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college student success

Student Life

Helpful Tips for Completing School Online

May 3, 2021

Completing school online is a choice you might make in order to free up time, cut down on a commute, or even save money. No matter what your reasons are for taking classes online, it’s important to manage school in a way that is efficient. 

Identify Academic Goals

First, figure out what your academic goals are, and what you would like to achieve. Maybe you need a certain letter grade in order to pass a class or something similar. Figure out what you hope to achieve before the semester is over, and create steps that are manageable and can help get you where you need to go. You can even break down certain steps that you’ll need to accomplish into smaller ones, which can make the process of reaching these academic goals easier for you overall. 

Create a Study Space

It’s important to have a study space to give you a place where you can focus on what you are trying to learn. While some people are lucky enough to be able to tune everything out and focus on their classes and studies intensely, not everyone is. It may make sense for you to invest in an office privacy booth where you can study without worrying about anyone disturbing your concentration. The booth can be placed in any large area, or even outdoors, if that’s what you prefer. Having your own study space allows you to get into the right mindset and focus on what is going on in front of you. It’s also a good idea to design your space with colors that appeal most to you, and decorate it with some personal touches. A calm and quiet environment will allow you to make strides in your studies while learning from home.

Plan Your Time Out

Get a planner and make sure you are carving out time for your studies. Because many colleges allow you to study anywhere, this can sometimes make it difficult, since you don’t have a set time you have to be at school. Craving out time forces you to focus on your class. You should also estimate how much time you’ll need to put aside for homework, writing any papers, or any other work that you’ll need to do in order to complete the class. It can be easy to forget if you don’t have it written down in front of you, so taking time to manage this step can be helpful. 

Don’t Get Overwhelmed With Classes

If this is your first time taking several online classes, it can be useful to try a few, and see how you can manage the workload. Again, it is often easy to overestimate how much time you’ll have. Doing only a few classes gives you the chance to see how well this works with your own schedule. 

If you plan on taking online classes, make sure you identify any academic goals you have and what you’ll need to do to complete them. Create a study space where you can go to focus on what you are learning, set up in a manner similar to school. Plan out your time, and make sure there is enough time for studies and additional work you’ll need to do. Finally, don’t take too many college classes and overwhelm yourself. These helpful tips can make it easier to study at home, without feeling frustrated. 

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Student Life

Tips for Staying Focused in Your Virtual Classes

March 30, 2021

Virtual classes can be seriously draining. It’s easy to drift off and become distracted during a virtual lecture.

With the option to turn your camera off, sometimes you can even forget you’re even in class! Here are some tips for maintaining focus.

Keep that camera on!

It can be so tempting to turn your camera off when other students are but keeping your camera on is a great way to stay accountable and engaged in class.

Ask questions

Participating in class is a good way to feel more connected to the online school experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class because you are likely not the only one feeling the same confusion. Your participation might even encourage others to do the same!

Take notes

Even if your professor posts their lecture slides online, it can be helpful to take notes in order to stay focused on the material. Boost your muscle memory by taking notes by hand, or type them if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a pen and paper handy.

Utilize office hours

Visiting your professor during office hours is a great way to make connections amidst a socially distanced time and to get further help with your class material. This is extra important if you’re in a large lecture full of hundreds of other students. Check with your professor to see when they are providing virtual office hours.

Be mindful of your environment

It’s a lot easier to stay focused when you are in a calm environment. If possible, try to find a quiet, comfortable spot to take your classes. This doesn’t mean your couch or bed! You can also try to communicate with others in your household that you need to be uninterrupted for certain hours of the day.

Good luck in your virtual classes and make sure to check out more of our ​articles​ for advice on navigating college life in the era of COVID-19.

Adulting Student Life

Learning to Drive in College

March 10, 2021

There is really isn’t a perfect time to learn how to drive. While it may be common for people to get their driver’s license in high school, for some, it may not be the right moment. Furthermore, accessibility plays a major role in learning how to drive at a young age. Not having a car or lack of affordable lessons can be just a few reasons why someone might not learn to drive before heading off to college.

With that being said, there are a number of benefits to learning how to drive — especially for the average busy college student. It can provide a greater sense of independence and open the door to new adventures, as just a few examples. It can also make commuting between classes, internships, and extra-curriculum activities a bit easier, especially if your current city or school campus lack public transportation services.

