Archive for the ‘College Life’ Category

Back to Basics: Tips for Finishing up Your College Gen Eds

Categories: College Life

College students should aim to get their core classes out of the way early. It’s not always possible to know what field you want to enter in those first formative years of college. By taking time to get a sampling of different majors, it’s possible to seek out a degree that resonates with you and gives you a chance at a career you’ll truly love.

college gen ed classes

Take Your College Generals First
If you already know what career field you want to go into, then you may have to stagger your core classes over several years. Some degrees require you to take a certain number of degree-specific courses each semester to graduate on time. For those who have the flexibility to get their core classes out of the way early, it’s a good idea to get them done with as quickly as possible. Consider taking summer classes to finish your coursework earlier and spend less on tuition.

Use Your Credits Wisely
Try to put your credits to good use. If you know certain general courses will be easier for you, try to do more in one semester. You can build up the credit you earn and finish the simple ones first. If you have any extra credits from Advanced Placement or other courses, make sure you talk to a counselor so they count on your permanent record.

Challenge Yourself
If you can test out of an entry level course early on, you should aim to do so. While it might be easier to take a core class that doesn’t require much effort, challenging yourself will help in the long run. By taking coursework that is challenging, you train your mind to be more effective, alert, and capable of solving complex problems. The goal is to get a well-rounded education and to increase your awareness of the world around you. You’ll only sell yourself short if you go the easy route.

Take Online Courses
When there aren’t enough hours in the day to attend classes, online classes are a good option. You can even get your entire degree online with a program like Rutgers online, and free up time to get some on-the-job training, or intern in your spare time. Make sure that any online course you take will transfer to your main program. This is best accomplished by meeting with your academic adviser and asking directly if any courses you plan to take will transfer. Many colleges allow a certain number of transfer credits for your degree.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

image credit: franklin.edu

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Have Questions Before Heading Off to College?

Categories: College Life

Are you headed off to college in the fall?

If so, you’re probably thinking about all the things you have to do to get ready. Get in touch with your new roommate. Register for classes. Apply for some more scholarships. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to do most of these things, and you can always turn to your parents when you need help.

But what about those other questions you have? You know, the ones that you’d feel weird asking Mom or Dad. You don’t always want to go to the adults who know you well when you have questions about relationships, alcohol, or campus safety – after all, they worry enough as it is!

College life expert Harlan Cohen will answer some of these questions during a webinar later this month. 17 Things High School Grads Need to Do Before Going to College will take place on Monday, July 29.

Harlan is The New York Times bestselling author of The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College, so you can rest assured he knows what he’s talking about. He’ll give you some tips and advice to help you get comfortable before you head off to campus.

Want to find out more? Register here.

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Why Going to Community College Isn’t Just Like High School

Categories: College Life

community collegeCommunity college offers plenty of benefits. The costs are far below what you’d pay at a private school, and often in-state public schools as well. They’re close to home, which is great if you don’t want to live on campus. And they give you some more time to figure out what you want to major in or which four-year school you want to attend if you still aren’t sure or think your interests could change after taking some gen eds.

But oftentimes, it’s difficult for students to see the benefits of community colleges because of one thing: They think it’ll be just like high school. Being in the same area, going to school with people they already know, and living with their family makes them believe community college is just a two-year extension of high school.

Don’t let this common fear put you off applying to your local two-year college. Here are just a few reasons community college really isn’t anything like high school.

It’s Bigger
Some high school students assume going to community college means they’ll have to interact with everyone they knew in high school all over again. But community colleges take students from multiple local high schools and typically have thousands of students – there’s no way you’ll walk onto campus knowing everyone! Even if you do see a few familiar faces, it’ll be in a completely different environment (and truth be told, you may feel reassured when you do see people you recognize if you’re overwhelmed your first week).

You’ll Have More Class Options
Ever get sick of taking mandatory math or foreign language classes in high school? At community colleges, they may be optional. While you’ll need to confirm you’re fulfilling any gen ed requirements, chances are if you really don’t like a subject, you won’t have to take much of it, just like at a four-year school.

Similarly, you’ll be exposed to a huge variety of classes that a K-12 education just can’t offer. Medieval history, sculpture, ethics, and fashion merchandising classes may not have existed in your high school, but they’re probably available at your local community college.

Your Schedule is Flexible
Sure, your high school may have allowed upperclassmen to go off campus for lunch or take advantage of late arrival or early dismissal periods. But you probably didn’t get to customize your schedule based purely on your wants and needs. Are you a morning person? Schedule your classes for the morning and find yourself free all afternoon. Want to work hard and save money? Create a schedule that will allow you attend class two or three days a week and put in your hours on the job the other four or five days. You definitely didn’t get that sort of flexibility and freedom in high school.

There’ll Be a New Range of Extracurriculars 
Maybe your high school didn’t offer many clubs or sports that interested you. Or perhaps your school was so small there really wasn’t much available. That changes in college, even if you’re going to a two-year school. Join a poetry club, get involved with a political movement, or nab a spot on the Quidditch team if you’re a Harry Potter fan. There’s something for everyone on a community college campus.

With all this in mind, can you really keep saying community college is just like high school? Add your local two-year school to your college list. You never know, you could end up enrolling even if you’re set on another university.

image credit: washcoll.edu

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