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Student Life

Planning to Study a Tech Subject in College? Here’s How to Prepare

January 26, 2021

Technology is an exciting field in which to specialize as there are so many strands, with links to IT, engineering, automation and robotics. With its ever-growing reach, employment is readily available in its related industries, and the expert nature of many roles can mean significant compensation.

If you’re thinking of studying a technology-related subject further in higher education, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Start Researching Courses

If you know the type of job you’d like to take in after leaving education, it’s a great idea to start looking up top college or university courses that focus on that particular discipline. Examine how each course works and think about whether it suits your ambitions. If you find an option you particularly like, take note of its entry requirements so you know what to aim for. Different courses focus on different specialisms, disciplines and processes. It’s important that your chosen option gets the balance of theoretical and practical study right.

Get the Grades You Need

Generally, tech-related courses ask for good grades in mathematics, science and IT – and solid skills in practical subjects such as woodwork, metalwork or design and technology will help you to stand out. To make you look great to a university or college, and to improve your chances of employment further down the line, you could also look at extracurricular courses. Many organizations now offer beginner and intermediate coding classes as well as other tech and IT guidance.

Think About Funding

How are you going to pay for your studies? It’s a good idea to start saving as soon as possible to make sure your tuition is covered. To make up the difference, you can take out a student loan from a private lender. You can gain approval without the need for a cosigner, making it easy to secure funds when it’s needed and you simply start to repay it after graduation when the time is right. There are also plenty of federal loan options as well. Many students opt for filling out a FAFSA in order to see any sort of financial assistance they might qualify for, some of which might be fully forgiven based on your particular situation. Lastly, there are many different scholarships available. A quick Google search will show various scholarship sites like FastWeb, FinAid, and The College Board, just to name a few. You should apply to as many as humanly possible, the worst they can say is ‘no’. Don’t forget to protect your investment with tuition insurance.

Start Studying Now

If you have the time, why not start reading more advanced material on your chosen area of tech right now? Developing a good level of knowledge at an early stage will help you to focus your efforts and gain a real level of expertise throughout your courses. Look up the names of the lecturers or teachers on your preferred course and find out about the papers and books they have written. Reading these will help you to get an idea of the specific subject areas you’ll be studying – and may inspire you to explore further into certain fields.

Think about subscribing to magazines or online communities and keep an eye out for new publications, television programs and lecture series about any and all technological fields – even if it isn’t completely relevant to your own chosen area of study. By staying curious in this way, you’ll find fascinating information and resources everywhere. It’s important to keep this habit up throughout your studies and career. It’s the key to becoming an expert.

Student Life

How to Manage Your Time While Studying Online

December 26, 2020

Online learning definitely has its perks, including no commuting, flexibility, and studying at your own pace . But since there’s little to no authority, the responsibility of sticking to your schoolwork is solely yours. You can only make it work with proper management skills.

If you’re an online scholar and find it hard to manage your time, this piece is for you. Here are eight tips on time management for learners pursuing online courses.

Designate Space for All Your Learning Tasks

A common challenge online students encounter is finding a suitable place for studying, classes, and group discussions. As a result, allocating time for studying and actually focusing can be difficult. You need a conducive environment for studying- whether in the house, at a café, or even local library.

Study space will help develop the proper mindset and actually focus. Also, ensure that you have the required software, a strong internet connection and power outlets nearby.

Don’t forget these important features of your study space:

  • Well lit
  • Clutter-free
  • Comfortable
  • Away from noise or disturbances

Plan Your Week Ahead

The flexibility that comes with online studying also bears a cost. If you are not disciplined, you won’t accomplish anything. Your regular schedule outside of schoolwork can take the majority of your days if you let it. That’s why you need to take charge of your commitments by planning. Set aside time ahead for reading, participating in group discussions, and tackling assignments.

Also, go through your schoolwork and figure out how you can prioritize. Some tasks will require more time, while others won’t. You’ll make better use of your time if you assess your syllabus to determine when you will work on particular tasks.

