Online College Experience

It is one thing to be an excellent teacher and it is another to know how to continue earning a living from teaching after teacher layoffs. The primary reason for this is that economic survival as an intellectual isn’t on the course list in graduate school. For some reason the idea that dedicated public school educators could suddenly find themselves unemployed as a result of massive budget cuts is not available to professors that teach future public school teachers. Fortunately is it possible for a teacher with an earned graduate degree, a Ph.D. or master degree, to convert academic and intellectual strength into an online teaching citadel by learning how to acquire online adjunct instructor jobs with post-secondary academic institutions. The growth of online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs is creating many online teaching positions that must be filled by technically adept and academic qualified online adjunct instructors. The alert educators should realize by now that making the effort to learn how to teach online for multiple online degree programs is one of the best ways to construct a viable financial fortress in these troubled times.

The teacher layoffs seem to have taken a great number of academics by complete surprise, but the next round of pink slips should be met with a plan to discover the benefits of teaching online. The growth of online bachelor degree program and online master degree programs plus the adoption of distance learning by the thousands of community colleges and technical schools is creating a host of online adjunct jobs that must be filled by prepared academics. It is necessary for a prospective online adjunct instructor to learn how to use a personal computer because in order to teach college and university students enrolled in online college courses an online instructor will be required to move smoothly in and out of multiple digital interfaces. The educators with at least a modest level of skill with a computer should have no trouble learning how to interact with the online degree programs with two to five different post-secondary academic institutions. It goes without saying in order to teach online it is first necessary to start applying to teach online courses. This can be accomplished by navigating the Internet and locating the faculty application section of the thousands of post-secondary websites.

There is nothing like experience to encourage the candor necessary to make a realistic decision, and educators have the intellectual tools required to accurately determine the viability of distance learning in terms of their professional careers. There is very little discussion available about the growing presence of distance education technology, and the alert academic examining this should easily identify a growing number of online adjunct instructor jobs with online bachelor degree program and online master degree programs. Obviously, the educator that masters the functions of a personal computer and becomes proficient in the navigation of the Internet can start building an online teaching schedule. It is possible to teach online full time or part time depending on the amount of academic work the academic is willing to accept form various community colleges, state universities and for-profit colleges. The important first step any teacher interested in online learning must take is to start making applications in the faculty application sections of the thousands of post-secondary websites on the Internet. Each school that offers online college courses to its enrolled students actually needs academically qualified and technically proficient online adjunct instructors.

The shadow of teacher layoffs on the traditional campus is creating a need for academics to take a fresh look at jobs teaching online college courses. Obviously, the authority derived from taking control of the teaching schedule can have a very positive effect on an educator feeling threatened by budget cuts, and online teaching provides a teacher with an earned graduate degree the opportunity to increase the number of online classes in an online teaching schedule or decrease them according to financial goals. The best way to start acquiring online teaching positions is to apply for any many online adjunct faculty openings as possible each day in the faculty application sections of post-secondary websites. Every community college, state university, four-year state college, technical school and for-profit college offers its enrolled students online college courses, and there are more online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs every academic year. This means there is every reason to believe that an aggressive application strategy can eventually produce an online teaching schedule that will generate as much online adjunct income as can be earned by continuing to teaching in a traditional academic environment.

There is nothing esoteric about teaching online, but too many academics seem to think that logic is misplaced in the effort to transition out of the physical classroom and into a variety of online college classes that can be taught from a personal computer. The current thinking about distance education technology on the part of academic administrators is located in the economic impact the budget cuts to public education are making on the traditional academic industry and the skyrocketing cost of maintain the physical plants known as campuses. The logic of distance learning is that it is far less expensive to distribute post-secondary academic instruction on the Internet from a computer server than it is to continue offering the same academic instruction in a physical classroom. The new and returning college students understand the logic inherent in the convenience of earning an academic degree from work and at home from their laptop computers instead of driving a vehicle at odd hours of the day and evening to remote physical location. These two logics combine to produce many online adjunct openings that must be filled by academics with earned graduate degrees, a master degree or doctorate, as more online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs are deployed in an attempt to satisfy the education needs of swelling post-secondary student populations with less costly alternatives to the physical classroom. Additionally, these circumstances make it possible for a prospective online adjunct instructor to use logic to construct a sustainable online teaching schedule.

