Tag Archive for college tips

In College, Attitude Is Everything

When I was younger, my mom always told me that “attitude is everything.” I didn’t like it when she said that because it was her not-so-subtle way of telling me I was out of line. But as I have gotten older, I now realize just how true that statement is. One of the most amazing things I have observed in life is that those who have a good outlook on things seem to be pretty happy. Sure, not everything is going their way, but they are happy about the stuff that is and are trying to make changes for the better every day. And, on the other hand, those I see who think that everything “sucks” (read with a giant sigh directed toward the world in general) are usually right. So what’s the difference between the satisfied person and the Debbie Downer? Attitude.

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Get Inside Your Professor’s Head

How do you get something you want from a family member or friend? Whether you realize it or not, you use what you know about that person’s interests, values, and motivation. You make a deal with your parents by offering something you know they value. You get your roommate to drive you to class by promising to help her with an assignment she’s been dreading. When you understand what makes someone tick, you’re much more likely to get what you want from that person. It’s not manipulation, just a great survival skill.

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10 College Success Tips That Worked for Me

Everyone has their ideas of what will lead to college success. Here is my two cents worth.


1. Communication is Key- Whether with professors, roommates, or student organization members, communication can help solve problems or diffuse tense situations.


2. All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy- Don’t be like the Shining—don’t make yourself go insane. College is about enjoyment and education. Enjoy each in moderation.


3. Study…Everyday…for Every Subject- If you do, it will save you from a lot of cramming. You will be able to participate in class discussions and just generally feel smart.


4. Be Like Burger King- In college, like at Burger King, you can have it your way. But as Bon Qui Qui says, “but don’t make it too crazy.”- The same is true for college. Don’t be too crazy whether it is in your personal life, how you care for yourself, or in academic life. Moderation is key in all things.


5. Find a Mentor- Find an upperclassman you respect who can help you with everything from how to choose classes to how to become involved in organizations. And when you become an upperclassman, be a mentor to an underclassman. Also, find a faculty or staff mentor. Someone with depth and breadth of experience can help guide you in the right direction, can be a wealth of knowledge, and can provide a great letter of recommendation as you try to get a job or get into grad school.


6. Get Involved, but Not Over-involved- Whatever you do, commit yourself fully to it. Making a difference in one organization looks a lot better than just paying dues to several.


7. Take Care of Yourself Physically- What you eat, how much you sleep, how often you exercise, etc. can all have a big effect on how you feel and how you perform in the classroom and in your extracurricular activities. Similar to the new Cookie Monster mantra, “cookies are a sometimes food,” pizza should also be a sometimes food, despite the fact that you see depictions of college students eating it every meal of the day. I’m pretty sure you might die if you tried that.


8. Take Care of Yourself Mentally- Know when to take a study break, but don’t let that study break last two months. Maintain a proper balance between academic rigor and brainless activities like playing video games with your roommates or whatever you like to do to de-stress.


9. Get to Know Your Campus and Your Community- You will feel like you fit in more if you know more about where you are. Are you on a historic campus and is there a class you can take about campus history? Do it. Does the city where your college is located offer haunted city tours at Halloween? Go on one. The more you feel a part of the community, the more you will like the experience.


10. Don’t Lose Yourself- Sure we all change in college, but make sure it is for the better. Don’t lose sight of who you are in a sea of new people and experiences.

Finals: Gain a Major Advantage

A fundamental problem with finals week is volume – so many exams, so little time. You know the program. And while fairly simple time management techniques can help alleviate the finals crunch, it’s important to set priorities as well. If you want to achieve college success what should be your priority number one? Classes in your major. Read more

Be More Than a Monkey

Do you do great work, or do you get great results? It seems like a minor distinction, but it’s not. Especially when it comes to finding a job.

Many students (not to mention many people who have been in the workforce for years) often confuse activity with achievement. Here’s an example. In an interview, Kim might recite a long list of clubs, organizations and activities that she had joined during her four years at U State. The list might sound impressive at first, but the interviewer will probably ask follow-up questions about the impact Kim had on these various groups and events. Just being a member of the Film Society, taking tickets at the door like a trained monkey will not earn Kim much credibility with the interviewer. Even being the best ticket-taker in the history of the club won’t mean much o interview day. Read more

Participation Makes the Difference

Of course, showing up to class is one of the most important college tips that you can receive, but making college count is much more than just being present in class. Some classes in college have a participation component. The professor might encourage feedback from students during class. You may have to discuss the reading you had to do for homework, or participate in a class policy discussion. Take a closer look at your syllabus. Chances are there is a breakdown of the grading in the class and part of it (especially for smaller classes) is a participation component. This component of grading is no joke. It can take you from a B to an A or, from a B to a C, depending on whether you participate or not. Because of this importance, class participation is key to college survival. Read more

A Minor May Make A Major Difference

If choosing a major isn’t tough enough, what about a minor? Minors are not available in all programs, but where they are offered, they open one more opportunity to differentiate your academic record from those of your classmates and make college count.

The greatest impact of a minor is that it allows you to demonstrate your interest and proficiency in more than one subject. If you’re a Computer Science major with an Ecology minor, you project a very different image than if you took only technical courses. The Ecology minor tells prospective employers that you can do much more than crunch code. Read more