You’ve got a part-time job, a full college course load, and you’re on your way. But that calculus class is turning out to me a really tough nut to crack. In order to maintain your grade point average, and save your mental energy for everything else, it may be time to try tutoring.
For many first-generation students — students who are the first in their family to attend college — post-secondary education is a huge deal. They’re taking a different path than the rest of their family, one that their parents may not understand or even support. In many cases, they have more financial stresses than other students and may also feel like they don’t belong on campus. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources to help first-generation students adjust to college life.
College sets the stage for employment, pressing students to choose the right education for their career hopes. Although it’s an easy prospect for students with clear work goals in mind, others are slow committing to an academic major. While picking a program early in your college career has advantages, being undeclared might not be so bad.
College poses plenty of legitimate challenges, so the last thing you need is a senseless setback during school. Unfortunately, scammers may have you in their sights, preying on your search for any valuable internship experience.
Colleges have gotten better at feeding students. Your university food service program probably includes more dining options than a single, predictable, cafeteria menu. While the variety may make campus dining more bearable, it isn’t exactly mom’s home cooking. For a more satisfying eating experience during school, spend some time at your local grocery store and explore other creative ways to stay nourished.
College is supposed to prepare you for the “real” world, so challenges are expected. Unfortunately, one of the biggest trials facing many college students is finding money to pay for school. Federal and private loans help them make ends meet.
Unless your college fund is flush, you may need help paying for school. Fortunately, there are several types of student aid available, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Most college students draw from one or more of these resources when covering college costs. Which one is best for you?
Paying For Your Education
College spending extends beyond the price of tuition alone. The cost of housing, books, meals, and other necessities pushes up the price of earning a degree. And regular expenses don’t go away during school either. If you are like most college students, you’ll need outside help to keep up with these extraordinary costs.
Financial aid comes in three forms. Scholarships are earmarked for high achievers who excel in athletics, academics, and civic capacities. If you are a star athlete or an exceptional student, you may be able to land a scholarship. Students who demonstrate need to pay for school are offered grantsl. If your financial outlook prevents you from paying for college, a public or private agency may extend a grant, enabling you to attend. Grants and scholarships do not require repayment.
Student offer a popular third financial aid option, issued by the U.S. government and private banks.
Public and Private Loans
Student loans are offered by private lenders and through U.S. Department of Education programs. These must be repaid after you leave school. Government-backed options have the best interest rates and repayment terms for students, so the Federal Direct Loan Program is the top source for low-interest college loans.
Before you enroll in school, it is important to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA asks questions about your family finances and the cost of attending the college you’ve chosen. Your answers help financial aid officials determine which types of student aid are best for you. If your FAFSA shows financial need, you may be eligible for federal grants.
The last option for students are Federal loans. These loans have the lowest possible interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible for unsubsidized loans. Interest rates may not be as low as subsidized alternatives, but unsubsidized federal loans are still more affordable than similar private loans.
In addition to low interest rates, subsidized student loans offer flexible repayment terms. You have the option to defer payment under certain conditions. During deferment, the borrowed amount does not accrue interest, helping graduates get on their feet before interest payments are due.
When scholarships and grants aren’t enough to cover the cost of college, students turn to loans. Your best bet is a Federal Direct Loan, but private options are also available.
College offers a world of opportunities, but trying to keep up with your grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and maintain a healthy social life is overwhelming. You want to make sure you don’t overschedule yourself; doing so can lead to burnout, fatigue, and more serious health issues. Here are some tips on how to prevent overscheduling yourself while in college.
Setting priorities — for both academic and non-academic commitments — will help you tremendously. You’ll want to have an academic plan that outlines what courses you need to take. Before each semester, make sure to review your academic plan so that you schedule your classes appropriately. This is especially important if you choose to work part time or participate in extracurricular activities.