It may be difficult to find the bright spot on the traditional academic campus since the teacher layoffs seem to have no end. The nature of the educator with a graduate degree, however, is not one that gives up easily in the face of challenge, so an academic willing to learn how to teach online from a personal computer can actually produce a sunny academic forecast by understanding the role of distance education technology and how it is creating many online adjunct job openings. The aggressive online adjunct instructor can build an online teaching schedule populated with as many as ten online college classes. There is no doubt if each online class pays the online instructor two thousand dollars the online adjunct income can compete against a traditional faculty salary and win. Further, the online adjunct instructor can teach the college and university students enrolled in the online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs from any place on the globe that provides a connection to the Internet. Obviously, it will take some focus and determination to transition out of the physical classroom and into an online teaching schedule, but teaching online for a living is preferable to watch traditional teaching jobs disappear at an increasing rate as budget funds for public education make the cost of maintaining the physical plants knows as campuses and the classrooms on them less affordable every semester. The best strategy for locating online adjunct faculty openings is to learn how to submit evidence of academic achievement and classroom experience in the faculty application sections of post-secondary websites.

When educators still teaching in the physical classroom or teachers recently unemployed as a result of public education layoffs think about the prospect of teaching online for online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs the question of whether it can actually produce enough online adjunct income to make it worth the effort. The answer is that a full time online teaching schedule containing six to ten online faculty openings can generate an income that will equal or exceed that what can be earned by continuing to teach on the traditional campus. Of course, there is more than income available to an online adjunct instructor. For example, every online college courses is located on the internet. This means that all that is necessary to access the online degree program is a laptop computer and an Internet connection. Actually, it is this feature about earning an academic degree online that attracts so many new and returning college and university students. The point is that the online instructor and the college students do not need to be present in any one physical classroom in order to connect with each other. Since every post-secondary academic institution is deploying online courses as quickly as possible, the economic opportunities for educators with earned graduate degrees, a doctorate or master degree, and sharp computer skills is practically endless because it is easy to teach online for multiple schools without actually being on the schools’ campuses.

The teacher layoffs came like a thunderclap for many academics teaching in a physical classroom on a traditional campus. However, just as the passing of a thunderstorm reveals the clear sky often painted with rainbows, the disturbance in the academic labor market reveals online teaching as a viable alternative to traditional academic employment. For example, a traditional academic position generates just one salary, and that salary can be lost to severe budgetary cuts in public education. Conversely, an online teaching schedule populated with multiple online faculty positions generates a variety of online adjunct income streams that are not interdependent in the sense that if one is lost the others continue throughout the year. Since every community college, technical school, state university and for-profit college now offers online degree programs to their enrolled students, the chances of developing a alternative academic career that can be coordinated from a personal computer located in any developed geographic location on the planet are very high. The best place to start investigating online teaching opportunities is to visit the websites of post-secondary academic institutions. Each school has a faculty application section that is specifically designed to accept academic credentials and documentation of classroom experience. The budget cuts to public education are creating a rocky academic employment landscape that can be smoothed out by building an online teaching schedule. Academics worried about their employment status in the physical classroom should make the effort to apply for online adjunct faculty jobs with online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs because it is now obvious that the majority of post-secondary educational instruction is being moved to the Internet. The reason there are so many opportunities to teach online is simply because academic administrators are discovering that it is very cost efficient to provide new and returning college students with online college classes leading to an academic degree they can earn from their personal computers. Of course, each online college course must be taught by a qualified online adjunct instructor, so as the online college degree programs become more available the number of online teaching job openings grows at the same time. The academic with an earned graduate degree and a moderate level of computer skill can begin building an online teaching schedule by entering the required information about academic achievement and classroom experience in the faculty application sections of community colleges, four-year state colleges, state universities and for-profit schools. It will take a high degree of focus to organize a successful search for online teaching positions, but the effort will be worth it since teaching online can smooth out the academic employment landscape by generating online adjunct income all year long.

