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kg4kpg

Things to know about college

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Hey troops. It seems since I've found a way at 46 to juggle my fill-time government job, part-time military job and go to school full-time and maintain an A, my First Sergeant would like me to give a class to our young soldiers about things they should know about going to college. I have some ideals but just wanted to pick some brains for other ideas. What do you think a prospective new student or transfer student should know?

Thanks,

Chris

Edited by kg4kpg

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Several things that I found out the hard way.

1) Don't take anything for granted when it comes to dealing with the logistics side of college. If an admin, counselor or whoever says that they will do something, file something with the right people or take care of something for you, follow up. If you don't, you're the one who will be holding the bag when those things don't get done.

2) Don't assume anything. We all know what happens when you assume. You're in college, not kindergarten. If you don't know something, ask. When in doubt, refer to lesson 1 listed above.

3) Your grades are directly proportionate to both the amount of time spent studying and the quality of said study time. Professors do not give a crap whether you get the study time in or not. They aren't going to hold our hand. Your a big kid now. Pull your big kid panties up and do whatever it takes to study.

4) Rest assured that Mr. Murphy will show his sorry *** at the most inopportune time. Use that lump 3ft above yours to limit the amount of damage that he can do. Translated: See lessons 1-3 listed above.

5) As hard as it will be to do, DO NOT sit next to the best looking female in the class. Chances are she'll not keep good notes and neither will you because you are paying more attention to her than to the prof.

Regards

B

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Read the material before going to class. You'll remember the lecture materials much better and take better notes if you already know what is being discussed.

Any time spent getting work and studies completed early translates into more fun and relaxing free-time later.

Study subjects requiring memorization before going to sleep, after you've had a chance to relax a little, eaten a healthy and not too heavy meal, and not too tired to make the effort worthless. Research indicates you remember things better if learned before going to sleep.

Stay away from the parties, computer gaming, and other social distractions, at least the first year so you'll know what it takes not to flunk-out.

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1. First, I think it's 'ideas'. Good to teach the students what the ideal ideas are though. :rolleyes:

2. Time management was my weakness my first year or so. Sounds like you're pretty darn good at it with all that you're juggling. Teach them some of your tricks.

3. Students need to learn to problem solve on their own. It's sad how many mommies and daddies are still taking care of business for their college -age kids...leads to helpless adults.

-Mike

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Thanks guys, good stuff. You're right Mike, I was typing on my phone and didn't notice and spell check didn't show.

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Colleges are packed with soft, young, immature, fresh-of-highschool, been-there-done-that, think they know the world, kids that do stupid things. Avoid them, or being/acting like them at all costs. Find the guy or gal with kids who comes into class from work and looks tired as hell but does their work and is not screwing around-- get into THAT study group.

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The best piece of advice I can give is hit the ground running; do your readings and work in the first week. By the end of the semester you'll wish you had an extra week to prepare for your finals... That week was the first week you were partying or slacking off.

...And if you don't do well in first year its not the end of the world either. Just don't make the same mistake twice.

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It seems like you are more focused on the student who is already working full time and looking to start or finish their college education. My recommendations are for that group:

I was a flight test mechanic until I decided to finish up my degree at age 33. It was hard work, but worth every minute (I took advantage of education reimbursement from my employer so it did not cost me a red cent! They paid - $19K for Undergrad, $32K for Graduate Degree. Pretty good bonus!)

1) Once you decide to commit to a degree, take at least one course a term until you are finished. Add more as you have time. I saw some of my fellow students take a term off, which became two......and now ten years later they are still on break. It goes by quickly either way-

2) Choose wisely, The School and the Program. There are schools that will sell you on a program because they want to make money, not because it is a good fit for you. Talk to others about thier experiences. (I am an Embry-Riddle graduate, B.S. Aeronautical Engineering w/minors in safety and logistics (on campus); M.S. Professional Aeronautics w/ specialization in Business Administration (extended campus). Loved both programs, prepared me well for what I do.)

3) Kill the Cable TV (or games, etc.). I had all the time in the world for studies once that was gone. Many don't realize how much time that frees up.

4) Remember it is worth it! The sooner the better!

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These are good tips.

With the experience in going twice, I can offer this:

1) Don't pursue a course of study for the perceived "financial rewards" unless you actually like the subject. Choose something you truly want to do. If you like something, you will get good at it and the financial side will take care of itself. Job performance is the ultimate job security.

2) The education is more than a piece of paper you trade in for a job. As a person who has hired a few, I don't care about the paper - all applicants have one. What I do care about is whether you learned something and whether you know how to use your brain. So go to school to learn and excel. Ask questions and figure things out.