Whether you’re about to graduate or just starting your freshman year, learning to drive in college doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting.

Let’s Be Crystal Clear

There’s a lot to look forward to once you learn how to drive, but before that happens it’s important to do a bit of housekeeping first. Ahead of setting up driving classes or arranging a testing appointment, it’s worth getting your eyes checked.

Your vision needs to meet a certain standard before you’re allowed to hit the roads. Of course, finding a convenient eye doctor while in college isn’t always the easiest or most affordable. Luckily, there are eyewear services that allow you to try certain eye prescriptions and accessories at home. Having slightly blurry vision might not be a huge problem while in class or walking around, but it’s extremely dangerous as a driver. Make sure your vision is crystal clear before getting behind the wheel, even if that means investing in a new pair of glasses.

Get Ahead of Traffic

There are a number of surprises and challenges drivers can encounter on any given day. However, one thing that is not at all surprising to the average seasoned driver is traffic. Depending on the city where you attend school, traffic congestion could be a major factor you need to keep in mind while driving. Researching things like your college town’s local traffic patterns can help you learn more about what roads are best to avoid at what times. It’s also essential to study high-traffic rules and other safe driving practices to ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers. It’s a lot easier to manage things like sudden speed reductions, lane merging, and aggressive rush-hour drivers if you know what to expect beforehand. 

Start With Familiar Places

Like with most things in life, practice can help improve your confidence, but particularly as a new driver. Considering that driving is often much more than pressing your foot on the accelerator, a great way to build up your driving skills is with short and familiar routes. Whether that’s to a nearby park or to the bodega down the road, you can build up your driving skills, improve your reflexes, and work on your weakness without the pressure of navigating a new area.

Even though we’ve agreed there’s no right or wrong time to learn how to drive, there can still be some anxieties surrounding learning to drive at an older age. You can feel judged or embarrassed about not having a driver’s license yet, but don’t let those feelings stand in the way of your goals. Good luck!

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Student Life

How to Experience Study Abroad From Home

March 1, 2021

Many students were forced to give up their study abroad experiences amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be hard to have to stay home when you were previously dreaming of eating pasta in Italy or exploring museums in London. Although you may not be able to travel at the moment, there are a few things you can do to bring the study abroad experience to you.

Take a Cooking Class

One of the best ways to explore a new culture is through food. This past year many more cooking experiences have become available from chefs all over the world. If you have been dreaming of the perfect ravioli, there is no need to wait to fly across the world. ​Airbnb​ is currently offering international cooking classes, as well as websites like ​Cozymeal​.

Tour a Museum Virtually

Many museums are currently offering virtual tours that allow you to still experience culture and art from the comfort of your own room. Check out the Mona Lisa at ​The Louvre​ in Paris or the Rosetta Stone at ​the British Museum​.

Explore Markets Online

What is a trip abroad without some souvenirs? Many famous markets such as the Old Spitalfields​ and ​Portabello Market​ in London have gone virtual.

Find a Pen Pal

Make an international friend by finding your own pen pal! Use a website like PenPal World​, to connect with someone new. This can also be a great opportunity to practice a new language.

Get Lost in a Good Book or Movie

A book or movie can easily transport you to a different place. Explore media that can teach you more about a new culture and provide an escape from your routine. Opt for a foreign film and watch it with subtitles!

Although it can be disappointing when you have to cancel an experience that you have been looking forward to, it can be helpful to look to the future and hold out hope for future trips and new adventures. Check out more of our ​articles​ for tips on study abroad and navigating college life during COVID-19.

Other Student Life

10 Ways for Students to Celebrate Black History Month

February 14, 2021

February is Black History Month which is a time to reflect on the contributions of Black people in the U.S.

1. Educate Yourself

It’s always good to learn more and educate yourself on topics of Black History and issues that the Black community faces. You can find resources through your school’s library or also can find valuable content on YouTube or elsewhere online, such as David Ikard’s TEDx Talk The Dangers of Whitewashing Black History.