One of the most difficult issues facing educators during the rounds of teacher layoffs is which direction to go in after becoming unemployed as a provider of educational instruction. After all, the general economy and the associated high levels of unemployment in other fields does not offer much in the way of opportunity for an intellectual seeking alternative employment in public education. In addition, the vast majority of teachers are place bound in that they are accustomed to working on the same physical campus for decades and the idea of having to travel to another geographic location in search of teaching work is truly a difficult prospect. Fortunately, distance education technology can solve both of these problems by providing the academic with an earned graduate degree, a doctorate or master degree, with plenty of adjunct online faculty jobs and an extreme level of professional mobility. Since all online college degree programs are located on the internet all of the interaction an online adjunct instructor has with them is accomplished from a personal computer. This means the professional mobility inherent in online teaching as a career path is literally not available to educators that stay in the physical classroom on the traditional campus. Academics with earned graduate degrees that want a ticket out of the traditional classroom can find the ticket in an online teaching schedule.

Many academics are forced to deal with teacher layoffs resulting from budget cuts to public education and they are finding the task difficult and demoralizing since the general economy is suffering from high unemployment. After all, if an educator can no longer teach in a physical classroom on a traditional campus just where else is there to work and earn a decent living. Fortunately, distance education technology is coming to the rescue for alert academics with earned graduate degrees, a master degree or doctorate, and at least a modest level of computer skill. The best way for educators to confront the academic employment issue is to learn how to construct an online teaching schedule populated with online adjunct job openings with online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs. The distance learning programs are increasing in number each semester provides an alternative career path for academics that understand why online college courses are important to new and returning college students and academic administrators of post-secondary academic institutions. The real reason there are so many available online faculty job openings is that college students want to avoid the cost of traveling to a physical campus and administrators want to avoid the cost of maintain the physical classrooms. The prospective online adjunct instructor can learn about the distinct possibilities of earning a living by teaching from a personal computer by visiting the thousands of state university, community college, four-year state college and for-profit college websites on the Internet.

The situation for educators teaching in physical classrooms is murky right now as a result of the continuing uncertainty about emerging teacher layoffs. While this is understandable given the situation on the traditional campus, it can be rectified by beginning a successful campaign for online teaching. However, in order to do so an academic must have a clear vision about the changes in the academic labor model. To put a sharp point on the reality of teaching today, academic administrators are no longer willing or able to support the salaries paid to traditional educators working traditional public education settings. Instead, they would prefer to hire online adjunct instructors to fill the growing number of online adjunct professor jobs at the post-secondary academic level. The teacher working at the secondary or elementary level of the academy with a graduate degree, a master degree or Ph.D., should take a long look at the online teaching opportunities with community colleges, state universities, for-profit colleges or technical schools. Every post-secondary academic institution has a website, and on each academic website is a link on the first page that will lead to the faculty application section. It is in this section of the school’s website that information about available online teaching jobs can be found by prospective online adjunct instructors.

When an online adjunct college professor is teaching online college classes from a laptop computer while sitting in the lobby of a small hotel in Paris the freedom afforded by online teaching positions is palpable. It is possible for an academic with a graduate degree, a master degree or Ph.D., and an online teaching schedule to teach college and university students all year long from practically any geographic location in the world. While many teachers would not travel or move to Paris, there are many educators who have been the subject of budget cuts that would like to simply move to a less costly town or small city. The problem with traditional teaching is that the same academic labor problems are magnified in the less populated areas. Teaching at the post-secondary level of the academy in numerous online adjunct professor jobs is a goal that can be achieved by making many applications for online adjunct jobs every day. The way to make these applications efficiently and effectively is to navigate the Internet to the websites of community colleges, state colleges and four-year universities. Inside these academic websites is a faculty application section. This section of the post-secondary website is designed to accommodate the submission of classroom experience and academic achievement.

The broad consensus about online education is that it satisfies a great number of needs for college and university students and the academic administrators that must meet the enrolled students’ educational needs. Teachers working in physical classrooms should understand the function of online degree programs insofar as they meet the new academic employment dynamics as they are defined by the cost-efficiency of distance education technology. The simple fact of the matter is that online adjunct jobs are less burdensome on public education budgets than traditional teacher salaries. The alert educator will understand that the way to continue teaching and still earn a decent living in the face of continuing layoffs is to learn how to apply for and acquire online college classes. An online teaching schedule populated with six to twelve online courses can generate multiple online adjunct income streams throughout the calendar year. Granted, teaching online will require a graduate degree, a master degree or Ph.D., and increasingly sophisticated computer skills, but the academics that make it a professional goal to access the growing number of online teaching positions will be able to earn a living long after the teachers on the physical campuses have been told to go home.

