Whether new to the college scene or a seasoned student, creating a successful college experience takes work for most. Unlike high school, college is education that students pay for through loans, scholarships or savings.
“You’ll want to make sure that investment pays off by getting good grades,” says Amanda Castro, the director of Prospective Student Services at the University of Oklahoma.. [pullquote]“I think it’s very important for students to have a life outside of their studies. Finding time for everything you want and need to do is all about prioritizing your day.”[/pullquote]
For some students, that can be easier said than done.
“I have found that many students simply did not have to study in high school,” says J.J. Smith, assistant director of Student Services at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa. “The material covered came easy to them, and they truly haven’t learned how to study.”
Smith says the best advice he can offer incoming students is to not procrastinate. The theory is that students should study two hours for every hour they spend in class, she says.
“If a student is taking 15 credit hours, they should reserve 30 hours a week for studying,” says Smith.
Despite best efforts, there may be a time students find themselves struggling, says Castro.
“College is different than high school for a reason,” says Castro. “This transition takes students from a highly structured high school environment to a highly unstructured one in college. If there is one skill that students need when they get to college, it is time management,” she says.
However, the best college experience can be all about finding the right balance, says Smith.
“Too much of anything can be bad for a person,” Smith says. “I think it’s very important for students to have a life outside of their studies. Finding time for everything you want and need to do is all about prioritizing your day.”
Smith suggests that students make a list of things they need to do along with an estimation of how long it will take to complete the tasks. Rate each task by importance, he adds, then start to work on the list.
“Typically, lack of planning is what causes most students to feel stressed in their day-to-day schedule,” says Smith.
Finally, it’s never too early for students to start planning what they will do after earning a degree.
“Students can begin working with a career services department on their resumes and interviewing skills long before a job search begins,” Castro says. “The advice they can give will assist students in becoming the most competitive candidate for a job.”
Through coaching, counseling, practice interviewing and more, students who seek these services should walk into the job market ready to showcase themselves, she adds.
“Typically, employers are looking to hire students during the fall semester of their senior year,” adds Smith. “Students without any field experience will have a more difficult time landing that dream job.”
Some students don’t know how to take notes that will work for them. There are a ton of books on note taking in the library, and most writing centers have tips on how to take better notes.
Many students wait until night to study, but most individuals learn best during daylight hours. Figure out what time works best and make it happen.
Find the appropriate study area. Some need absolute quiet, while others work best with a lot happening around them.
Limit interruptions. Turn off the electronics, including cell phones.
– J.J. SMITH, OKLAHOMA STATE
UNIVERSITY – TULSA.