Next, you’ll want to review your non-academic commitments or other areas of your life that you value such as family, personal finances, and free time. Once you’ve considered your non-academic responsibilities, set priorities for them and compare them with your academic responsibilities. Now, set realistic priorities that allow you to focus on the most important aspects of your life. Make sure you’ve left yourself some downtime. Remember that if you have to squeeze something into your schedule, you need to either remove that task or rearrange your priorities.
Keep a Calendar
Try using a physical calendar like a planner to maintain your schedule. Using a physical calendar might sound pre-historic to most millennials, but think about using something visual that outlines your life laid out in front of you. You can see what you have to do on Monday and Friday all in one view. With a physical calendar, you can also write notes or reminders in the margins, which you can’t do with calendar applications on smartphones and other electronic devices.
If you thought you were a master at multitasking while in high school, then college will test those skills. In fact, multitasking will help you survive while in college. However, multitasking requires practice, and certain activities are easier to balance than others. For example, if you ride the bus or train around campus, you can open up your notebook and study your notes during your commute. Texting during class, on the other hand, isn’t such a great idea because it interferes with your learning.
Schedule Some Downtime
When setting priorities and creating your calendar, be sure you schedule some downtime. Set aside a block of time on your calendar that is just for you, and don’t alter it under any circumstances. You’ll eventually become an expert at telling people no when they ask you to do something else. You can spend this time alone or enjoy a night on the town with friends.
Every college student has felt stressed out for many reasons, but you can avoid stress from overscheduling. College is a busy time, but setting priorities and filling your calendar wisely is going to reduce stress levels. So, leave yourself time for mental breaks; your physical and mental health will thank you.
Attending college is a personal and financial investment into your future. College is the time to develop personal and professional skills that eventually mold your marketable or “transferable” skills. These skills will help you further down the road when you finish school and enter the workplace. By identifying and strengthening your abilities, you can get a jump-start in the job market.
What Are Transferable Skills?
Transferable skills are those qualities, talents and personal attributes that most employers want to see. You’ll develop these skills during your college years when you do internships, complete academic projects, and participate in campus activities. For example, communication, organizational, interpersonal, and leadership abilities are transferable skills because they show an employer how valuable you are. In fact, if you’re applying for a job that you have no experience in, transferable skills can show that you can do the job.
Skills You May Already Have
When you think about your communication skills, ask yourself how strong your public speaking skills are and if you’re able to coherently articulate your thoughts. Not only are your verbal skills essential, but your nonverbal skills are critical, too. For example, how well do you write or edit? When you consider your organizational skills, think about your ability to multitask, set deadlines and follow through. If you want to assume a leadership role after college, think about your ability to delegate, build teams, and resolve conflict.
If you’ve identified that you lack in some of the above abilities, there are some actions you can take to improve those skills while you’re in college.
How to Boost Your Transferable Skills
To expand your communication skills while in college, you can participate in classroom presentations or become a member of the drama club or debate team. You can also take part in internships and take advantage of opportunities that allow you to present to your co-workers.
You can boost your organizational skills, ability to multitask, and time-management skills by doing other projects in addition to your classroom projects. For example, you might have a semester-long math project and an organization at your school that’s asking for volunteers for a project. That would be an opportune time to improve your transferable skills.
Finally, you can strengthen your leadership skills by participating as the team lead on group projects. Perhaps you can take on the role of president in one of your school’s student organizations. You can also participate in activities outside of school, like becoming a board member for a local charity. How well you communicate your transferable skills on your resume and during a job interview will be the key factors to landing that position.
So, remember the old saying that we have to crawl before we can walk. At some point, we’ve all had to experience our first job. College is the time for you to learn who you are and to develop yourself professionally. But, your marketable skills will play a vital role in your future success, and building them starts before you enter the workforce.
It feels like you’ve been staring at the same blank document for hours, yet inspiration just won’t come. Few things are as frustrating as a case of writer’s block. It can strike at any time, especially when you’re afraid of failure, feeling stressed or tired, or suffering from the effects of conditions including depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety. However, there are some ways to combat the problem and kick writer’s block to the curb.
