College

Tips for Taking Online College Courses

During my four years of college I took several online courses. Although I was a traditional student, taking most of my classes in person, I found that taking classes online was, in many cases, a great alternative. My experience taking these non-traditional classes gave me some good insights into what it takes to be successful as an online student. Here are some tips:

  1. Research Ahead of Time – As with any college course, it is usually a good idea to do some research on the course and the professor before registering. Sites like ratemyprofessor.com can provide useful information, but the best sources are your fellow students. Sometimes you may be able to get a sneak peek at the course syllabus on the department’s website, which is even better. Keep in mind when getting comments about a professor online or in person that the person you are hearing from may not be the same kind of student you are. For example, if you typically make straight As, you may want to disregard some complaints about difficult tests or strict grading of papers. I found that many negative comments about professors come from lazy students venting their own failures. Getting the cold hard facts on things like number and length of papers, frequency of tests, and number of assignments is most useful.
  2. DO NOT Buy Textbooks Ahead of Time – One semester I registered for an online Anthropology course, and when I went to pick up my books I found that the class required a single textbook for $200. I decided that, rather than paying that insane amount of money, I would roll the dice and begin the class without the book. I came to find out that all of the tests were exclusively multiple-choice and allowed enough time for me to look up the answers online. Almost all of the information needed to answer the questions could be found with a simple Google search. In the end, I saved $200 and earned a B in the class. So, start the course and give it some time to see if you might be able to survive without spending all that cash on a book. Most in-person classes have daily readings and class discussions that make it impossible to avoid buying the textbook, so this is a distinct advantage of online classes.
  3.  Check the Course Website Every Day – Without a human being breathing down your neck, it is easy to lose track of important deadlines. Generally summer classes require you to log in every weekday, while fall and spring classes designate two or three days out of the week when you must appear online. It is usually best, however, to check at least once every day of the week if possible. New assignments and announcements can pop up any time, and it is up to you to keep track of them all.

These are the best of my online course-taking tips, leave your comments and questions and check back later for more advice on saving time and money with online classes.…

Spring Break Tips for College Students

Enjoy the beautiful weather and spending time with your friends during spring break. Make some memories you will treasure forever. Remember to use caution and don’t act in ways you would not do at home. Come back alive from spring break; remember all the people who love you and don’t do something stupid that would cost your life and give them unbearable pain.

Safety Tips for Spring Break

Don’t get in a car with people you do not know. Many a young lady has gone missing this way and ended up murdered. Spend time with your friends during spring break and don’t make a silly decision to leave a bar with strangers. This quick decision could cost you your life.

Forego the wild vacation sex with strangers. Don’t experiment with a new lifestyle on spring break. Being wild sexually with strangers makes it too easy to obtain sexual diseases and a lot of emotional pain when you return home and realize you made a very stupid mistake and now have to go to the doctor.

Don’t drink excessively. Don’t imbibe so heavily you endanger your safety. When one is drinking heavily judgment becomes cloudy and one makes decisions that later will be seen as very stupid. Drinking heavily sometimes leads to death. Also, if one is so intoxicated she can barely function sometimes a predator will take advantage of that situation.

Don’t go swimming late at night or when you are intoxicated. Save ocean swims for daylight hours when there are lifeguards on duty. Don’t mix drinking and late night swims either. Remember to follow basic safety rules to avoid tragedy.

Don’t go out alone. Stay with at least one friend when traveling around on spring break. Don’t go to bars alone and do not walk back to the hotel alone either. There is safety in numbers so stay with friends and enjoy a safe spring break.

Leave a note in the hotel about where you are going. In case something unusual happens, always leave a note about where you are going when you leave the hotel.

Don’t flaunt bling when on spring break. Why encourage theft? Leave the bling at home when you head out for spring break. Theft is common in hotels so you don’t want to leave valuables there. If you are wearing the bling it just encourages someone to follow you to rob you or worse to douse your drink with something and then after you pass out steal your bling.

Enjoy a fun and safe spring break by using common sense and caution!…

Tips for College Students: How to Take the Most Out of a Class

Everyone has heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder.” That phrase is the key to surviving college classes. You don’t need to stay up until 4AM every night (or later) studying for the hardest class. The key to getting the most out of a class is in smart, simple choices that make learning easier.