Use a planner and write down things like:

  • Assignment deadlines: paper drafts and submission copies
  • Virtual classes and meetups with educators and academic counselors
  • Other academic activities: group discussions, networking meetups, etc.

Devise a Routine Using a Schedule

When it comes to online learning, there’s usually no such thing as a routine. This freedom that comes with studying asynchronously online can sometimes lead to procrastination and laziness. Therefore, it falls upon you to develop a daily routine for tackling assignments and studying for your units. Start with making a daily schedule and to-do list and try to be consistent about following it.

Break Up Your Coursework

Some courses and even assignment might seem intimidating at first glance. And, you may be hard-pressed when scheduling them within your tight schedule. An excellent tip to managing your time and accomplishing things is to break up your coursework. Check what you’ve got to cover and break it down into sizeable parts that you can cover at different times.

Come Up with a Work-Life-Study Balance

You need to formulate an excellent work-study program, especially if you’ve got to attend online learning sessions and still show up at work. To develop a well-balanced plan that keeps you from wearing down, arrange your time to focus on these three essentials- school, job, and your personal life.

Go for a simple schedule that is easy to follow. And remember to pay utmost attention to every area of life at each moment.

Overcome the Urge to Multitask

Refrain from multitasking when studying online. Often, doing this undermines your productivity, making the learning process ineffective. Always focus on a single study activity at any given moment, for example, revising for a test, reading a section in a book, or attending a Skype appointment.

How do you plan your undertakings to avoid multitasking? To overcome this habit, many people recommend that you plan your activities according to importance. The first 3 or 4 time-sensitive and important tasks should come at the top of your list. Feel free to use various project management tools to enhance your focus.

Get Enough Rest & Start Your Day Early

Do you get enough rest? Do you wake up early? As a student, you need always to be well-rested and, better yet, an early riser to make the most out of your academic pursuits. How can you achieve both of these? To get enough rest and still wake up early, you must get to bed early and ensure that you get some quality sleep.

Today, many online programs allow for much flexibility, making it quite easy to extend your day well into the night to accommodate various activities. While this might seem ideal initially, this habit often wears down even the most hardworking of learners. Without enough rest, your memory and learning capabilities are undermined.

Stay ahead of your studies by getting a full night’s sleep throughout your online course. Try formulating a sleeping schedule that allows you to sleep for at least 8 hours each night and wake up around the same time each day.

Figure Out What Distracts You & Avoid it

What takes your attention when it’s study time? Whether it’s entertainment, social media, or a neighborhood gossip site, it’s best to identify and address it. Distractions tend to undermine the learning process by taking up your focus. As such, you can miss out on important concepts, making you waste a lot of time to understand.

If your distractions are on the internet, you could use website blockers such as KeepMeOut. Such tools will help you stay off social media or other platforms during study time.

Taking an online course remains an excellent idea for anyone who wishes to further their education. To make sure the process is as beneficial as possible, one must take command of the learning process right from the start. The tips in this article will go a long way in ensuring that your studying is effective.

Career Student Life Transition

Is Community College the Right Choice?

November 6, 2020

Growing up, many students and their families are led to believe that attending a four year college or university right after high school is the best decision. They hear that the quality of education will be better, the college experience will be more fun, and that it will look better on their resumes when it is time to make a career choice. But community college shouldn’t be overlooked simply based on the benefits of attending a four-year university.

Here’s why community college may be the right choice for you:

The Cost

Most families and students know that community college does tend to be less costly than a four year college or university. This is often one of the biggest reasons students begin their higher education career at a community college. Classes are a fraction of the cost compared to a four-year university, and it’s a good time to get the general education studies out of the way, or even take classes that simply sound interesting to you, since tuition won’t break the bank.