3) You are the customer so act like one. You are buying an education so you have the right to ask questions and see profs during their office hours. Honestly - not enough take advantage of this. Want to do well on the exam? Get some old exams and work on them. Then schedule time with the Prof to go over your answers. You have that right. Sometimes the difference between a B and an A is style.

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Sunliner, Mike, mentioning was also my weakness but very important. Time Management! Prioritize your time for study and make some time for fun. Going heavy on fun will lead you to failure and on study will make you pyscho. This reminded me of what our Dean said the first day, "Look to your right and left. You won't see those two people with you in the next term.". Funny thing was that I actually didn't see those two after the first semester.

Neu's right that you got to hit the ground running on day one. This ain't high school where you can slowly ease right back into studying.

Horrido's tips on knowing the material before a lecture, even just glancing it, will help with understanding what the professor is talking about and with better hand written notes or is it now texted notes :hmmm: . Studying the night before an exam when your about to goto sleep is a classic that works very well.

dbsmith88's words about how the professors don't care if you study or not is a good wake up for those asleep during your presentation - it's not high school anymore, you're in college. Don't sit next to a pretty girl in class was something I didn't have a problem with cause the courses I was in was still dominated by men at the time but still you don't want to be distracted.

NotLockMartHQ's observation about today's youth. I went back to college as a mature student and have noticed the exact thing mentioned. I saw one sleep during lectures. I've seen them complain about exams to professors when they fail it - it was unfair, not based on our lectures and too hard but the funny thing was I found it relavent and aced it. Also during my second college stint, I did find other mature students to study with. I was in a study group with greenhorns but I found it wasteful as most of the time was spent talking about stuff like Survivor tv shows. If exams were on it they'd ace it but all our exams weren't on any tv show.

kg4kpg, good on you for attending college and passing on some words of wisdom to future college students. There are many other items of advice that are important in their own right like eating well, getting a good night's sleep, etc. However, it is up to the individual to take the advice in hand and run with it. I've been through college twice, once as a fresh greenhorn and the other as a mature student, and have seen what it takes to receive a college diploma in your left hand and the college president's handshake in your right. The feeling is great, both times!

One piece of advice I have is that don't get discouraged when you fail an exam or two or more or even a course. It can and will happen. I've seen it first hand and have benefitted from it because I wouldn't have understood nor retained the material had I made the passing grade the first time. The old adage of learning from one's mistake holds true. Another is to better use spring break to catch up on material you have a hard time grasping. I did and it helped alot more than just partying all day long - remember what I said at the top about going heavy on the fun.

Not all future greenhorn college students are as described by NotLockMartHQ but those who listen to and use your advice will benefit from it to finally feel the same way I did when your name is called to the stage to receive your college diploma. It's definitely priceless!

Edited by aerofan

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Exercise, train, fight. Same things goes for college, except it's study, review, exam. "Train like you fight, fight like you train" now becomes "Study like you test, test like you study". The earlier you start on projects and papers, the better off you are. Time management, time flow, breaks, etc. for a smoothly flowing and comfortable work schedule. Also remind them that IT IS VERY DIFFICULT to recover lost time or ground if you fall behind on course material. It is a problematic snowball effect in which better not to become stuck.

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Back up your work.

Keep a back up for your back up! Carry your flashdrive everywhere you go.

Print double copies. ASK QUESTIONS! I am a vet going to school for the first time in 10 years... my instructors LOVE that they can count on me to at least return fire if a question is asked. My Law Enforcement LOVES having me in class because other than him, I am the only other cop in a class of 32... so he knows that he can call on me in a pinch... and I am good for at least some working examples of something he is trying to teach.

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1. Take as many electives as you can. Schools place limits on how many you can take before graduating in order to cut costs, but there are often clone classes in other departments, related to one's field of study/interest. I took Nuclear Propulsion in Mechanical Engineering department while being Cal Poly's Aerospace Senior and having our department's chair shut down identical in-major elective class on some technicality. Electives look good on resume for someone who is fresh out of school and has little to no practical experience.

2. DO NOT delay taking general education classes until Junior or Senior, it's a dead end strategy that will only distract you from in-major courses and stress out you (senioratis) and your finances.

3. Go for the toughest professor if your class of interest is offered in more than one section. There are special sites that rate faculty in various terms, but most importantly for undergrads how easy it is to sail through the class with a high grade. I've had a few friends in school who got great grades and kept high GPA by going for easy ones only to have a really hard time doing research and practical work for the senior project/design class. Ratings sites should only be used to see if professor's toughness is justified/ necessary academically, after all there are a handful of people who just can't seem but use their students as a stress ball for retribution against their personal troubles.