Choose your seat wisely. If you are easily distracted or know a certain class will be really tough for you, avoid sitting in the back of the classroom no matter how tempted you are. Sit in the front or as close to it as you possibly can. Sitting in the front ensures you are closer to the instructor and many distractions that grab other students won’t be a problem for you.

Take smart notes. That means, don’t copy what your instructor says word for word. Acknowledge the most important words, such as names, dates and vocabulary words that are included in your text. If you don’t write fast, you can take a highlighter and highlight most of what is said because most of the time what your instructor says is taken directly from your text. Also, abbreviate when possible, and avoid spelling out full words if you can help it. These short hand notes will help you keep up with the lecture allowing your full attention to focus on what is going on in front of you. Don’t forget to take neat notes as well. Notes that look like a three-year old wrote them won’t help you a few days later when you look back over them. Chances are, you won’t be able to make out too much of what you wrote, so you’ll be confused later on.

Record lectures if possible. Some instructors don’t allow this, so always ask before you attempt to record a lecture. You can buy a cheap voice recorder from Wal-Mart; you’ll have more than made up your money if you use it enough. Recording lectures allows you to come back to them later so you can listen to it again. This comes in handy especially if you’re more of an auditory learner. It will also help you take notes, especially if you’re not a fast writer. Another plus to this is, you can go back and revisit parts of the lecture over and over again that you did not quite get. This will allow you to ask better questions if you have any about a certain point mentioned in class.

Invest in highlighters and use them! You can purchase a pack of these for under $2 in most areas. They also come in many colors but I recommend using plain old yellow to highlight. Yellow is easiest to see and is very eye grabbing. Don’t highlight whole pieces of text in your book either. Highlight only what is important. Note things your instructor points out in class because those are most likely going to be on exams or quizzes later. If an instructor takes the time to mention them, then it must be important. Remember that. Highlighters will also come in handy when it’s getting close to exam time and your instructor tells you what to study for. You can highlight the first word in a string of text and that will tell you to revisit that piece of text later.

Use your whole notebook page to take notes. Don’t limit note taking to the middle of the page. Your notes are yours and will not be seen by anyone, nor will they need to be turned into your instructor. You can use the margins of your pages to add …

Quick Financial Tips for College-bound Students

I hate the fact that there are thousands of people out there who are completely clueless to the free money that is offered for people trying to get a higher education. At one point I was one of these people. I don’t claim to know everything, but I do know a few things as to which I would like to share with anyone willing to take the time and do the work.

  1. Don’t let anyone discourage you from attending college because of your financial situation. With dedication to scholarship searches and federal aid there is a way to finance your education. There are scholarships out there for everyone, not just the ones in good academic standing.
  2. Don’t listen to the statements that you’ll have time to make decisions about college later. From the minute you make the decision to go to college, you should begin thinking about what you what to do with your life and where you want to do it at. Having a good idea of college plans allows you to be ready when it is time to apply for federal aid.
  3. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Never assume that you’ve applied for enough. If there is money left over from covering one semester or year, it can be carried over to the next semester/year.
  4. Deadlines approach quickly and some require knowing where you will be attending college. Keeping track of deadlines prevents missing out on scholarships and provides you with time to get the needed documents.
  5. Keep loans in mind, but don’t commit to any until it is known that you will need them. There are loans that are interest free and some that have high interest rates, so make sure to view every detail when considering a loan. Try not to sign up for credit cards unless you plan on not using them which will be hard for any college student. Credit cards can also get you with their interest rates.

My list of tips could go on forever, but this is a good start of tips that anyone should know about in regards to college finances. I know that this list will give a push in the right direction and get you into the mind-set of your finances when concerning college. There might be a continuation of the tips in another article, so keep your eyes open to another set of tips.