It is becoming harder than ever to remain in the physical classroom since the budget cuts to public education seem to have no end. As more traditional educators lose their salaries from teaching it is important for them to realize that online teaching jobs can relieve academic hardships. The truth of the matter is that distance education technology is relatively easy for academic administers to deploy since it is a mature technology and the post-secondary level of the academy, community colleges, state universities and for-profit colleges, utilize it as a way to replace the expensive physical classroom on the traditional campus. The result of the emergence of online college degree programs is a great deal of online adjunct employment that needs the participation of academically qualified and technically adroit online adjunct instructor to accept it. Every online college class that is developed in order to allow a college or university student to earn an academic degree from a personal computer must be taught by an academic with an earned graduate degree. However, if a teacher with a bachelor degree is willing to earn a master degree or Ph.D. it will be possible upon graduate to start building an online teaching schedule populated with numerous online college courses.

It is not at all necessary to exit the physical classroom in order to start teaching online for online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs. In fact, it would be a very good idea for an educator that is still teaching on a traditional campus to stat investigating how online adjunct jobs are being created each time a new online college degree programs is made available to college and university students. The fact o the matter is that each online college courses within an online degree program must be taught by an online adjunct instructor with an earned graduate degree, a doctorate or master degree, and at least a moderate level of computer skill. It is possible to teach as few as one or two online courses at a time, and since many online degree programs offer classes that last only five to eight weeks long and are offered to college students twelve months of the year, the online adjunct income streams can certainly come in handy in the event of another round of teacher layoffs. The best search strategy for locating adjunct teaching positions online is to navigate the Internet to the faculty application sections in the websites of community colleges, state universities and for-profit colleges.

Online teaching opportunities at the post-secondary level of public education, which includes community colleges, state colleges and four-year universities, are increasing due to the success of distance education technology. This technology allows college and university students to earn an online college degree from their personal computers at home and at work. At the same time, this technology is creating many online adjunct positions that need to be filled by academically qualified and technically proficient academics with earned graduate degrees. Educators with a master degree or doctorate should begin investigating the available online adjunct employment opportunities

 

The Differences Between Community College and Traditional College

Community colleges are becoming a popular option for many students, especially those for whom a traditional college course is beyond their academic or financial means. A recent study conducted by the American Association of community colleges found that 4 in 10 first-time freshmen attend a 2-year community college course rather than taking a full 4-year course. Why not take a look at our guide below to help you decide if Community College could be the right route to success for you?

What Is a Community College?
Most community colleges offer 2-year courses at an affordable rate in many locations. The reasons for students choosing a community college include:

  • To start earning basic credits which can be transferred to a 4-year college course.
  • To follow a 2 year associate’s degree or certificate program in preparation for a particular career.
  • To find out more about a potential new career, learn new skills with an eye to a specific area of employment, or simply to follow a personal interest.

Why choose a Community College?
Community colleges offer advantages to any student, but are particularly suitable for those who fall into the following categories.

  • Cost of traditional college is too high. Tuition fees at most community colleges are usually much more affordable than at traditional 4 year colleges. Even if you plan to eventually attend a 4-year school, you can save big bucks by taking a couple of semesters of general prerequisites at a community college.
  • Your grades aren’t up to scratch. You’ll usually find that you will be accepted by any community college as long as you have a high school diploma, a refreshing change, especially if the more competitive 4-year colleges have knocked you back! Once you’ve completed your 2-year course, it may be easier to prove that you have the academic ability to go on to study at a 4-year college.
  • You require training for a particular job. If you have a specific technical or vocational career in mind, community college can provide a no-nonsense 2-year course that allows you to focus on this rather than having to study a range of subjects.
  • You can’t, or don’t want to, leave home. Lots of high school students don’t feel ready to take on the responsibility of living away from home, or have personal commitments that mean that living away isn’t a feasible option. A community college allows you to embark on the next phase of your education without losing the security provided by living at home.
  • You require a flexible schedule. Do you have employment or family commitments that would make a regular college timetable impossible to follow? If so, community colleges offer a whole host of options, including day, evening or weekend classes, the chance to study part-time, or even online courses.