4. Try your best to find extra time to join, and stay in, a club that focuses on some sort of research or engineering project. Looks great on a resume and allows you to be shoe-in with faculty.

5. Maintain some sort of employment, no matter if it's not connected to one's field of study. Don't know why but while interviewed for a position HR staff is always more inclined toward liking you if you currently flipping burgers to stay afloat over being unemployed. I kept part time job at UPS package handling at sorting facility for nearly 4 years and was terrified for faculty and prospective employers to find out, but had to disclose it on resume and in person during interview, and apparently it was good because HR person melted like butter after I talked about it.

Sad but True.

The idea of getting a job out of 4-year school is a pipe dream these days, especially in Engineering and Science fields. Seems like everyone wants either 2-5 years of experience or MA under the belt in order to give even and entry placement full-time employment.

The only ways out for me were as stated above electives load and projects.

Also, some HR interviewers aggressively push fresh grads into accepting an internship even though people apply for a job opening posted by a company/organization. The promise of a full time job after 6-month long unpaid internship is a total scam, unless they clearly spell it out in the contract they have no obligation to hire you full time and most of the time do not, luring someone else into the same trap.

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Posted (edited)

High school is primarily about what is taught in class. If you can recall everything you heard in class, you probably did quite well.

 

College is about the studying after class. If you can recall everything you read about or learned while studying outside of class, you will do quite well. The verbal recall that made for success in high school is useless. Finally, don't even think to whine about "but you didn't say that would be on the test."

Edited by dnl42

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, jeffstrong said:

One thing that i knew first is that you always needed someone to write my essay at https://paperell.com/write-my-research-paper. It can really help you in the long run. You can be great if you really want to. 

 

Seriously?  Why don't you just buy your whole degree online  instead?  :cop:

Edited by habu2

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It's been over 20 years since I graduated, but off the top of my hear with respect to good habits:

  • Be engaged; ask questions
  • Plan to spend 3 hours of studying per credit hour (could be more or less depending on the class) per week
  • Pick a degree that has use in the real world; pick classes (electives) that interest you.
  • Skipping class and using those note taking services are not the same as being in class (speaking from experience).
  • Make sure the professor knows who you are. It will help with your final grade.

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It’s been 6 years since this thread started.   Wonder how the OP made out?  

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Posted (edited)

A "new member" has pulled up old posts that mention "college" to plug some site.  I have reported his posts....

 

P.S. Looks like they are gone now.....

Edited by RCAFFAN

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However the thread came back around, it's probably also useful to supply an updated response suitable for 2018.

 

My day job is college (outside the U.S., we mean "university"), both teaching and administrative work, and I see students succeed or fail everyday, both in school and after graduation.  In general, the predictable advice above is true: treat it like a full-time job that's an important step in a career.  Your grades generally reflect your level of effort. 

 

A few other random observations:

  • If you're not thrilled about being in school, just gut it out and do a good job anyway.  Don't imaging others are "good at it" and you're not.  Perseverance may not beat inherited talent in sports or music, but it certainly does in most academics.
  • If you absolutely hate college and want to avoid it, then plan carefully to get a vocational education that isn't easily automated, or plan on returning to training and schooling periodically throughout your life.  Avoiding college is doable, but you need the same level of energy and determination.  
  • There are professors who are indifferent to your fate regardless of what you do.  However, most of us really care about your success, but will allocate our time and effort based on your demonstrated commitment to the course.  This is more important than whether or not you are majoring in my field. 
  • Professors can often see you are putting in serious effort, and they'll work with that.  When a student visits the Tutoring Center, I get a report that they did so and it almost always shows in their submitted work.  If that student needs a little extra time on a later assignment, he has it.  
  • There's always someone in class that has it harder than you do.  Every semester, I have a student who is suffering from MS, lupus, cancer, or the like, with documentation (and maybe hair loss or mobility issues) to prove it.  Often students are caring for dying close relatives.   It's statistics; get 30 people in a room, and someone's got a genuine hard life.  And yet, they persevere.  They show up, do the work, and get a respectable grade without me treating them any differently.  So when I won't move a deadline you knew about all semester just because you want to catch an earlier flight for Spring Break, you can guess why.  
  • If you have a case where you think a professor has mistreated you, then carefully consider and prepare it before making it.  There are situations where professors abuse or neglect students, and there is a system of redress for that.  Read the student handbook.  Know your rights.  But many, many cases come before deans (academic leadership) that amount to a student thinking he should get a "A" just because his parents pay tuition, or he just can't lose an argument in front of peers.  This never goes like the student imagined it would.  
  • In the past five years, it's become fashionable among professors and campus administrators to crucify cheaters.  This is because there is a widespread belief, real or imagined, that cheating is now worse in schools.  Prosecuting cheaters has become popular among better students, too, and they occasionally supply evidence of cheating by peers.  Colleges now pay for software to monitor submitted written work for signs of plagiarism.  It isn't fool-proof, but it does make cheating more risky.  (Essay mills, that sell essays, will not tell you if they sold an essay before, and there's little you can do about it.)  If you plagiarize, or cheat, you might get away with it once or twice.  But if you get caught, you will get zero sympathy. If you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism or cheating, by all means ask professors, librarians, and student support officers.  They'll be glad to show you how to avoid it.  
  • Don't necessarily know what degrees or majors are "useful" in the real world.  Outside of challenging disciplines such as engineering or research science, skill-heavy, specialized vocational degrees are at risk of being automated, and if this happens even a little bit, the job market (wages) suffer.  Besides, due to credential inflation you need to go to grad school within ten years of graduating anyway.  So for undergraduate, major in whatever field you are most interested in, so your grades will be highest.  Then learn tech skills like video making or coding on the side.  If you create an awesome series of videos about a seventeenth-century philosopher, employers will be impressed just the same.  
  • Employers tell us they want soft skills.  Can they read and think critically?  Can they write?  Are they organized?  Can they comfortably speak in front of a crowd and a camera?  Can they work in teams, but also plan and pace themselves on their own?  Do they understand what original work is, create it, and evaluate it?  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Good info Fish.  On a related note, as a guy who does some hiring of new grads - learn how to write. If available, take a technical writing class (or two).  At least in the US, the vast majority of recent grads seem to have the writing skills of a 7th grader.  I'll make a point to engage them via email and ask some detailed questions that require a lengthy response.  It at least gives me a chance to get a rough idea of whether they can string together a few sentences. 