Credits Earned Can Be Transferred to a Four Year College or University

The classes you take at community college can be applied to your bachelors degree. Many students don’t realize general education classes, like your English and science requirements, are the same at both the community college and university level. Just make sure you’re passing your classes and meeting with your counselor to make sure you are on the right track to transfer your credits. It would also help to begin contacting the university you plan on attending to make sure your junior college credits will transfer and that you are taking classes that are equivalent to what is offered at their institution. 

Associate’s Degree May Be Enough for You

You can earn a degree at community college and be done with higher education, if you want. It’s totally up to you! Lots of students make the decision to pursue career options with just their associate’s degree under their belt. Other options include joining the military or attending a trade school.

Staying Closer to Home for a Bit Longer

Some students are hesitant about leaving the nest so soon after high school that they make the decision to attend a community college that’s close to home. This gives first year college students the opportunity to spend more time with their family and childhood friends, save money on school, and maybe even get a part time job. Attending community college and living at home can be an easier transition for students who are paying for school themselves or aren’t yet sure what they want to study at a four-year university.

If you and your family are trying to decide whether or not community college is a good decision, take these considerations to heart.

Student Life

6 Great Places to Study on Campus

November 3, 2020

Studying is a must in college. It’s how you turn those grades into a degree. Unfortunately, studying can sometimes be a hassle to your busy schedule. Also, finding a quiet place to study and keep you focused can be an issue. Typically, it’s hard to study in your dorm or your apartment with all the distractions around you. You may want to hang out with your friends or watch some Netflix. However, you have to get up and start studying!

Here are some of the best places to study on your campus:

Outside

Studying Outside

Depending on the weather outside, studying under a tree or at a picnic bench can be the perfect study area. You can enjoy the outdoor weather while studying your notes and getting your homework done.  If you don’t want a lot of noise where you’re at, try finding a place on campus away from the dorms where you can study.

Empty Classrooms

Empty Classroom

Another area to study is in an empty classroom. Generally, by the end of the day, most teachers and students will be out of the classrooms. This is your chance to study in a classroom where no one else can distract you and you can get some excellent studying done.

Campus Coffee Shops

Campus Coffee Shop

If you don’t mind some background noise, coffee shops throughout campus can be a perfect option for studying and getting homework done. The coffee shop will typically be full of students ordering coffee to wake them up for homework, but you can take advantage of the lively atmosphere inside and get some homework done. This is also a perfect place to meet up with classmates to share notes and go over what happened in your lecture.

Dining Halls

Dining Halls

Just like the campus coffee shop, your local dining hall can be another option for getting work accomplished. Most college students are hungry, and what better way to study and eat as much food as possible. You can meet up with group members or friends to discuss projects and homework with them.

Campus Library

College Library

The most obvious option is the campus library. Everyone goes to the library for peace and quiet. It’s a distraction-free zone to get all your work done. Your library will usually have study rooms or quiet floors. Take advantage of the study rooms! You can rent one for a certain amount of time and its a great option to getting a lot of work done without distractions. Watch out during finals week in the library. Hoards of students will come to study and it might be a distraction for you. Try renting out a room a week or more in advance so you’ll be guaranteed to study without the distraction of all the new students in the library.

Graduate Libraries

Graduate Library

If the campus library is too crowded or distracting for you, try going to one of the graduate libraries on campus (business, law, medical). You’ll be able to find nicer furniture and study areas and be less likely to run into anyone you may know. Also, some larger universities have smaller libraries spread throughout campus and these can be quieter areas for getting much-needed studying done.

If you want to find more ideas of places to study, click on these links!

Best 10 Places to Study on a College Campus

How to Find Great Study Spots on Your Campus

The Best Places to Study on Campus

Sources:

http://collegelife.about.com/od/academiclife/a/10PlacestoStudy.htm

Student Life

How to Stay Engaged During Virtual Lectures

October 30, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we learn, with an ever increasing number of courses now moving to an online format. But this doesn’t mean that students need to make any compromises in terms of their studies.