Drawbacks of Community College
Naturally, while community colleges are great for those on a tight budget or with complicated schedules, they aren’t the best choice for everyone. What follows are some of the most important differences between community colleges and their 4-year counterparts to keep in mind during your college search.

  • Choice of Majors and Courses: Community colleges, though they might offer a range of courses, can never compete with the vast number of majors and combinations of classes you can choose to study at 4-year colleges.
  • Academic Regimen: If you like to move at a fast rate, and pick up concepts quickly, you may find that community college isn’t for you. Bear in mind that they are designed to serve a broad cross-section of society, accepting students of all abilities, therefore the classes may not learn as quickly as you anticipate.
  • Collegiate Experience: Nothing can compare to the social experience provided by living out at a 4-year college. Community college students may have all the freedom by studying online courses or having flexible schedules, but you can’t beat living in a dorm and hanging out on the quad for building a social network that will last you a lifetime!

 

Things College Student Should Know

I’m not currently a college student. Haven’t been one for awhile…at least in the undergraduate sense of things. But I hang out with college students. I work with college students. And I work full time at a University as the Director of Campus Life (the coolest on-campus job in the world).

Plus…I really like college students.

It’s one of the greatest times in life. When do any of us ever get to hang out with hundreds of friends for four, five…dare I say…six years? It’s like going to camp..except they give you homework and you have to read 800 pages a night.

So if I could sit you down, with a slow drip of coffee being shared between us (intravenously or by the cupful if you prefer), and share some ways that I believe you could not only make the most of your time in college, but really, really enjoy it and succeed at it – here’s what I’d say…

1. Meet people.

One day you’ll walk across a stage, and a very smart looking man or woman in a really nice, long, black gown will hand you a piece of paper that says “Bachelor” (even if you’re a girl!) on it. You’ll graduate from college. Do you know what you’ll remember most?

The relationships you’ve made.

My advice is to meet everyone you can. Be friendly. Smile. Talk to people (not in class…that could be dangerous). Go to places where people hang out and hang out with them. Your friends are what make college special.

Some day you’ll come back to campus as an alumni and the place will feel weird. It will feel different. That’s because all of the people that you were friends with during your college years aren’t there. It’s the same college, but different people. It’s the people that make your experience unique. You are going to make friends that you’ll have for the rest of your life.

Like I said earlier, I work at a University. My boss (yes…he’s smarter than me) is a good friend that I went to college all four years with. It’s been a great relationship for all this time. I don’t know of any other place you create these types of relationships at this age. So get out there. Get busy meeting people.

2. Talk to your professors.

This one continues on with the theme of number 1. Go ahead and do everything you can to meet your professors. Make an appointment with them as soon as it is possible in their schedule. I have discovered that I learned so much more from a professor when I had some kind of personal relationship with them.

Professors are people to. Respect their time and make sure you communicate clearly with them. Don’t waste their time with excuses for not doing the work or simply not showing up to class. The goal here is to establish some type of relationship.

Whenever I think about a subject or content I learned in college it is tied to the face of a professor. If I think of learning German – it’s McKinney; if it’s creative writing – Nelson; if it’s communication – Jackson. My knowledge came from a person more than it came from a book.

One of my favorite movies is Orange County. It’s a story about a high school senior that wants to get into Stanford. He’s enamored with the writings of a certain professor there. When he finally has the chance to meet the professor and sit down and talk with him, it changes his entire perspective. While those types of conversations might be rare in your experience because you go to a large University – seek them out anyway! They’ll be some of the best memories you take from your time in college.

3. If you need help ask for it.

One of the reasons you’re in college is because you don’t know everything. If you can learn to admit that, you’ll be ahead of most freshmen at your school.

Independence messes up most teenagers in that they want to do everything by themselves. So when a moment comes when they can’t do something or don’t know something, there’s an inner struggle. I encourage you to put the pride aside and ask for help.

If you need help in class, get a tutor. If you need directions to the financial aid office, ask for them. If you don’t know how to complete an application for an internship, look for someone who does.

Your school will have people that can proofread your papers, help you learn how to do your laundry the right way, and even give you some good advice on how to stay in shape (because we all need our health!).

