From High School to College or University – 2 – Preparing the Foundations of Successful Study

During the early days at college, you will be setting the foundations for all your future studies. This is, therefore, a crucial time in tilting you towards success or failure. As with anything new, you will soon form habits, and it is up to you to ensure that those habits are good habits.

There are certain areas of college life and study in which establishing good habits early on can help you towards your goal of good grades and a successful graduation. It is well worth focusing your attention on these areas before arriving at college, and in your first few weeks there. By doing so, you can establish some good study habits, and make your college life run that much more smoothly and successfully. The following are some of the key areas of your new life of college study where you will need solid preparation and attention from the outset.

Acknowledging the Competition

It is the brighter students at High School who will probably be the ones who make it to college and university. You were one of those, but you will notice a big difference in your relative position at college. Whereas before you may have been one of the top students in your class, once you get to college you will just be one of many bright students.

By being aware of this increased competition, and being mentally prepared for it, you are more likely to shine again in your new environment, rather than feeling overawed by the other intelligent students. Also bear in mind that with the right preparation and improvement of your study skills, and by establishing the right habits, you can perform better than even the most intelligent student.

Scheduling Your Time

One of the big differences at college will be the amount of “spare” time you have. You may only have 15 hours of lectures in a week, and it is up to you to schedule the rest of your time. Whether you succeed at college or not may well depend on how well you are able to organize yourself, and schedule your time to best effect.

So long as you are aware of the dangers of wasting that spare time, then you will have a chance of scheduling it wisely. Time management skills are therefore worth acquiring before you even go to college, and there is plenty of useful information online about managing time. Regard time management as an essential study skill, and prepare accordingly. It will stand you in good stead for the future after college as well, as time management is just as important in business or working life.

Harder Work

One thing is certain, and that is college work will be much tougher than High School work. If, after a few weeks, you do not think it is harder, then the chances are you have not grasped what you really need to do to keep up with and on top of your studies. You should go to college expecting to work hard, and then ensure that you do.

Note Taking

Another major difference between the learning methods at High School and college is the need, at college, to take copious notes in the lecture room. You should be mentally prepared for this at a minimum, but, like time management, you can acquire skills on note taking to make yourself more efficient. You will be pressed for time at college, so in every aspect of your study, it is wise to improve your study skill. That includes note taking.

Faster Reading

In the lecture room you need to become efficient at taking notes. Outside of the lecture room, you will have an enormous amount of reading to do. Such a volume may seem overwhelming, but reading is another area where you can improve, and thus increase your ability to study effectively. Speed reading is a talent anybody can acquire, and if you can acquire it before you reach college, so much the better.

Memory

Once at college, you will be bombarded with information, facts relating to the subjects you are studying. Being great at reasoning and making use of facts is no use if you cannot remember those facts in the first place. Improving your memory is therefore something you will benefit greatly from. Even if you think you have a good memory, you can improve further.

I went back to studying, for a professional qualification, 12 years after leaving school. Not being academic as a student, and having a “poor” memory, I knew I would have great difficulty competing mostly against 21/22 year olds fresh from university. So, I focused on my memory, learnt as much as I could about memory techniques, and that was enough (plus hard work, of course) to not only help me keep up, but in some cases keep ahead of the competition.

Improving memory really does make a big difference to your study prospects, and also in later working life. It is another study skill that will always be with you as you move on to other things after college or university.

By preparing yourself in the areas of note taking, time management, faster reading, and memory, you should have a head start on other students, even if they are brighter than you. By such preparation and focusing on your study skills before going to college, it is you who will appear the brightest, as you come across as well organized, able to grasp and recall facts with ease, and able to get through a lot more work in a shorter time than those around you.

What Are the Most Common Problems Students Face at College Or University?

Having worked with many thousands of students at – and beyond – many colleges and universities both in the United Kingdom and more internationally, I have seen at first hand many of the most common problems that students experience and also been involved in their resolution so I feel that I am able to provide some comment here.

Therefore, in this article I am going to now look to provide you with guidance on some of the areas where the most common problems have arisen for students studying at college and/or university and as to how these problems may be resolved. This is because it is an inescapeable fact that studying at college or university in modern time can be both a daunting and fun period in your life that has only been exacerbated by the current world’s economic problems that are being experienced internationally in almost every country.

As a result it is perhaps little wonder that money and issues of finance are a central concernt to students. This is because almost all students are constantly lacking funds and have to find ways to finance their housing, nutrition and – of course – their entertainment. Therefore, it cannot be overstated that there is a need for students now more than ever to look to work to a budget and plan what you are going to do with your money throughout the whole academic year – you may also find that getting a part-time job will help so go to your college or university’s employment bureau and see what they can offer you.

Another common problem – those of us who experience the dreaded ‘Clearing System’ will know just how bad that this can be! – is with getting on the course you want in the first place at your chose college or university. There is a need to appreciated that the more popular your course is with students like you, the more difficult and competitive you will find it to get a place studying that subject. Therefore, you need to look to make your decisions and sign up for the course that you want to have a place on as quickly as you possibly can to stand a better chances AND also look to have a back-up second choice subject or institution in mind where you may experience trouble.