Virtual lectures provide all the benefits of more traditional teaching, and they can be just as effective when it comes to imparting knowledge. And of course, they’re also easily accessible and a safer alternative than in-person classes when it comes to Covid-19.

If you’re embarking on a new course with virtual lectures, workshops or seminars, take a look at our top tips on how to stay engaged to make the most out of your teaching.

Find a quiet space

Whether you’ve just moved into university accommodation or you’re starting a new course from home, you’ll definitely need a quiet place to study.

Set up a suitable study area in your university room or within your home, and try to make this area as quiet and distraction-free as possible. Then, when it’s time to log in and start a lecture, you’ll already have a study-ready space available, and those you live with will know not to disturb you while you’re working.

Free yourself from digital distractions

Digital devices can be great for online learning, but they also have an uncanny ability to divert our attention when we least expect it. 

Before tuning in to a lecture, make sure notifications are turned off on your phone and tablet, and shut any browser tabs that aren’t relevant to the lecture. Remember to close any email accounts that you might have open too, because it’s always tricky to resist opening a new message when you see one pop up!

Keep your sound on

There are steps that you can take that will subconsciously encourage you to stay focussed and engaged. And sound is key to this.

If you’re studying in a quiet space with little background noise, then it’s a good idea to keep your sound turned on as you watch the lecture. That way, you won’t be tempted to start talking to housemates, and you won’t get up to make a quick coffee midway through.

Focus on your lecturer

Some online learning platforms provide participants with a huge selection of information, from comments and feedback from other students to feeds showing everyone taking part. While these options are useful for certain forms of teaching, such as collaborative discussions, they can also feel a little overwhelming when they’re not needed.

If you’re taking part in a lecture and you need to focus solely on what’s being said by the professor, toggle the options to show only the live feed from your lecturer. Make sure your screen isn’t showing other participants, and take away the stream from your own camera, because that too can be a huge distraction.

Engage with others

Interactivity can be incredibly beneficial in online teaching, particularly when lectures draw to a close and it’s time for questions and comments. To get the most out of the interactive elements of your course, it pays to be as engaged as possible.

When it’s your turn to speak, make sure you look directly into the camera. Pay careful attention to how your professor and fellow students react to your comments, taking notes as others speak. Stay focussed throughout the discussion, and try to engage with other participants as much as possible.

Virtual lectures provide fantastic learning opportunities for students who are unable to gather at lecture halls for in-person teaching. Using the latest online learning platforms, these lectures offer all the interactivity of a traditional lecture, and they’re always accessible no matter where students happen to be.

While distractions can get in the way during online learning, there are plenty of steps that students can take to ensure that they squeeze every possible drop of knowledge out of their virtual lectures. Follow our steps and you’ll make the most out of your online course – without ever having to step foot outside your front door.

Author Bio: This article was written by conference and keynote speaker bureau, VBQ Speakers.

Other Student Life

Benefits of Extracurricular Activities for College Students

April 29, 2020

With the increasing pressure of getting good grades and the overall task of completing academics, ever wonder why our schools and parents prioritize extracurricular activities so much?

According to the US Census Bureau, a survey of school-aged children showed that 42% of these children were involved in sports, 30% were engaged in lessons, 28% were involved in clubs and a significant 9% of an over-enthusiastic bunch was involved in all three of these extracurricular activities.

These figures highlight and answer our question as to why extracurriculars are so essential apart from academics.

5 Essential Reasons Why Extracurricular Activities Are Great

However, here are five amazing reasons why extracurricular activities are totally worth your time and energy if you are still confused about investing in your academic resources.

  1. Exploring hobbies, passions, and interests

Extracurricular activities are separate from your academics. It is why you have the power to choose whatever you are passionate about. You can explore your interests and hobbies like art, pottery, gardening, and any other activity. You are not bound like in academics to study and pass your exam with flying colors. Your motives are purely driven by passion. You succeed and thrive to do it because you choose to and you might even find a newer interest that you can take up as your career in the future.