2. Donate to Black Non-Profits

Donating what you can to a non-profit that supports Black individuals is a great way to celebrate this month. Check out charitynavigator.org for a list of reputable non-profits that you can donate to this month.

3. Support Black-Owned Businesses

Check out these resources for locating black-owned businesses near you! It’s also valuable to note that instead of making a one-time purchase, make an effort to consistently support these businesses throughout the year.

4. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to stay entertained and hear different perspectives throughout your day. These podcasts with Black hosts focus on a variety of topics, including 1619 and Code Switch.

5. Diversify Your Social Media Feed

Social media can take up a lot of your day. It’s easy to endlessly scroll but it’s also important to notice who you’re scrolling through. If you’re looking to diversify your feed and hear from Black creators, follow accounts like @ohhappydani on Instagram and @aliciagarza on Twitter.

6. Read a Book

Here are some books from Black authors that you can read this month. You can also team up with your friends and read it together and talk about it after. Don’t know where to start? Check out this list that includes Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am and The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

7. Watch a Film

Make it a movie night and pick a documentary or film that highlights Black history. Check out this list of must-watch documentaries from PBS, including Freedom Riders and Slavery by Another Name.

8. Support Black Artists

If you are looking to spice up your living space or for a unique gift, check out some of these Black-owned Etsy shops.

9. Sign Up For a Virtual Event

Check out an event that your school is holding in honor of Black History Month, even if it’s being held virtually due to the pandemic. It’s always a good idea to learn more through your campus resources and to participate in dialogue with others.

10. Stand By and Support Black Students on Campus

Find ways to support your school’s Black Student Union throughout the school year and be sure to stand by Black students amidst instances of hate that are occurring on college campuses.

Make sure to continue to uplift Black voices throughout the year, educate yourself and reflect.

Student Life

11 Tips to Maximize Your College Experience

December 15, 2020

Headed off to college? That means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get the most out of your college experience (and we don’t mean just friends, football games, and all-nighters). The goal is to graduate from college in a way that’s life-changing. Here are eleven tips to get started. 

1. Meaningfully participate in extracurricular activities

The students who get the most of their college experience are the ones who get involved in ways that spark their interest and passion. This doesn’t just mean sports but also includes music, theater, leadership, volunteering, or other activities. If you’re planning on retiring from your primary high school skill, choose a new one before you get to college. 

2. Live on campus 

You have the rest of your life to live off campus. When you live on campus, you put yourself right in the middle of the action and energy of college. Let other people fight over electricity bills and the dishes. 

3. Leave your car at home. 

If you live on campus, it’s easier to leave your car at home. Not only does it save you a few thousand dollars a year on insurance and maintenance, but you also don’t have to worry about finding parking on campus or its corresponding fees, like a parking ticket. 

4. Get a bike

A bike is a great college alternative to a car. You save time and money because you can bike up to your classes, park, and lock. Plus it’s a great way to avoid that Freshman Fifteen! 

5. Take small classes

Do what you can to take small classes. This might mean moving to advanced classes sooner or taking less-popular majors. If you are only an observer in your classes instead of an active participant, you’ll miss out on the full college experience.

6. Learn from the great professors

Find out who the life-changing professors are and take the classes they teach. Look on professor review websites or ask upperclassmen. Taking classes from outstanding professors who are passionate about their subjects can have a huge impact on your life. 

7. Continue to apply for financial aid. 

While most financial aid is given to first-year students, there is typically money withheld for second year and beyond. Once you choose your major, ask professors about potential scholarships, and keep applying for private aid.

8. Try to only work a job during vacation and on weekends. 

If possible, don’t work more than 10-12 hours a week during the semester. Minimize the time spent at a job so you can maximize the time focused on schoolwork and college activities. 

9. Take classes that prepare you for life. 

By taking classes like art history, accounting, and computer coding, you’ll be at home in museums, prepared with the basics to run your own business, and have a foundational understanding of web development. College is the last time you can indulge in extensive education without also juggling a full-time job.

10. Get bilingual by graduation. 

Knowing two (or more languages) makes you more hireable, putting you ahead of the average applicant. Spend a semester and a summer abroad, or even a whole year, to learn a language.

11. Fill out the FAFSA each year. 

Many students will do all they can to qualify for financial aid before they go to college. But many don’t realize their parents need to complete the FAFSA every October. 