An Insider's Guide to College Textbooks

While college is a wonderful thing, college textbooks are not. Students are often charged way too much for textbooks and publishers often put out a new edition every year, even though it isn’t needed. The following tips will help college students not only get a good deal on their textbooks, but it will also give them some information that only the insider’s know about.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #1: Cheaper Prices Online

Many students don’t realize that they can get their books cheaper online. In fact, you can actually get college textbooks for under $1! I have found many deals at Amazon and Half.com. Over the past two semesters I’ve probably saved around $300 shopping online for my books. Do a little comparison shopping online before buying your textbooks.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #2: New Editions

Many people don’t realize, but textbook publishers put out new editions in which all they change are the page numbers. They may move the sections around a little, but that’s it. It’s always a good idea to talk to your instructor about the book that will be used, if it’s a new book.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #3: Campus Bookstore

Avoid the campus bookstore like you would the plague. Campus bookstores charge outrageous prices for college textbooks. Books that you might find online for $5, you will pay $50 for in the campus bookstore.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #4: Bookstore Buyback

One good thing about the campus bookstore is the ability to sell your books back to them at the end of the semester. Most campus bookstores will not care if you bought the book from them or not. You will usually get half or what the bookstore originally charged for the book.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #5: Online Buyback

If your bookstore will not be selling the textbooks you have, during the next semester, you can always go online and sell your books. These companies usually provide the shipping labels, so all you have to do is mail them the books and they’ll send you a check.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #6: Highlighting and Other Marks

When you plan to sell your college textbooks back to the bookstore or online, you will get more money for books that are free of blemishes. So avoid writing in your book or using a highlighter.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #7: Used

If you can get used textbooks, that’s the way to go. You can get used textbooks in the bookstore or from students who have already taken the course. Also check online stores like Amazon.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #8: Not Always Necessary

A college textbook is not always necessary. In fact, some courses never even use the books that they make you buy. Talk with students who have taken the course before and see if the textbook is used and how often.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #9: More Than One Course

Sometimes there are textbooks that are used for more than one course. This means you will be able to use that book for more than one semester while only paying one price. Check course descriptions and find out which books will be used for future courses.

An Insider’s Guide to College Textbooks #10: Other Editions

If you talk with your instructor you may find out that you don’t need the new edition of the book that the older edition will do just fine. This will save you a lot of money.

 …

Tips for Taking College Courses Online

Taking college courses online is a very different experience than taking traditional in-class courses. You have to be very disciplined while you take an online class. Communicating with professors may be more difficult than if you took the class at school and you may even find that they are more difficult. It is very important to stay on track and keep up with your work.

After taking multiple classes on-line, the best piece of advice I have to offer is to print out your syllabus! This will be very helpful. Even though they will be posted on-line, it is better to print it out and be able to hold it in front of you. This way you are always aware or what is coming up in the future weeks of class. Since you will not be meeting weekly at school, you may not be reminded of upcoming assignments. It is also very important to look ahead and read directions for , if you have a question or need help, let your professor know immediately. Sometimes it can take a few days for professors to respond back to you, which is why you need to let them know your question right away. It will be easier to plan out your studying and set aside time for assignments once you read over your syllabus also.

Since you do not have the experience of being in class for a few hours, it is very important to set aside the time that you would have spent in class while you are at home. You can read over notes or your book, or finish assignments during this time. It is imperative that you set aside time in your schedule for your on-line class, otherwise it is very easy to fall behind. Since you will be in charge of reading all necessary information for tests and assignments, you need to have good reading habits. Try not to be around any distractions. Highlighting important information is very helpful, taking notes while you read is also helpful to look over later when you are studying.

Be sure to always check your e-mail. Your professor may send you changes in assignments or special notes, since he cannot hand them out to you, his only way to contact you is through e-mail. Check your school e-mail at least once a day in case there are any critical changes.

You may realize that you are doing more work in your on-line class than in your other classes. If you do not like working independently, you probably will not enjoy taking courses on-line. You cannot procrastinate in your on-line class. It is very easy to take the day off and say you will read tomorrow. However, try not to do this at all. Your reading will pile on and will just make it harder in the long run. Make sure that you are ready to be dedicated to working independently in your class before you register for on-line courses. Following these tips will help you succeed in your class.

Best Tips for Keeping in Touch with College Pals

For most of us, summer means ditching the dorm or sorority house for a much calmer home base: the ‘rent’s house. No more toga parties or dinners served by women in hair nets. But the worst part of leaving campus? Your best friend is no longer two doors down. This means you can’t meander your way to her room at 3 a.m. with a big bowl of Ben & Jerry’s when the boy doesn’t call.