  1. Contributing to higher self-esteem

Acing studies is really tremendous, but doing well in extracurricular is an automatic self-esteem booster. Choosing what you love to do because you do it well is different. But doing something well because love to do it and you were passionate about is a groundbreaker. Not only will it help you get higher self-esteem and self-satisfaction, but it is a highly motivating, contributing factor to having a better life ahead.

  1. Better opportunities for socializing

Extracurricular activities are a great way to socialize and make new friends. Not only do you get to have a social circle, but those friends share your interests with you too. You get to talk about your interests, share thoughts, and create a community based on what you all do best and create a connection over your mutual passion.

  1. Fun apart from studies

As mentioned earlier, extracurricular activities are fun apart from studies. It is a healthy and constructive way of spending time doing something you like and are actually passionate about. It helps you take time out for yourself whenever you are stressed about studies and other responsibilities of your life.

  1. A valuable addition to your resume

Extracurricular activities add value to your resume. Nowadays, transferable skills that are learned from your outside hobbies and passions can be more relevant than academic achievements, not to mention making you stand out from the crowd of applications they have. Adding any kind of additional activities can only help you when it comes to your resume.

All in all, extracurricular activities are fun and engaging! Remember, when posed with the idea of being able to integrate hobbies and passions with real life, you should always take the opportunity and remember these 5 things, but don’t forget to put your academics first.

Bio: Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as a Content Strategist at Crowd Writer and Premium Jackets, excellent platform for dissertation editing service UK. She herself is heavily involved in sports and was an active participant in other extracurricular activities during her high school years. You can read her blogs at WordCountJet as well.

Career Other

3 Tips to Help New Students Decide Their Major

March 16, 2020

You’ve just arrived at college. Between the endless activities, free time and paths to choose for yourself, you are immediately bombarded with a plethora of choices to make. How do your study habits change? How do you make sure you get along with your roommate? How will you make friends? However, the most important one is a choice that centers on your education: your major. There can be a ton of pressure when choosing a major from friends and family, not to mention your own dreams of what field you’d like to work in after graduation. Here are three tips for helping new students decide their major. 

Consider Your Skills

When choosing a major, it’s easy to default right away to what you think will end up making you the most money. Everyone has occasional dreams of financial grandeur, and tying that into your decision of what to major in seems like a reasonable choice. However, make sure that when picking your major, you consider where your main skills and interests are. If you don’t have the passion for accounting but are a magnificent writer, think about how perfecting your writing to an elite level via an English major could pay off for you in the long run, versus merely being an average accountant. Sometimes, the “smart” choice in choosing a major isn’t necessarily the one that traditionally would earn you the most money. It’s the one where you can excel and perform at a high level. 

Think About After Graduation

When choosing a major, you’ll obviously want to keep what exactly it is that you want to do after graduation in the front of your mind. If you want to go right into the business world, a major that gives you a solid business background would be preferred. If you’re thinking about taking a gap year and then going to graduate school, a major that you think would help you perform well in your post-secondary education would be a smart move. While you certainly don’t have to be sure of what you want to do after graduation, you can think about a general field you wouldn’t mind having a job in and see if your education can inspire greater interest in the topic. 

Don’t Rush It

When you arrive at school, it may seem like you have to decide on a major as quickly as possible so you can start classes and tell friends and family about the direction you have. But don’t make the mistake of declaring a major just for the sake of declaring a major. Take your time to work through the different possibilities of what you could specialize in your head before making the decision. The last thing you want is to regret rushing to declare a major in a year when you’re in the thick of classes and it’s too late to switch. Think through what you really want out of your college experience, and then use that to guide your choice.

Choosing a college major is a high-pressure situation. However, if you consider what your skills are, think about what you want to do after graduation and don’t rush into making the choice, you can be sure that you’re making a choice that you can be confident in. Once you pick your major, you’ll be free to dive into your studies and enjoy all that the college experience has to offer.

