Whether your university has an academic success center or a tutoring program, it’s a good idea to get plugged into this resource — and even though it’s the end of the semester, it’s never too late to get help with your studies. Meeting regularly with a tutor isn’t a sign of weakness, nor is it an admission that you’re struggling; it’s quite the opposite. Availing yourself of the services of a tutor proves you’re smart enough to seek additional input to refine your paper or confirm your understanding of the class material.

When to Choose a Tutor? Now.

Ideally, you’d want to establish a working relationship with a tutor early in the semester. However, if you didn’t make it happen then, it’s not too late to begin working with a tutor now. Schedule a time this week to visit your school’s academic success center so you can begin reaping the benefits that come from using this valuable resource.

How Tutors Help With Papers

Writing papers is one of the most-dreaded aspects of college. Many tutors have tools that can help you conquer your fears and write a dazzling essay. For example, they can help you organize your thoughts, create an outline, and fill in the supporting details.

When you think you’re finished with your paper, have your tutor review it before you turn it in (be sure to leave time for revisions). Having another set of eyes reviewing your work enables you to catch mistakes and to fix them. Through collaboration with a tutor, you can expect to achieve improved grades on essays and other writing assignments.

How Tutors Support Your Homework

Tutors understand that learning doesn’t occur overnight. Processing and storing information happens over time as you repeatedly encounter concepts and work with them. For this reason, it’s a great idea to routinely involve your tutor in your homework assignments. If you’re struggling to understand the instructions, your tutor can help you work through them. Having trouble getting started? The tutor can offer suggestions on how to dig into the most difficult tasks. Homework is a staple of the learning process because it helps you retain, analyze, and understand new content. Tutors can help you work smarter and maximize your learning.

How Tutors Assist With Test and Quiz Preparation

Use your time with a tutor to review your notes and prepare for quizzes or your final exams. Tutors often have suggestions for how to organize the content you need to study in order to maximize your time and energy. Using flashcards, highlighting key texts, and verbally answering questions are a few techniques tutors may recommend to help you prepare.

It’s mid-November and just before the Thanksgiving break. What does that mean? Time to seriously think about that term paper you’ve been blowing off until now. When the turkey is settled and you’re back to school, it’s full-on term-paper until you turn that sucker in. To give you a little leg up, we’ve put together a short list of the most common writing mistakes. Get to know them so you can recognize them and avoid them.

Writing Mistake #1: Not Giving Your Paper a (Good) Title

You might complete many of your college papers in the wee hours of the morning with tired eyes and a belly full of coffee, but that’s no excuse not to include a title (and no “Term Paper” doesn’t count). You wrote the paper, so you know what it’s about, and thinking of something catchy will take only a few minutes. Your professors want to be interested in what you’ve written; help them out a little by providing a title that grabs their interest.

Writing Mistake #2: Relying on Cliches & Tired Metaphors

Cliches and metaphors are double-edged swords (yes, we’re busted as that is a cliche and a metaphor). On the plus, they’ve stuck around this long and become so part of our language that there is usually some truth in them. On the negative, they are so tired that they lack any power or punch in terms of real description. If it sounds tired, cutesy, predictable, expected, or repetitive, you need to figure out a way to say it differently.

Writing Mistake #3: Not Following Instructions

This one really should be obvious, shouldn’t it? The directions for your paper will likely be clearly written out, explained by the teacher — perhaps even in your syllabus. This includes not only the directions for the specific assignment but also how to format your paper and how to cite sources. You might even be given a style guide supplying guidance for punctuation use or outlining your teacher’s grammar preferences. But if you don’t follow the rules, it’s all for nothing. Many professors we know will be the first to say that they have received brilliant papers that they had to fail. Why? Because as brilliant as the paper was, the student didn’t follow the assignment.

Writing Mistake #4: Plagiarizing

There’s never any excuse for using others’ work as your own, even if you do it without considering what you’re doing to be plagiarism. You’ll find dozens of great resources out there to help you cite sources properly and give credit where credit is due. While the Internet is your friend on this one, copy-paste is not your friend. Just changing a few words here and there does not mean that you aren’t plagiarizing material. Make sure that the ideas and the words you use are your own. And cite those sources properly!

Writing Mistake #5: Sloppy Grammar/Proofing

There are lots of small, common grammar mistakes that can annoy professors to no end. Take a moment to look up the difference between its and it’s, learn when to use possessive apostrophes, and don’t trust spell-check to do your work for you. Spell-check can’t distinguish between homophones such as their, there, and they’re, so you’ll have to know which is the correct one to use. Buddy up with a friend not in the same course and read his/her paper and have him/her read yours. Each reader will be able to see things that the original writer missed.

Writing Mistake #6: Using Confusing Sentences

Before submitting your paper, read it out loud. You might feel weird reading out loud to yourself, but it’s a great way to catch confusing sentences that are missing words or that have vague pronoun references, such as a sentence that refers to two male subjects and then says “he.” Which one? A great rule of thumb: When you read aloud, if you stumble, that sentence needs rethinking and rewriting.

