Many college students find themselves overwhelmed by the quantity of assigned reading. Even those who took rigorous courses in high school, such as advanced placement classes, might struggle to keep up with the required material their professors assign. Fortunately, there are ways you can become a better reader in order to maximize the time you spend reading and to improve your comprehension and enhance your ability to retain information.

Choose the Right Setting

Even though you might think you’re getting ahead by squeezing in a few pages here and there, it isn’t effective if your brain isn’t picking up the information you read. Visual distractions, loud or continuous noises, intrusive lighting, and the presence of other people can all reduce your ability to read textbooks quickly and remember what you read. If you find yourself rereading the same paragraph or page, the chances are high that something in your environment is distracting you. Find a quiet, comfortable place to read so that you can consume the content efficiently.

Read With an Engaged Mind

Even if you find the right environment, you might still read without grasping the information. Your mind could wander if the content seems boring. To engage your mind and improve comprehension, go beyond simply reading the material. Underline key points, mentally answer thought questions in the text, or jot down an outline of the content as you go to keep your brain alert.

Enhance Your Reading Rate

With practice, you can learn to use speed reading techniques while studying. For an easy start, try using a pen or your finger to guide your eye through the content. Because your eyes want to follow the movement, they read the content quicker than they would without the guide of the pen.

Skimming is another speed reading technique. Because it results in lower comprehension, it’s best to skim only when you’re assigned content the professor already covered in class. Skimming the material instead of skipping it altogether will help cement your retention of the information, because you’re essentially reviewing content you’ve already learned during the lecture.

Maximize Your Time

One strategy for making the best use of your time is to join with other students to split up the assigned reading. Within a small group of committed students, you can provide each other with thorough summaries, reducing the amount of actual text you have to read. This system works only if every student does his or her reading and creates a meaningful overview for others to digest.

Learn how to determine which assigned readings are important. Some professors lecture on major points from the text. When you’re short on time, you can skip sections that the professor thoroughly discussed in a lecture.

Another way to maximize your time is to listen to books while you exercise or drive. If you’re assigned a novel, you might be able to get the audiobook, depending on the title.

Whatever you’re reading, make notes on concepts that you don’t understand. There’s nothing productive about reading information that makes no sense. Your professors, their teaching assistants, or the members of your study group can answer your questions to help you understand what you’ve read.

You want your college years to be memorable and enjoyable, not just a time when you studied, panicked, and partied. There’s more to college and one way to make the most of the college experience is to join a student organization. Here are some of the perks you can expect:

Fun and Friendship

Familiarize yourself with the student organizations that operate on your campus, and join one that speaks to your interests and goals. Everyone else in the organization is likely to have a similar outlook, so it will be easy for you to strike up quality friendships that will last well beyond graduation day. You’ll also have fun as you learn the ins and outs of how to plan meaningful events.

Experience, Employability, and Networking

It’s never too early to think about your resume. Joining a student organization can provide you with valuable experience, even if the organization isn’t closely related to your intended career. You’ll still learn important skills, such as how to be a team player, how to plan events, and to raise funds and awareness.

Participation in a student organization can signal to employers that you’re passionate and willing to go the extra mile for causes close to your heart. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out for a leadership position in the organization. Learning how to lead will serve you well throughout your professional career.

Don’t underestimate the power of the connections you make when you join a student organization. You’ll meet people school and in the community who will be willing to help you when the time comes to apply for jobs.

Time Management and Improved Grades

Yes, joining a student organization will make you busier, but it may also help boost your GPA. An article from Boston University Today quoted one student who said, “The busier I am, the more focused I become. Working really makes you more structured; you have a lot of things to do in a short amount of time, so it’s important to keep up with it all.”

If you’re skeptical about whether you can juggle your studies and participation in a student organization, talk to your peers who are already participating. They might have some tips and advice on how to avoid burnout and make the most out of every minute in your schedule.

Besides helping you focus and manage your time, joining a student organization can provide you with some study buddies who will motivate you to dominate your next exam.


Whenever you put yourself in a new situation, you’ll learn about your likes and dislikes, your natural talents, and the things you need to work on. Joining a student organization will reveal layers of yourself that you may have only glimpsed before.

Signing up for a student organization might be just what you need to take your college experience to the next level. Why not give it a try?

Staying healthy is challenging for many college students. You want to eat properly and get enough exercise, but how do you find the time? Here are four healthy habits that are speedy and sure to help you stave off getting sick.

Drink Enough Water

This is the easiest and cheapest health tip that we can give you. Your body is made up of about 60% water and it uses water to regulate its temperature, keep your skin healthy, and eliminate waste (yay for sweating and peeing, which are your body’s awesome built-in detox mechanisms). When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to contract a urinary tract infection or become constipated. Drink water with each meal, and carry a water bottle with you to class.

