Tag Archive for college success tips

You Get What You Give for College Success

You Get What You Give to Achieve College Success

You always hear it said that college can be one of the best times in your life. I am certainly loving my experience, and I would venture to say that all of my friends do too. But just showing up to your campus does not mean that you will instantly have a wonderful time. There is a bit of work involved in achieving college success.

Just as in anything in life, you get out what you put into it. To make the most of college, you can’t just sit in your dorm room everyday between classes and your time in the dining hall. You have to get out there and get involved. Did you always like music? Go to the campus radio station and see if you can be a DJ. Want to learn about another culture? See what is going on at the international student center. There are endless opportunities for involvement and leadership, no matter what you want to do, whether it is playing video games or stage managing a play. But if you never get out there and get involved, you will probably not have a good experience.

So to make college count, you need to get out there and get involved. If you do, you can achieve college success and make college one of the best experiences of your lifetime.

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

If it’s news, it’s for you

You need more to read. That’s right, the thousand pages per week your instructors lay on you isn’t enough.

Some of the most valuable reading you can do doesn’t appear on any of your syllabi. You’ll find it instead on the local newsstand. Being conversant in the news of the day can be a big advantage when you interview for internships or full-time jobs. It is a way to show your college success both inside and outside the classroom.  Interviewers will be impressed with someone who knows what’s going on in a particular industry, and the world in general.

Say you’re interviewing for a job as the manager of a clothing store. When you ask if recent economic upheavals in Asia have affected the cost and availability of merchandise, you’ll stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, not being in touch with the news can be a major minus on the interview score sheet. If a real estate recruiter says, “Pretty incredible interest rate situation we’re in, huh?” you’d better have some idea whether rates are high or low these days (they’re low).

You don’t have time to read more than one or two periodicals, so be choosy. For general interest fields such as journalism or public service, consider the New York Times. Business students can’t go wrong with reading the Wall Street Journal a couple times a week. If you’re headed to a more specialized field, such as education, venture to the library to read journals in your field. Don’t forget the internet is a great source of news. Many publishers offer on-line versions of their papers and magazines, often at no charge.

And for the reading-adverse, there’s always the national news on TV. Better yet, National Public Radio is one of the truly premier sources for news. It covers business, politics, and international news extremely well, plus it hits social issues in more depth than almost any other media. Your campus station may even broadcast NPR news in the morning or evening. If so, take advantage of it.

So download a podcast, pick up a paper, or tune in to the evening news on TV. Wherever you find your news, absorb as much as you can—it can lead to success in college and beyond.

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.

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.

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The Group Scoop

 

It’s sort of a dirty trick. You spend 15-20 years in school before you start a full-time career. In that time you are generally evaluated as an individual. To a large extent, your academic experience is a solo act.

 

Then you graduate and take a job where everything you do is a team effort. Committees, group presentations, cross-functional work groups, quality teams. It never ends!

 

Your paycheck may even be based on how well your team performs. After all those years of running your own show as a student, you’re expected to be the ultimate team player.

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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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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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5 Things I Wish I Knew in College

 

Here are some college tips I wish I knew:

  1. What you do outside class is just as important as inside class– Whether it is building relationships with your dorm-mates or participating in intramural sports, you can learn valuable lessons about life while not in the lecture-hall setting. Be sure to put time into each of these learning experiences. Read more