.
  • I will stay away from the television set.
  • I will make a concerted effort to get involved in several extracurricular activities early in the year.
  • I will make my study time count by studying in the quietest, least distracting setting I can find.
  • I will learn as much about the internet as a business tool as I can.
  • I will record all of my assignments and exams in my planner so I can foresee and survive the “crunch times.”
  • I will get to know my professors.
  • I will have a great time socially, but not so great that my college record suffers.
  • I will avoid all-nighters because they create more problems than they solve.
  • I will add at least one meaningful “success story” to my resume every semester.
  • I will learn about the career placement center long before senior year.
  • I will be the first person I know to look for a good summer job.
  • I will read at least one major newspaper or new magazine on a regular basis.
  • I will Make College Count.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start looking for a good high school graduation gift for the high school senior in your life. Now is the time to begin thinking who you will be giving high school graduation gifts to. As I talked about in the last post, making a list now may save you some heartache later.

If you start early, you won’t make the mistake of getting your high school graduate a bad gift. You don’t want to be the person who gives the photo album (we have digital cameras and therefore have digital photo albums—your gift will swiftly tossed into the trash), a laundry bag, or a book designed for children that won’t help us any in our next step (and we will probably get a couple of copies of this one, so you are not alone if you have made this mistake before).

Making College Count is not outdated (the new version is out now) as a photo album may be, is useful, but less boring than a laundry bag, and infinitely more valuable than a children’s book. Making College Count makes a great high school graduation gift because it provides tips and tricks for achieving college success.

So this year, don’t wait until the last minute to make the list of who you need to get high school graduation gifts for, and while you are at it, get them something that will help them in college and beyond—Making College Count.

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!