There is also a need to make sure that you have the time to work AND study both on your course and as part of your homework – these problems are then only further exacerbated where there is a need to work to make ends meet. As a result, this often means cramming in a lot of studying in a short period of time. You can help yourself by planning your time carefully so that you have time to go to classes, study AND work so that you can meet all of your deadlines in both your personal and academic lives so that you are then able to get the results that you are seeking

Classes can also be difficult in practice where your teachers/professors arrogance or own self-importance affects a student’s professional relationship with their professor or their actual grades. As a result, unfortunately, worst case scenario there is often a need to bite your tongue and do some ‘sucking up’ big style in order to retain a good working relationship that allows you to achieve the results that you need. Of course there are many, many great teachers who will bend over backwards to help you in any way that they can, but there are also others who have become tainted by the profession and do not get the same enjoyment that they once did.

Now we shall get to another significant problem – drugs and alcohol.

The unfortunate reality is that, in college and/or university, however much effort is put in by the institution’s administration to limit their availability, drugs and alcohol are also a common problem as they are everywhere. Matters are then also not helped by the fact that since students at college and university are adults they often take full advantage to the detriment of their studies, social life, and health. Therefore, you must look to avoid temptation because students have died of drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning so you need to get help as soon as possible where you think that you need it since the consequences can be dire.

Similarly, there is also a need to be aware of the dreaded hormones . . .

This is because whilst colleges and universities (as well as high schools) do their best to raise awareness of the potential for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases/sexually transmitted infections (STDs/STIs) and unwanted pregnancy, responsibility rests on the individual. Therefore, the easiest piece of advice I can give you is to take precautions (e.g. condoms, the pill, etc . . .) and, if there are none available, just DO NOT do it!!

Reasons to Make the University of Oregon Your College of Choice

Although I graduated from the University of Oregon and went back there to complete my Master’s Degree, that isn’t the main reason I encourage young people to become students there. The truth is, there are a number of good reasons to choose The University of Oregon, and I would like to share some of them here.

1. Location and a few things the University of Oregon has to offer

The University of Oregon is located in Eugene, Oregon, a city of just over 100,000 people about 100 miles south of Portland, Oregon’s largest city. The climate is moderate with very few days a year of freezing weather and very few days of extremely hot weather. Ocean beaches are a little more than an hour away and the mountain lakes are about the same distance in the opposite direction. I-5, a major freeway runs along the eastern side of the city making the University one of the most accessible colleges in the state.

The city of Eugene is an active community which provides something for everyone. If you are the outdoor type, Eugene is noted for its many miles of bicycle paths, especially the scenic ones along the banks of the beautiful Willamette River.

During the year, running is often spotlighted, as Eugene claims to be the Running Capital of The World. The Olympic Trials for track and field were held at the University last summer, so that title may be more than just wishful thinking.

Art shows and music festivals abound. The Hult Center for Performing Arts in downtown Eugene has something going on every day of the week, and people come from all over the states (and a few nearby states) to attend the annual Bach Festival there.

Eugene offers great restaurants to suit every imaginable taste.

Lane Community College, an excellent Junior College is located just outside the city and offers a wide program of technical courses as well as college transfer classes for those who prefer to start their college education in a smaller institution. (See link to Lane Community College website for further information.)

Each fall, the Eugene Celebration draws huge crowds who turn out, rain or shine to elect that year’s Slug Queen—a rather dubious honor, but it is all in good fun. The festival continues with many other activities to capture the minds of those who are not interested in Slug royalty and it is an experience that is guaranteed to leave you looking forward to next year’s festival.

There are two major hospitals in the area, and health care is readily available in almost every part of the city. An award winning newspaper, The Eugene Register Guard, effectively covers the news, both local and national.

2. A bit about the University of Oregon’s program, faculty, and size

Well-known for its excellence, the University of Oregon offers professional programs such as journalism, education, law, performing arts, music, architecture, planning and public policy. It is a major liberal arts and sciences university and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best colleges not just once but several times.

The faculty at the University of Oregon is outstanding, often drawing notable scholars who have taught at the best colleges in the entire nation. Student enrollment for 2010 is expected to be approximately 21,000.

According to the University’s website, 7 governors of the state of Oregon have been elected 7 from among University of Oregon graduates; two faculty members have been Nobel Prize winners, ten have been Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 have been Rhodes scholars, and 129 faculty members have been Fulbright scholars. Many other faculty members are also recipients of various illustrious awards.

The University of Oregon has been recognized as having a larger percentage of its students join the Peace Corp than any other college in the nation. More than 2000 of its graduates have joined.

3. Tuition fees and student housing for 2010

In today’s economic climate, tuition costs are become a very important consideration when choosing a college. The University of Oregon is about equal to other state colleges of the same size falls where college costs are concerned. Tuition for fall 2010 is estimated at about $7428, with another $1050 for books and supplies. Students who will need financial aid or scholarships are urged to visit their website to see what is currently available.