No matter which college you attend and which field you intend to work in after graduation, writing, grammar, and communication skills are very important. These skills can be learned over time, so don’t feel that you have to learn everything about them now. When writing, just take a moment to look up each grammatical question you encounter. As you do, you’ll learn where the comma goes, when a word should be capitalized, and how to use a possessive apostrophe. Remember that writing is a craft, which means that it requires practice — some of the best practice for becoming a better writer is to become a reader of writers who are known as craftspeople. Reading good writing provides a good model.

Job-hunting after a lifetime of education and part-time jobs can be both intimidating and frightening. The traditional process of networking, applying, interning, gaining experience, interviewing, and hopefully getting a paying position is painstaking, nerve wracking, and more uncertain than ever. If this system seems less than reliable, consider some careers on the road less traveled.

Teaching English Abroad

Teaching in the U.S. has a multitude of regulations, including various certification and degrees. Teaching abroad, however, often has less red tape. South Korea has one of the best paid opportunities when done correctly and simply requires a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree. On top of a decent paycheck, the programs also cover plane tickets and housing, leaving you to pocket most of your pay. Almost every region of the world has an English teaching opportunity, though many are simply a good way to fund a year abroad.

teachFor South Korea, it’s best to locate a service that places you in a public school and negotiates your contract for you. While South Korea is one of the best places to teach English, scams and unsatisfactory contracts do exist. Avoid hagwons or private schools and be sure your contract covers the ticket and housing. You do not need any teaching experience nor do you need to know Korean. There are many other countries in which new graduates can secure jobs teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) as well, including Vietnam, Taiwan, Spain, and more.

Content Writers

If you have any interest (or ability) in writing, check out a few content writing positions. As companies dig deeper into the world of blogging and social media, they find themselves in need of people who can write. Most of these positions are remote so you start work immediately and your office is your home. Rather than interviews and networking, just focus on is a collection of writing samples and consistent contact with the manager in charge.

To begin, find several positions that interest you. Craft a few writing samples specific to the content they will want as well as a tailored resume and cover letter. Identify the person in charge of hiring and send these materials to the person directly (if possible). Keep in touch but avoid becoming a nuisance.

Real Estate Agents

Becoming a real estate agent is a reasonably quick-and-easy process provided you are a self-starter with the ability to market yourself. First seek out a real estate course. The length of courses vary; some are a few intense days while others meet a few nights a week over the course of a month. Keep in mind that education and licensing requirements vary by state. Once you have passed the qualifying exam, you can focus your efforts on finding an agency to join and learning the tricks of the trade.

With the complicated ins and outs of the American job-seeking system, getting yourself on the road to traditional employment can be exhausting and discouraging. Rather than blindly flinging resumes into inboxes, take your career into your own hands. Travel abroad, craft the content that brings companies their business, or find people their dream homes. Just because you can’t see the opportunity on a job board doesn’t mean it isn’t out there.

Image via Pixabay by NgoHuuMoi

Guest Contributor James Mitchell is a freelance consultant who often volunteers with Intern Solutions, which provides resources for job training to students and helps guide young people to better career opportunities.

While lecturers and friends might be important, research suggests your academic advisor may be the most important person you meet on campus. According to a study from Missouri State University, students with a close relationship to their academic advisor are more likely to succeed in the classroom, feel satisfied with their college experience, and complete their degrees. Consider the following tips to develop a good working relationship with your academic advisor.

Meet With Your Advisor Regularly

Many colleges schedule a mandatory meeting between freshmen students and their first-year advisors. Many new students attend, then never see their advisors again. This approach will not get you the best results. To cultivate a good relationship with your academic advisor, make sure you meet up regularly. Use the compulsory meeting as a jumping-off point, then schedule a follow-up meeting at least every semester.

It’s a good idea to book an extra meeting when you’re faced with a big decision, like which classes you should take or switching your major. Advisors are busiest around exam time and before class schedules are due, so remember to book your meeting well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Chat Openly and Honestly

Getting to know someone is a two-way street. You’ll get the most from your relationship with your academic advisor if you share information about yourself. Talk about your passions, how you feel about your studies, and what you want to do once you graduate. The more an academic advisor knows about you, the better able they’ll be to recommend classes, programs, and career opportunities.

Listen With an Open Mind

As you get to know your academic advisor, you’ll realize that he or she has only your best interests at heart. Remember this and it’ll be easier to keep an open mind during your discussions. Your academic advisor isn’t just there to help you achieve the goals you’ve already established. A good advisor will also encourage you to consider additional or new goals that may better suit your interests or skill sets. Listen to this advice and keep an open mind about it. You can always choose not to follow through later, but considering something new could help you find a new passion or goal.

Take Notes During Meetings

Listening is important, but it’s not the only action you should take during meetings with your academic advisor. Come to your meetings armed with a pen and notebook or laptop, ready to take notes about pertinent topics discussed. The act of note taking itself can make you more alert during your meetings and help reinforce what you’re talking about. Your notes will also remind you of key details weeks or months after your meetings.

Some academic advisors offer to email notes and material to students, but you shouldn’t rely on this generous offer. Your own notes can be reviewed immediately and you can feel confident they’ll contain all the information you wanted to remember.

Follow our advice and you can get to know your academic advisor better and reap the rewards.