College is a great opportunity to learn new things and have life-changing experiences. Make the most of it with these tips! What else have you done to maximize your experience in college?

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.

Health

Healthcare Financing Resources for Low-Income College Students

September 21, 2020

Let’s face it: learning is its own reward, yes. But you’re in college primarily to build a better life for yourself and your family. You might be getting your education to escape the life of struggle that you have watched your parents endure.

But building a better life ain’t cheap. And, right now, what money you have goes mainly to school and to the essentials of living. Ponying up for private health insurance might feel like a luxury you can’t afford right now. 

Yet without that coverage, you’re also probably tempted to let your regular healthcare fall by the wayside. After all, you’re young and your physical and mental health care just might not feel like a priority right now. That is, not until you really need it. 

This article shows you how to finance your healthcare when you’re a college student living on a budget.

Know Your Options

When you’re looking to finance your healthcare, the first thing you should do is explore your eligibility for coverage under your family’s plan or through your university health system. In many cases, full-time college students can qualify for coverage under a parent’s group health insurance plan up to the age of 26.

If that doesn’t work out, you might be eligible for lower-cost student health insurance coverage through your college, university, or trade school. The chances are especially good if you enroll in a work-study program through your school.

Don’t Forget the Marketplace or Medicaid

If it turns out you are not eligible for coverage under your parents’ or school’s plan, don’t despair. There are still options. For example, depending on your income, you might qualify for Medicaid, which will allow you to enjoy good benefits at a relatively low monthly premium. 

The maximum income cutoffs for Medicaid, however, can be pretty stringent. If you’re above the threshold but still don’t earn enough to bear the often ridiculous costs of private insurance, you might be able to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

With the ACA, the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from nearly 16% to just over 9%. Through the Marketplace, you can choose the level of coverage you want or need — and the premiums you can afford.

Don’t Forget the “Extras”

Getting good healthcare is about more than funding your medical care. It’s also about taking care of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.  And that should include everything from mental healthcare to dental care. 

After all, life is stressful, and going to college on a shoestring budget is especially so. But getting care doesn’t have to be expensive. Case in point: you have a lot of options today for accessing low-cost therapy. This includes online therapy apps to help you access immediate, on-demand support from the safety of your own home if you are battling anxiety or depression.

And while you’re taking care of your body and your mind, you mustn’t forget your smile! Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to put off your dental care. Even if you’re in need of a non-essential or cosmetic procedure, such as a crown or veneer, there are funding options that don’t require you to break the bank.

If you set up a budget and cut out some of the extras you’re spending on unnecessary fees or on little luxuries, like your morning coffee run, you can probably cover the cost of your new smile or your other healthcare services pretty easily.

The Takeaway

Going to college on a shoestring budget is tough. But it doesn’t mean you have to do without the physical, mental, and dental healthcare you deserve. From finding coverage through your school to tapping the resources of the ACA to taking advantage of online therapy apps and dental financing, there are options available to ensure you receive the care you need.

Adulting

6 Smart Packing Tips if You’re Going to Study Abroad

September 10, 2020

Were you given the opportunity to study abroad? If so, you are probably counting down the days until you leave.

Which now brings us to the question: What will you bring? 

Trying to stuff all the things that you need into your suitcase or carry-on can probably be daunting, especially if you are unsure what is waiting for you the moment you step off the plane. 

Fortunately, we have come up with six smart packing tips to make everything a lot easier:

Pack for the Weather

Make sure that you research first the usual climate in the new city or country you are moving to, then plan accordingly. We suggest that you bring a light raincoat, a warm jacket, and items that can be easily layered. Remember that the climate of your study abroad country will make or break what you pack. 

Check Cultural Norms

If you are traveling to a country that is more conservative with how they dress, checking the cultural norms first will save you from packing items that will deem inappropriate in that country. This especially applies to clothes like shorts, dresses, and swimwear. 

The last thing that you want to do is to wear culturally insensitive clothes. For instance, you will not be allowed inside spiritual areas like churches or temples if you are not all covered up properly. 