 

It's amazing how many can't....

 

  

Edited by 11bee

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53 minutes ago, 11bee said:

Good info Fish.  On a related note, as a guy who does some hiring of new grads - learn how to write. If available, take a technical writing class (or two).  At least in the US, the vast majority of recent grads seem to have the writing skills of a 7th grader.  I'll make a point to engage them via email and ask some detailed questions that require a lengthy response.  It at least gives me a chance to get a rough idea of whether they can string together a few sentences. 

 

Alumni who own or manage businesses, or who do hiring, tell us this constantly.  It's clear that good communicators land better jobs quicker.  We struggle to help incoming students, and offer remedial classes for those who somehow muddled through high school without learning how to write.  Bu with the drive to cut general-education courses in favor of specialized (STEM) courses, and means by which students can test out of writing-intensive courses, we have even less time to address student writing. 

 

It's very possible that writing has not been properly taught to younger people in K-12 education in the past two decades.  It's also possible that prior to the internet, it simply didn't matter as much even to many people in business or professions.  Secretaries and telephones meant that other workers didn't need to cultivate writing skills.  Now we all email and use word processors, management insists on more reporting from everyone, administrative support staff is cut, and more people in organizations must contribute to marketing and public relations.  There is a big need for writing skills, and so far it has proven stubbornly resistant to artificial intelligence.  

 

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1 hour ago, Fishwelding said:

 

Alumni who own or manage businesses, or who do hiring, tell us this constantly.  It's clear that good communicators land better jobs quicker.  We struggle to help incoming students, and offer remedial classes for those who somehow muddled through high school without learning how to write.  Bu with the drive to cut general-education courses in favor of specialized (STEM) courses, and means by which students can test out of writing-intensive courses, we have even less time to address student writing. 

 

It's very possible that writing has not been properly taught to younger people in K-12 education in the past two decades.  It's also possible that prior to the internet, it simply didn't matter as much even to many people in business or professions.  Secretaries and telephones meant that other workers didn't need to cultivate writing skills.  Now we all email and use word processors, management insists on more reporting from everyone, administrative support staff is cut, and more people in organizations must contribute to marketing and public relations.  There is a big need for writing skills, and so far it has proven stubbornly resistant to artificial intelligence.  

 

I blame the preponderance of texting / emails where you have autocorrect and other crutches.   You no longer have to really sweat the details, just bang out the message quickly and hit send.   There is a time and place for this mode but unfortunately, it carriers over into more formal writing.   I've found that my own writing skills have declined over the last few years as well.  Need to spend more time QC'ing my work before submitting it and while doing so, I find so pretty basic errors.    Sad...

 

 

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At least read it over once before you hit send. Most people don't even seem to do that........

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6 hours ago, Fishwelding said:

 

Bu with the drive to cut general-education courses in favor of specialized (STEM) courses....

 

 

Whoops!  Typo!  :rolleyes:

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