Career Other

The World is My Classroom: Strategies for Online Learning Success

February 11, 2020

Learning never ends. It may be an old saying, but it’s one that’s taking on new resonance in today’s technological age. We now have more information at our fingertips than ever before in human history. Whether you are 20, 40, 60, or older, if you want to keep up and remain professionally relevant and cognitively sharp, you have to continually refine your existing skills and work to develop new ones.

That may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The great news is that today’s technology makes it easier than ever to advance your education or pursue new professional certifications no matter where you are or how busy you may be. There are online courses and academic programs, for example, at most every level, from basic skills to Ph.D. and Ed.D.

However, before you decide to enroll in an online course, it’s important to remember that e-learning is every bit as rigorous as a traditional, on-campus study. In fact, the time commitment may be even greater because you don’t have the benefit of attending a physical class to prove your participation. If you’re self-motivated and ready to commit, though, online courses can be the ideal solution, especially for busy working adults with families. However, to thrive in online courses, you need a bit of strategy.

Make It Work

If you’re considering taking online courses, there are a few study habits you need to embrace to get the most out of your learning experience and save yourself a lot of stress. Here are some highlights:

  • Get your tech in order: There is nothing worse than enrolling in an online course, only to find you don’t have the kind of equipment you need to use all functions of the online course effectively. While many online learning management systems (LMS) will enable you to access all course features from a cell phone or tablet, that’s not always the case, so make sure that your tech is compatible with your online course.
  • Check your access: You can’t very well be successful in an online course if you don’t have reliable internet access, so make sure you always have a Plan B, such as access to a local Wi-Fi hot spot should your internet go out. Many libraries, coffee shops, and fast-food restaurants provide free Wi-Fi but are careful about the security of the network. Have a reliable and efficient way to send and receive documents and other files without losing the formatting you need. Various kinds of PDF converters are available online to make sharing well-formatted documents a breeze.
  • Study every day: When you are taking an online course, it can be easy to put off until tomorrow what you need to be doing today. After all, you don’t have regular class meetings and your teacher’s appraising stare to keep you on schedule. In an online course, though, the work can mount up very, very quickly. To manage an online class without becoming overwhelmed, it’s better to study a bit every day than to try to cram it all in a once or twice week panicked study session.
  • Do NOT isolate: One of the most dispiriting and detrimental things an online student can do is isolate. It can be easy to feel lonely when you are taking online courses but remember you are NOT alone. There is an entire classroom full of students on the other side of the computer screen, not to mention your professor and advisors. Reach out to them early and often. That is why they’re there!

Learning should always be constant and consistent. So whether you are wanting to get a new degree, or simply trying to learn a new language through an online course; as long as you follow these tips from GradGuard, you will definitely be set up for success.

Other Transition

Advice for Transfer Students: 5 Ways to Adapt to a New College

January 9, 2020
Happy

Depending on your outlook, transferring to a new college can be an exciting opportunity or an intimidating experience. From learning the campus to making new friends, transferring can be a challenge, but, we have some secrets that will make it a smoother adjustment. With these tips, it shouldn’t be hard at all.

If you’re a transfer student, here are five ways to adapt to your new college so you feel right at home!

1. Attend Orientation

The first thing you need to do is learn the layout of the campus, so make sure you attend your orientation! You’ll get a guided tour with current students who can answer any questions you have. It’s a great opportunity to learn about campus life, academics, and social activities.

Orientations are for new students only, so it’s also a chance to meet other students who are new to the school just like you!

2. Meet With Your Advisor

Schedule a meeting with your advisor as soon as possible. They will be able to tell you what classes you need to take, what credits transferred from your old school, and what you need to do to graduate on time.

College advisors are a great source of other information too. They can provide guidance on career paths and connect you with professors who specialize in your field. Advisors are there to help you succeed before and after graduation.

So don’t be shy! You can ask your college advisor questions regarding anything you want to know about your new school!

3. Get Involved in Campus Activities

Graduating on time should be your main focus, but you can’t study all the time. You also need to have some fun! Join clubs, teams, or other campus organizations that interest you. This is a great way to make new friends that are passionate about the same things as you.