To save money, ditch the plastic water bottle and get yourself a reusable one. If your tap water isn’t the greatest, invest in a filter to improve the water quality. You can flavor your water with lemon slices or other fruits to keep things interesting. Juice is another option, but keep in mind that many juices are loaded with sugar and calories. Doctors recommend that you drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. You don’t have to go that far, just try to up your intake and be mindful that your body needs water more than just when you feel thirsty.

Stretch Away Your Stress

When you’re in college, stress is pretty much a given. Unfortunately, chronic stress can cause headaches, irritability, insomnia, high blood pressure, and even shortness of breath and full-blown panic attacks. Yoga is excellent for reducing stress and for increasing your energy levels. Check to see if your school offers yoga classes; many colleges now offer them for free or for an affordable price. Also, there are many free online routines that you can follow at home.

If yoga isn’t your thing, other options include tai-chi or walking. Try one of these exercises for 15 minutes once or twice a day and see if you notice a difference. We bet that you will and that it will be for the better.

Keep Those Germs Away

Okay, we won’t blame you if you’re rolling your eyes right now. Of course you already know to practice basic hygiene, the importance of washing your hands, and that it’s best to avoid your sneezing roommate. But you might be surprised to learn where germs like to hide.
NSF International tested the homes of off-campus college students for common germs such as molds and bacteria. The three most germ-infested items were the dish sponge, the shower drain, and the kitchen sink drain. The grossest part? All three items had E. coli. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Other germy items included the coffee pot, the shower head, and the kitchen faucet handle. Unless getting sick is your idea of a fun time, make sure to clean these areas regularly. There are lots of green cleaners now that will kill bacteria while being environmentally friendly.

Healthy People Eat Breakfast

When you’re always on the go and pressed for time, good eating habits can fall by the wayside. However, there’s no excuse for skipping breakfast. No matter how busy you are, you need to eat something when you wake up. Skipping breakfast increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes, and it usually makes you gain weight because you find yourself hungry soon after and eating all the wrong things to compensate. Your memory and attention can also suffer, which isn’t what you want for your morning class.

As long as you’re not drinking alcohol or scarfing down junk food, practically anything will do for breakfast. If waking up early isn’t an option, stash a banana or a muffin in your bag the night before so you can eat on the go. Have time for something hot or a trip to the dining hall? Go for something like eggs and turkey sausage — plenty of good fats and lean protein there. If you’re in a hurry, make it a low-fat yogurt for a shot of protein.

Remember that the last thing you want is to get sick and be unable to attend classes or to complete assignments. Try following the tips above in order to help stay healthy throughout the semester. They are preventative steps and good habits that will pay off throughout the term and beyond.

As you progress through college, you may start to think about the value of the degree you’ve chosen, the job you want to have after college, and all of the other experiences and skills you want to build for your future job. That’s where a minor comes in.

Depending upon your school and chosen major, a minor may be something that’s easy to tack on and will still allow you to graduate on time. For others, it may add on a semester of work. Some colleges even require students to choose a minor when declaring a major. There are many benefits to going the extra step, such as following your passion, enhancing your major, increasing your chances for employment, amplifying your expertise, and exploring something new.

Follow Your Passion

This is the reason many people get minors that have nothing to do with their majors. If your minor is about following your passion, you might try singing, dancing, theater, a foreign language, yoga, ceramics, or anything else that you want to learn more about. These are unlikely to lead to a job, but they’re enjoyable and they make you more well rounded.

Enhance Your Major

A minor can also act as an enhancer for your major. If you’re interested in becoming a journalist who focuses on environmental issues, consider pairing your journalism major with a minor in environmental studies. Doing so gives you an extra set of skills to add to your knowledge base.

Increase Your Chances

The job market is very competitive, so anything you can add to make yourself stand out will give you a leg up when applying for jobs. A minor can also help you to narrow your focus and find the exact jobs that you want after graduation.

Amplify Your Expertise

A minor can complement your major, making you more of an expert in your field. It helps you to focus in on landing a specific job, but it can also broaden your knowledge horizons.

Explore Something New

This falls in line with following your passions. Your minor doesn’t have to be something that will benefit your career; it can be just something that you find interesting or have always been intrigued to learn more about.

A minor can be a big asset for having the right set of skills and expertise to get hired for the right job, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Depending on your school and financial situation, a minor can add on a semester’s worth of classes and a large financial burden. That just might not be worth it for some students. If you want to pair it with your major, don’t forget to look for online courses or community college courses that might save you money. Even if you’re not getting a minor, you can still take a few classes or even just one in a new subject that you find interesting or would benefit your major.

For whatever reason you choose, make sure that you’ve thought about the burdens and rewards of adding a minor to your degree plan. As long as you know why you’re giving yourself extra work and financial requirements, it can be a wonderful asset.