But just because a few (hundred?) miles now separate you and your old roomies/classmates/lunch dates does not mean that you have to lose touch

Use the internet! For most college students, the internet is a major part of their lives. Between adding applications on Facebook, posting new kissy-face pics on MySpace and checking news sites, blogs and e-mail accounts, 42% of college students say they use the internet primarily to communicate socially, according to the PEW Internet & American Life Project. While making a long distance call can sometimes be expensive and inconvenient, services like MSN Messenger or AIM provide an easy, non-committal way to keep in touch. Even if your friend isn’t at their computer when you fire off an IM, he or she can get back to you minutes, hours or days after receiving your message. E-mail is also another fabulous way to let your pals know what you’re up to. And if you’ve got a blog you feel comfortable letting people who know you in real life read, let your girls in on the address.

Text messaging and photo messaging. Maybe you can’t take your girls with you to the hair salon anymore, but you can still get their feedback using picture messaging. Texts are easy (and usually fairly cheap) to send, so there is really no excuse not to keep your friends updated on all the big and not-so-big happenings of your summer life. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Snail mail. Remember that pen pal you had in 5th grade? How about keeping in touch with your college friends through good old snail mail? Think of all the possibilities – you can send each other stickers, photos and other little mementos. If you want to go all out, you could engage in a little clothes-swapping, like sharing a particular shirt or accessory and writing about your experiences while wearing it (a la The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Everyone loves getting mail, especially when it’s a cute letter or package from a faraway friend. It’s okay to act like a kid again every once in awhile and what better time than summertime?

Web cams. Not everyone can afford one of these babies, but long-distance couples swear by using web cams to keep in touch. This way you can see your friends beautiful face (and expressions on that face when telling you about their latest crush) all from the comfort of your computer chair.

There are tons of simple ways to keep in touch with friends over the summer. Whatever method you chose, just remember that it’s truly the thought that counts.…

College Adjustment First Year Tips for Survival!

College first year adjustment can go smoothly if you are prepared to know what to expect and set realistic expectations! Many colleges have high transfer rates because the students do not feel like they fit in. Students who have not have much experience away from home find themselves alone and depressed. Success can be achieved the first year of college, if you do your research and prepare!

Roommates can be a point of contention for many students. If you go to college with plans to room with your best friend that may be great. That also may be a disaster! After you live with a person you can become tired of being with that person. If you live with someone, they become familiar and sometimes a target for your stress. The best way to handle your relationship with your roommate is to pace yourself! Do not do everything with your roommate! Go to the library by yourself, do things with other friends, eat by yourself. This will let your roommate know from the beginning that you do not have to do everything together. As much as you want to spend all your time together, don’t! Setting this pace will allow you freedom and the luxury of not getting into a big fight when you finally realize you need some you time! This principal also works for boyfriends and girlfriends!

Work regular hours. If you think of you should have no problem succeeding. You wouldn’t take a two hour lunch break, if you were accountable to a boss. Set your hours from let’s say 8 to 5. Take little breaks, but try to stay as productive as you can these hours. Remember he who works hard plays harder! Allow yourself to let loose at night, don’t lock yourself away from the social scene, just make sure you can find that balance!

Make lots of friends! Join groups if you really want to, but they really aren’t necessary to join to find friends. In college, most friends are made in the area of study the student chooses! Most art kids are friends with art kids. Most bio majors end up being friends with bio majors. This rule does not always apply, but generally people feel comfortable with people they have something in common with. So this is a good place to look for friends! If you think you are going to be an art major, take art your first semester so you can make some friends in your field!

One thing you need to remember in college is to be as nice as you can! Whenever someone hears another person talk about someone, they remember and think of that person as judgmental. Everyone is afraid of being judged, this behavior will make you less attractive as a friend! Make lots of friends! Make friends with the opposite sex and with people that do not share your gene pool. You can never have too many friends. If you do make friends that make you feel uncomfortable for any reason, just drop them, no apologies and no regrets! While college is a wonderful experience for you to make friends, it is not the reason you are there!

Learn early good study habits! Study by yourself at the library. Do not listen to things that will distract you while you are studying! Take advantage or free tutors, writing centers, advisor’s, counselors, and all the support a good college should offer. Don’t be afraid to talk about your fears or disappointments. Leaving home and suddenly being responsible for yourself is a big change, you can’t expect …