Look at it this way: You will become smarter if you ask for help when you need it. If you don’t ask…you’ll remain ignorant. I’m not advocating that you shouldn’t try to find things out on your own. But there comes a time where you’ll discover that learning happens better in the context of “we” and not just “me.” And you might also discover that the best way to meet people is to simply ask, “Hi, would you mind giving me a hand with this?”

4. Get some sleep.

One thing that you have in common with every other person in the world is that each person needs to sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, bad things start happening to your mind and body. I know this is difficult to hear, and I’m probably beginning to sound a bit parental by saying this, but go to bed.

I’ve pulled my share of all-nighters. I’ve had to study, cram, write, and just get it done. I’ve also stayed up too late because I kept losing at Halo and had to play just one more game. Either way, it messed me up for the next day. My body had to play catch up. I wasn’t sharp. If you string enough late nights together, you are not going to be the learning machine that you need to be.

I know you’re young and invincible. But sleep is so necessary. Research says that a night of sleep deprivation is like being mentally impaired by the legal blood-alcohol level. When you don’t get adequate sleep, you’re body ages faster. Sleep also helps to relieve stress…so if you’re stressed out – you may simply need a good nap.

Ultimately, getting enough sleep is a matter of prioritization. Just because you CAN stay up, doesn’t mean you SHOULD stay up. You need to be mature enough to know when you need to get some sleep so that you can be an effective college student.

5. Get organized.

Everyone needs a plan to accomplish all of the things that are required of you in college. It is extremely easy to start living from event to event, assignment to assignment when you’re neck deep into your semester.

My number one piece of advice for getting organized – get a calendar and stick to it, live by it, and look at it everyday. Now there’s lots of types of calendars out there. I like to use Google Calendar. It’s online and I can access it from anywhere. Since I spend a fair bit of time on the computer, it’s always handy. Plus, I’ve got it linked up to my email and the datebook software on my Palm Treo. But that’s my way. I made a choice one day that Google Calendar was going to be MY calendar. You’ve got to decide and stick with it.

Some colleges will provide you with a paper-based calendar like a planner. This may include dates of important events for your college, key deadlines, and class schedules. If you are pen & paper minded, this may be the route for you. I also recommend the Moleskine planner. It’s smaller and easier to carry.

Once you’ve chosen your calendar, you need to get busy putting EVERYTHING into it. That’s right. Put every assignment, every deadline, every part of your extensive social commitments. Remember, you don’t want to be surprised. It’s a horrible feeling to realize that you had a vital paper due yesterday. At the beginning of each semester, sit down with all of your syllabi and fill in that calendar. Set reminders a few days before big projects come due. This will also help you to see when you will have difficult weeks with lots of obligations so you can get cracking ahead of time.

Now that you’ve chosen a calendar, put all your information in it, you’ve got to manage it. At the start of each week, look over the week ahead. KNOW WHAT’S COMING! If you only look at each day as it arrives, you’ll miss opportunities to be excellent.

That’s the beauty of being organized. It creates space for you to do your best work. You know when something is coming and you make the appropriate time to do your best.

6. Have a lot of fun.

This is one of the best parts of college. You are going to have a ton of fun…especially if you follow the other pieces of advice in this article. College is one of the funnest experiences you will ever have. You are living with a lot of other like-minded people who are in the same situation that you’re in. It’s like Survivor (especially in the school cafeteria), but no one gets voted off the island.

I laughed a lot in college. I liked to hang around people who made me laugh and didn’t take themselves so seriously. There were lots of events to attend. My buddies and I would take some great roadtrips during the breaks. There is a lot of freedom to do a lot of things while you’re in college. I chose to have as much fun as was humanly possible.

The other benefit of having fun is that it makes incredible memories. I can remember some phenomenal pranks that have become lore at the college I attended (I won’t say what it is or my own level of involvement because the statute of limitations has yet to expire). While I didn’t play sports in college, I was an intramural animal.

Also, I don’t want you to get the impression that all of the fun occurred outside of the classroom. When you discover what you’re unique strengths are and land in a major that falls in line with your passions, learning becomes tremendously fun. I can remember projects and classes that I really enjoyed and looked forward to them. I think there were some professors who really made learning fun.