Technically, classes are campus activities. So make it a point to get involved in class discussions as well. Being active in class is a good way to connect with other students and impress your professors at the same time.

Don’t assume that everyone on campus already knows each other. Especially if you’re on a big campus, most people won’t even know that you’re new. As long as you put yourself out there, you’ll make new friends in no time!

4. Attend Campus Events

Most colleges provide lots of free (or inexpensive) activities for students. So attend football, lacrosse, or basketball games. Check out performances from the campus theater group, orchestra, or jazz band. Go to art exhibitions or networking events for professional development. Head to a yoga class or sign up for a fitness course at the campus rec center.

These are just a few of the ways that you can expose yourself to new things and meet new friends in the process. Be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to do fun things with new people. You’re going to have a blast!

5. Live on Campus

If possible, live in an on-campus dorm. It will be much easier to assimilate into the campus culture if you eat, sleep, and hang out there. Plus, it’s the best way to get the full college experience.

It’s tempting to want to live in an off-campus apartment, but as a transfer student, you run the risk of isolating yourself, especially if you don’t know anyone at school. Living in a dorm will instantly put you amongst other students. As long as you make a point to introduce yourself and start conversations, you’ll quickly become a part of the scene. Some of these people just might become your new best friends!


If you want to make your transfer as easy as possible, start by attending orientation. Then, meet with your advisor to make sure you’re on the right track academically. Add a few clubs and organizations that interest you, start to take advantage of campus resources and events, and live on campus if you can. It will help you get the most out of your college experience.

With these tips and tricks in mind, it shouldn’t take long before your new school feels like home! 

Bio: Elaine Chavez is the Business Manager at 625 Broadway. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She is passionate about helping people find the perfect place to call home and shines at building a community that everyone is proud to be a part of.

Other Student Life

Rate My Professor

December 6, 2019

One of the best pieces of advice often given to incoming college students is to “take professors, not classes.” Having good professors makes all the difference in college which is why Rate My Professor is an absolute must-use site.

RMP is a website that allows students to, well, rate their professors. Students rate professors and the difficulty of their class on a scale from 1-5. Students are also asked whether they would take the class again and are forced to leave a written review. This is an extremely useful tool when deciding which professors to take classes from and can make a huge difference in your college success. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when using RMP. Here are five tips to help you use RMP to its full potential:

Number of Reviews

First, it is very important to keep in mind the sample size that a certain professor has on RMP. If a professor only has 10 reviews, then RMP might not be an extremely useful resource in this case. Pay attention to the number of reviews a professor has!

Consider the Rating

Students that leave reviews are typically on one extreme end of the spectrum: a vast majority of reviews on RMP are by students that either absolutely love or absolutely hate the professor. This means that a lot of professors have an overall ranking of around 3. This does not necessarily mean that they are a bad professor! When this is the case, you need to do a little deeper research.

Read the Reviews Carefully

Third, you must read the reviews that students leave. This is where you will find out if the professor favors homework or exams. You will learn whether his lectures are engaging or monotonous. Former students will tell you if attending class is necessary or if you can get by without going. Every student has a preferred style of learning, and it is important to choose professors that match your style.

Read Reviews for the Right Class

Pay attention to which class students leave reviews for. Every review will show which class the student took. Some professors are good at teaching one class and not so good at teaching other classes. This might mean that a professor has a relatively average overall rating while still excelling in one of the classes they teach. For example, an economics 110 professor can have great ratings from his Econ 110 students and less than average ratings from his 400 level students.

Leave a Review!

Make sure to pay it forward by leaving a rating on RMP after you take a class. RMP has helped all of us immensely, so it’s really the least we can do. Be honest in your review and write something that will be useful for future students considering your professor.

Choosing classes for the next semester can be a little daunting, but definitely be sure to use Rate My Professor to make that decision just a little easier.