Create an Outline
Many of us have writer’s block because we know what we want to write, but we aren’t sure how to write it. We agonize over the details, and that prevents us from moving forward. If you relate to this search for perfectionism, you may benefit from creating an outline.
An outline can give you a template for your writing. It doesn’t need to be perfect, and that can be very freeing. Note the points you want to write about, any quotations you will use, and the information you’ll include in your introduction and conclusion. With this outline as a guide, you’ll find it easier to flesh out your writing.
Take a Break, but Avoid Procrastinating
Sitting at your computer willing the right words to come can quickly become frustrating. In these instances, you need to break the cycle to break your writer’s block. Walk away from your screen and try to focus on something else. Going for a walk, watching a favorite TV program, or indulging in a creative passion like painting or baking can give your brain a rest and help it recharge.
Just make sure you don’t break for too long and start procrastinating. It’s important to give yourself enough time to work through your ideas and come up with the best paper you can.
Work the Problem Through With a Tutor
Tutors can help you tackle all kinds of academic problems, including beating writer’s block. When a nasty case strikes, schedule a meeting with your tutor. Talk about the problems you’re facing and what you want to express in your writing. Your tutor can help you organize your thoughts and develop them in your writing. He or she may also review your work after you’re finished. Knowing that another set of eyes will assess your work before you submit it can ease some of the pressure you feel and help you beat that writer’s block.
Just Start Writing
Stop second-guessing yourself and let the words flow. Imagine you needed to stand up and present a speech on your topic now. Write down the words you would use. Don’t worry about whether they’re formal enough or technical enough. The important thing is to simply get them down. You can go back and edit your work later. As you start to write, you’ll likely find the writer’s block fading away and your confidence growing. You might even be surprised to find the words you wrote when you were feeling blocked aren’t as bad as you imagined.
When writer’s block strikes, take a deep breath and put these steps into place. It shouldn’t take long before your creative juices are flowing again.
Your college tuition covers the cost of on-campus amenities, so you might as well use them whether you’re a first-year student or finishing your last year of study. Here are four ideas to get you started.
Most college campuses have a fitness center where students can run on the treadmill, lift free weights, and use exercise machines. Other common amenities include swimming pools, football and soccer fields, and tennis courts. Some schools even have rock-climbing walls.
If you’re looking for something more structured, you may want to look into fitness classes such as yoga, dance, or kickboxing. Looking for a group sport? Check to see if your school offers intramural leagues. Information is usually listed on the college’s website, but you can also call or visit the recreation center to learn about events or programs that didn’t make it online.
If you’re struggling with a particular class or just want to boost your grades, make sure to check out the on-campus academic resources. Need help with a paper? The writing center can teach you writing strategies, give you feedback on structure and content, or help you with developing the draft. For subject-specific help, check out the individual or group tutoring services. The tutors are usually students who successfully passed the class already.
Some schools offer workshops on general study techniques such as time management. Also keep in mind that colleges should provide reasonable accommodations for students with learning disabilities or hearing or visual disabilities. Contact the learning center to find out if it provides more learning aids such as recorded notes. In certain circumstances, the school may allow extended time for taking tests.
Health and Counseling Services
With a health center right on campus, there’s no excuse for neglecting your well-being. It’s useful whether you’re ill, need to book your yearly physical exam, or just need to ask for a prescription renewal. Depending on the college, you may also be able to get any needed blood tests in the same building. Free counseling services are also available if you ever need to talk to someone.
Because you’re going to college to train for a career, it goes without saying that your school is one of the best places to find career-related resources. Haven’t chosen a major yet? A career counselor can help you go over your options. Searching for a job or internship? The adviser can give you interview tips, discuss job-search strategies, or help you with your résumé.
It’s also a good idea to conduct research on your own. Most colleges post resources through their websites so students can take self-assessment quizzes, explore career paths, research different industries, and more. You should also keep an eye open for on-campus events like career fairs or networking workshops.
Make the most of your college experience, and check out at least one of these amenities. To learn more, you can search your school’s website or call the main campus line to be patched through to the correct department.