I guess with any aspect of college you can make the choice to have fun or to stress out. I encourage you to choose fun – even in the midst of hard work.

7. Get involved.

During the first semester of college, I joined a fraternity. I had to do some really silly things (I have fond memories of onions and “thank you sir, may I have another.”) to join this group, but it changed my entire college experience. When you arrive on campus, there will be a lot of ways that you can get involved in college besides going to class.

Your college has multiple organizations that are centered around social or academic themes. There are clubs and councils that are always looking for new members. You may have a bent toward student leadership and I encourage you to jump in and apply for those positions. It has been proven that those students who get involved in extracurricular activities have a better college experience. They also have a stronger attachment to their school when they become alumni.

I can remember our graduation day from college. When it came time to announce the valedictorian for our class they introduced a student whom none of us recognized. Now don’t get me wrong here…I want you to do all that you can to get good grades and pass your classes. But for our graduating class – the person with the best GPA was an anonymous person. He wasn’t involved in anything. We didn’t know who he was.

Now hear me out. My GPA wasn’t stellar, but I did graduate with a 3.6 in all of my major classes. Not bad. But I also was the Student Body President, was in a fraternity, joined many clubs, worked Security, and lived in a dorm all four years. I wouldn’t trade that for a four-point-whatever and be anonymous.

8. Handle money wisely now.

Right off the bat I must tell you – watch out for credit cards. It is the easiest thing in the world to get suckered into a credit card offer and start charging things on the plastic. Here’s the catch – you have to pay it all back – with interest.

My advice to you is to avoid the credit card route at all costs while you’re in school. I know that it’s probably unavoidable, so just use them for emergency purposes. Get a card with a LOW limit. Pay those things off every month. If you find you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t be using them. Most college students leave college with debt. There’s the necessary kind that comes from student loans. But it’s really hard to graduate in a financial hole because you have credit card debt.

With the money you do actually have, I think it’s wise to learn how to budget. Start a savings account. Learn how to balance your checkbook and do that every month. Bounced checks are no fun. The goal here is to live within your means. You may not have as much as other students. That’s alright. You are a college student and you’re supposed to be broke.

If you are in desperate need of cash, go to your college’s career center. They typically have a listing of odd jobs that students can do to get some income. Another thing you can do is to benefit from the ability to borrow rather than own. You don’t have to personally have everything, just know some of the people that do. When you live in a dorm, you begin to understand how easy it is to share. I remember that I looked better in my roommate’s sports jacket than he did. Don’t be a mooch. But learn to share what you have with others and you’ll find that they’re more willing to share what they have with you.

If you spend less money than you bring in…you’ll be in good shape.

9. Learn to write well.

One of the lessons I’ve learned from Scott Ginsberg is that “writing is the basis of all wealth.” I think he’s on to something there. I would add that writing is the basis of your success in college. While you are a college student, you will read A LOT. But you will also be required to write A LOT. Your writing skills are a KEY factor in how your work will be perceived by a professor.

You can have the best content in the world, but if you aren’t able to deliver that through good writing, your work will get lost in the translation. I am surprised how many college students can’t spell, don’t know how to structure a sentence properly, and use poor grammar. If you struggle with writing, then I encourage you to re-read #3. You must get this one down.

One of the reasons that I started this site (CollegeStudentsRule!.com) is to help college students become better communicators. If you can write better, your work will be better. If your work is better, your grades will be better. I realize that you may be the best person in your class at text messaging…but those little acronyms don’t hold up too well under a professor’s scrutiny.

Along with writing, I would encourage you to take a typing course. The computer is here to stay and if you are typing with two fingers, you’re wasting time. I think that you should work to be able to type at least 60 words a minute. Faster would be even better. Can you type without looking at the keyboard? This is a skill that won’t only benefit you in college, but in the workforce as well.

One final note on writing well is in regards to proofreading. Please don’t type out a paper and print it out and turn it in. Think in terms of drafts. If you turn a first draft into a professor, he or she will know that it’s a first draft. This post that I’m writing won’t be published until the third or fourth draft. It would be even better if you could get someone else to proofread your work. That person will probably catch mistakes that you can’t see.

10. Get out of the country you’re in.

This is an idea that is becoming more and more realistic in our day and age. At our University, opportunities to study abroad are growing each year. We also offer short-term mission opportunities to other countries. There are so many ways for students to experience other cultures.