It is hard to estimate the cost of housing as so much depends on whether a student plans to live in a college dorm, share an apartment or house off campus with a friend, or live with his or her own family members.

Upscale dorms and apartments in the immediate campus area are available for those who can afford them, but there are also many rentals off campus. Unless you have relatives you plan to stay with in the area, your best bet is to get in touch with the campus housing director who can help you match your needs with what is available at any given time.

4. Transportation around the campus and town

The University of Oregon is not closed to traffic as so many colleges are these days, but it can be difficult at times to find a parking space. Students can apply for parking stickers, but the parking areas fill up quickly as they operate on a first-come, first-served basis. If possible, students are advised to use alternate transportation such as bicycles, or the public transit system which has bus stops at most corners throughout the campus area.

The public transit system is far reaching, even going to a number of nearby towns so travel around the area is fairly easy. Tokens can be purchased by students at a discounted price, and a printed schedule is available so riders can plan ahead of time for bus arrival and departure times, transfers, and routes that may not be running after certain hours at night or on holidays.

5. Sports

Autzen Stadium, the University’s football facility, has been recognized as being one of the top ten in the whole United States and ground has just recently been broken for a new multi-million dollar basketball facility. The University of Oregon Track and Field program is known not only all over the United States, but world-wide.

Outstanding athletes such as Olympian runner, Steve Prefontaine, NFL stars Joey Harrington, Alkili Smith, and Dan Fouts, track star, Alberto Salazar, and many, many more have all been University of Oregon students. Nike CEO, Phil Knight, has been and still is very active in promoting and contributing to the sports program at the University of Oregon.

The University of Oregon does not concentrate on just one particular sport, but offers fifteen different sports programs for men and women. Unlike many other colleges, the sports program at the University of Oregon is not only self supporting, but it contributes approximately 5 million dollars yearly to academic programs in other areas of the University.

6. Churches

Eugene, where the University of Oregon is located, has many churches to choose from, as well as two Bible colleges within commuting distance. In fact, North West Christian University adjoins the University of Oregon so that would be easy to enroll in classes from both schools at the same time. Eugene Bible College, affiliated with Bible Standard Churches, is only a short drive from the downtown area.

There are even more great reasons for choosing the University of Oregon as the perfect place to continue your post high school education, but those provided above should be enough to convince you to give it a second, and maybe even a third look. A link to the University of Oregon website follows so that you can study its programs in more depth to determine whether or not it is really the best match for you.

From High School to College or University – 1 – The Problems of Change

Leaving High School and going to college or university is a major change for any student. A new college or university student will find themselves in a different world to their previous time at school, a world in which they will face new challenges and opportunities in study, perhaps their first crack at independence from home, and the temptations of a potentially limitless social life.

For a High School student preparing themselves for the transition to college, there are number of factors with which it is wise to get familiar, before that first day at their new home of study. This article looks briefly at some of the differences that a student will face in their new life.

A New Class Format – Adjusting to the Lecture Style

One of the major differences students will face is the lecture style used in colleges and universities, which can seem very different to the High School recitation type of teaching. Attending lectures, and making the most of them from an educational point of view, requires a different attitude and some new study skills from the student. Making the adjustment to the college lecture room from the high School classroom is one that the student needs to make from the outset if they are to perform well.

The Quantity and Quality of Work

Any High School student probably realizes that the work they will do at college or university will be more advanced. That, surely, is what going to college is all about? However, it can still come as something of a shock to new college students, to suddenly be thrust into this new level of learning. It is best to be mentally prepared for a far more demanding level of education, which will stretch the student’s mind right from the start. There will no be time to “ease your way in”. Falling behind in the first few weeks can be difficult to recover from and achieve the grades you are seeking.

New college students should also be aware that the work required is not only of a higher quality than High School, but also much greater in quantity. Those who are not prepared for that will also suffer in the early stages of college life. The workload may seem overwhelming if you are not ready for it.

Hooray, Freedom at Last

For many students who go away to university or college, it will be their first taste of freedom from parental discipline. That is an essential step that all young people have to take at some time or another, and it can be a wonderful time of your life, when the transition to adulthood really starts to take place.

However, that new found freedom can be a distraction from study if it is allowed to dominate your new college life. It is possible to enjoy the freedom of college life, and to succeed in your primary purpose of being there; that is, get good grades and graduate with honours. Both sides of your new life require self discipline, and by applying that self discipline both to your study and college social life, you can find the right balance. It is not easy, but it can be achieved.

Managing Your Finances

Many students may not agree, but one of the most important changes from being at home and going to High School, and then going away to college, is the need to manage your own finances. This is probably something you have not dealt with before, but from now on, you will probably always have to. How you deal with your finances at college may well dictate how well you do so when you get your first job.

Your personal finances are one subject for which you can plan in some detail before going to college, so that you know what to expect once you get there. Learning about budgeting your finances will stand you in good stead for years to come.