Use the 12-Day Trick

We suggest that you pack outfits that are good for 12 days. That’s about two weeks worth of clothes. No matter how long you will be staying or studying abroad, chances are, packing outfits that are good for 12 days will be enough for you to attend class and explore the new place. 

If you feel tempted to pack beyond 12 days, then you might consider that shopping abroad is also part of the experience. 

Pack the Essential Documents

When studying abroad, you might need an extensive list of documentation. This list will often include:

  • Passport: This is your first key to studying abroad. Without this, you cannot travel outside of the country.
  • Visa: Depending on your country of origin, some countries won’t require you to have a visa. However, you might need to apply for a student visa since you’ll be studying abroad.
  • Medical Certificate: This is proof that you took flu shots and that you are healthy enough to travel.
  • Return Flight Details: Although not all, there are countries that require return flight details. This is to ensure that you won’t be overstaying.
  • Student Finance Documentation: You might also be required to prove that you can financially support yourself while studying abroad. This includes a letter to prove the capability for financial support from your parents or guardians.
  • University Letter of Acceptance: This is another proof that you are to stay in a country to study. 

Don’t Pack Things You can Buy

So you might want to pack a certain brand of shampoo or lotion you are using. But the thing is, these can also weigh down your suitcase. To avoid excess baggage fees, leave some of these items behind. Instead, opt to buy local products at grocery stores or drugstores once you arrive.

But you should also consider bringing travel sizes of these essentials. That way, you will have plenty of time to settle in once you arrive where you are studying. You will not have to run to the nearest grocery or drugstore to buy these essentials. 

Bring Your Gadgets

For most gadgets and appliances (curling irons, razors, and hair dryers), you might need a voltage converter. Usually, plugs from different countries are different, so is the amperage. 

Make sure to check with the manufacturer; more than likely you will find information on their sites about travel. That way, you will know whether or not a certain device can work with a converter. If it is not, it could potentially become a fire hazard, and might even destroy your appliance. 

Packing your stuff when you leave to study abroad can be challenging, but you can breathe in a sigh of relief once you are done. So, better get your suitcase ready, and prepare yourself as your educational adventure begins!

Career

Data Analytics in Business: Everything Students Should Know

September 10, 2020

If you are a business student at any US college, there are basic things that you should know. Currently, the world is relying on data to make every decision. Thanks to advancements in technology, data experts are able to analyze data to make sensible conclusions.

It is not too early for business students to know how data analytics works and how it impacts the business environment. The good thing is that many reputable schools offer this course. Let’s look at some insights on why students should acquire data analytics skills while still in college.

Data Analytics Explained

Today, the total data in the world is no longer in terabytes. Experts say that the current data in the entire globe is over 30 zettabytes. The amount of data is increasing rapidly, and every business has to account for this. As mentioned, data analytics involves the use of specific tools to analyze fresh raw data, generate sensible reports, and then use the results to make conclusions. Students in the US should start learning the skills involved in data analytics as soon as possible before they move into the actual work environment.

Why Students Need Data Analytics Skills

  •  Every business interacts with data – There is no single business in the US or the entire world that does not collect data. Whether students will create small startups or work for established companies, they will have to interact with data. The more skills they gather in school, the better their job performance will be.
  •  Enhance decision making – Young entrepreneurs with data analytics skills from school adapt faster in the work environment. They can quickly understand the concepts surrounding the business data they receive. Learning to make decisions that are backed by factual data as early as now is very crucial for all students.
  • Understand the right tools of work – Data analytics is all about using technology, particularly the right tools. By now, students should have a list of the most reliable tools they can use in any department. For instance, those who want to major in sales and marketing might have interacted with Tropare, which is one of the best providers of collaboration and data analytics tools for marketers.
  • Faster career growth – Most young professionals get a promotion at work if they adapt quickly and show exceptional results. With data analytics skills from a business school, the career growth path will be fast.
  • Accurate predictions – Some students in business schools can already make future predictions about the business environment. This helps them to prepare appropriately for what is to come. By the time they begin a business or are employed, they know the basics of the actual environment.

Conclusion

There are many more reasons why any business student in America should understand the importance of data analytics. Today, there is a high demand for data analysts in big firms. You can also use the skills to prosper in your own business. From the above insights, you probably do not want to miss this opportunity while you are still in college.