Our world is becoming more globally focused. In some ways it’s shrinking. Companies are branching out across national boundaries. Any type of experience you can have outside of your home country will benefit you in your career and perspective on life. If you can get somewhere…go for it. You are young and you don’t have many of the responsibilities yet that could tie you down to your local geographical area.

I understand that some of you may have difficulty (financially or otherwise) getting out of your country. If that’s the case, find ways to learn about other cultures (watch the National Geographic Channel). But nothing beats actually going there and walking on foreign soil and being immersed in another culture.

11. Keep growing.

It may seem obvious to you that you would be growing since you’re in college. But I meet a lot of college students who gain knowledge, but don’t gain growth. I guess I’m talking about maturity. There are many experiences that you’ll have in college that can help you to grow up if you’ll let them.

Current research says that adolescence is being pushed farther out – to the mid 20’s. They are calling it delayed adulthood. Many young adults are simply pushing back some of the major decisions: marriage, career, home purchasing, etc – to later in life. But being young doesn’t mean you have to be immature.

There are many ways to grow outside of the classroom. Life has a way of providing it’s own type of classroom. Each of us has an opportunity to grow emotionally, relationally, spiritually, psychologically, and physically. Take the experiences you have in life and spend time reflecting on how you can use those to become a better person. Growth isn’t an automatic process. It takes work and it takes time. Use these exciting years in college to develop yourself.

It’s exciting to watch Seniors walk across the stage at graduation and remember what they were like when they came in as Freshman. There is so much potential that is wrapped into each one. I love being apart of the process of unlocking that potential during their time in college. That’s why I’ve written this article. If there’s something here that you find helpful, then I’ve succeeded. As with any list, there’s so much more that could be added.

 

Saving For College

Start Early

Planning and financing for college begins well before high school. Selecting the elementary school your child needs to attend is as important as deciding which high school or college to attend. A proper foundation for learning is of utmost importance for college admission and scholarship consideration.

Make Appropriate Course Selections

Selecting the right curriculum in elementary, high school, and college are linked. Being ready for college while positioning oneself for scholarship and other financing is a process. The transition from elementary, middle school, and high school to college is determined by taking the right classes like upper-level math and science, foreign language, honors’ classes, and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Boosting the GPA with these classes is important in class rank and college entrance.

Talk To Your Child

College planning is a family concern. Since a college degree is essential for students and the cost of a college education continues to rise, a collective effort is needed. Waiting until high school for parents to speak to their child about college, actually doesn’t make sense. Without communication, the child may develop the assumption that all is well and that the parents have planned to pay for his/her college expenses. Parents may think that they have college expenses covered and their child may have other colleges in mind with higher price tags or further college goals. Whatever the situation, parents and their child need to be open and honest about their feelings and realistic about college issues.

Set Up Two College Funding Plans- One College Funding Plan for Parents and One for Child

Research various savings plans for you as parents and for your child beginning early to reach your college funding goals. Don’t let it catch you by surprise. Small investments can add up over the years. Encourage grandparents to get involved by giving college money instead of toys for birthdays, Christmas, etc.

Enroll in Dual Enrollment College Classes

Check with your local high school and colleges to see if dual enrollment college classes are available and how to meet the requirements. Taking college classes and receiving college credit before leaving high school can save time and money!

Shop Around

Consider In-State colleges as opposed to Out of State colleges since tuition is much higher for some Out of State colleges. Look at smaller colleges, which may have more scholarships, lower GPA and college entrance test requirements, or other Sports/Fine Arts scholarships. Don’t overlook 2-year colleges as a less expensive way to reach the final four-year degree. Living at home for awhile could also cut college costs. Compromise could be the solution to being in debt.

Loans Should Be the Last Option

Students do not need to spend the years following college with hundred of thousand of dollars in loans while being in debt the rest of their lives. Parents do not need to borrow from retirement funds and not be able to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. If loans are needed, let the loans be short-term and low-interest and shared by parents and the child. If parents can’t pay loans, then have the child apply for the loan, but help the child in other areas for college.

The years from cradle to college come too fast! Backing yourselves into a corner and reaching the college years with no available funding are a direct result of not planning ahead.