Career First Steps: Thriving In College
Doctors, teachers, pilots, dentists and lawyers all have very diverse daily tasks to complete. However, they do have one thing in common, and it’s that they need to gain a college degree to progress in their career. In fact, it is increasingly common to require a college degree to advance in any kind of job now from the construction industry to working in Business. That, of course, means getting a degree is essential to most people, something you need to thrive in college to be able to do. A topic you can find out all about in the post below
Getting into college
The first task you need to address if you want to thrive at college is actually securing a place. Of course, depending on the type of institution you wish to go to, this can be a very competitive endeavor. In fact, those wishing to go to get an Ivy League education will need not just excellent grades and SATs scores, but will also need to show considerable community involvement as well.
Happily, there are some tactics you can use to boost your chances of being awarded a place at your desired institution.
The most obvious one is to do your best during high school and keep your grades as high as possible. Although, it is worth noting that for mature students that already have experience in the sector that they wish to study, some colleges may make allowances. If the student can demonstrate an in-depth working knowledge of the area already.
SATs scores, on the other hand, aren’t something a college is likely to budge on. After all, they provide a standardized view of your academic level compared to everyone else’s in your year. Something that means those with a higher score will always be more desirable to the best colleges.
Luckily, there are some strategies you can use to boost your scores, including studying for the SAT in a smart way. This being something that involves using online tutorials from reputable sources to practice and master the test before you even take it for real.
Also, don’t forget that colleges won’t just be looking at your grades and test scores. They also look at you as a three-dimensional person as well. In fact, colleges will be looking for people that aren’t only good students but good citizens as well. People that are a force for positive change in their neighborhood, school, or city.
To that end, getting involved with a community project that is near and dear to your heart is an excellent idea. In fact, many people choose to work with disadvantaged sections of society, providing them with support to this purpose.
Finally, do not forget that the actual application that you make to your college of choice will matter as well. That means it needs to be completed in full, honestly and checked thoroughly for mistakes.
Choosing your major
What to major in is another essential aspect of the college experience that you need to get right, if you are to thrive. Of course for some lucky folks what to major in is evident. The reason being that their career dictates the course they have to do. Doctors being an excellent example of this. They have a clear qualification path from high school, premed, medical degree and onwards.
Some folks aren’t as lucky; however, as they don’t yet know what they want to do after graduation. Of course, the tempting thing to do here would be to choose a more classical or general degree which leaves their options open. However, such degrees should come with at least something of a warning! The reason being that a course that is too general can leave a student in a position where it is difficult for them to find a job after graduation.
To that end, even if you choose a reasonably general degree option such as English to begin with, do remember to minor in vocationally relevant elements as well. Which in this example may be courses such as linguistics, education, or journalism. This being something that can significantly help your chances of being employable after you have completed your course.
Money is, and it seems, always will be a significant issue when it comes to getting a college education. It can be hard to thrive without it. In fact, the wisest students consider the pay off between getting a degree and the cost of doing so before they even decide to attend college. After all, a three-year course can cost anything from $9,410 to $32,410. A fee that most people cover with student loans that then need to be paid back once they are working.
However, if such matters make you start to panic and dump your applications forms, stop. The reason being that there are things you can do to reduce the cost of a college education.
One tactic is to apply for scholarships, money that is granted to you by the college or an independent body that will cover your fees. Of course, special circumstances and an outstanding academic record usually apply to these awards.
The second option is to be savvy about where you source your student loans from. Not all providers are made equal. In fact, by borrowing smaller amounts from a range of providers, you can actually save a significant amount on the total you will have to pay back. You can then choose to consolidate your loans into a single cost once you have graduated. Something that makes keeping on top of the payments much more straightforward.
Lastly, and the options that many students choose is to work alongside attending college. Some students choose to both worth and study full time. While others choose to do both on a part-time basis. Although, it is your own personal circumstances are likely to dictate which is most suitable for you.
It is, however, worth mentioning that working while studying isn’t always an easy option. After all, you will have double the responsibilities on your time. Something that can be difficult when it comes to midterms and finals.
It is also something that can get in the way of the more social college experience, which is an integral part of living away from home for many students too. Although, such disadvantages are often thought to be worth it by those that are determined not to get into debt before they take on their first job role.
How to study effectively
You will also need to have excellent study skills to thrive in a college environment. Now, you may think that you have this down already, after all, you’ve gone through high school successfully, haven’t you?
Of course, the jump from high school to college is a big one. Many people can struggle to keep up, especially if they aren’t great at note-taking and organization. Luckily, there is no need to reinvent the wheel as there are plenty of well-established methods for note-taking and organization. In fact, such methods can make information easier to remember, as well.
One such method is the Cornell note system, which is where you divide your page into three parts. You then use the central part for notes as you go along. With the side being used for important headings and titles. Then the bottom third of the page can then be used to summarize what is above or add key questions and keywords to your notes. Something that means you will be actively engaging with the information rather than just reading it and copying it down.
Alternatively, for those who prefer a more visual style of learning, why not go for a mind map instead? In fact, you can find out all about how to create these and how they can be used to learn, memorize, and form connections in the video below.
Maintaining your mental health as a student
Lastly, when it comes to thriving at college, you must learn to take care of your mental and physical health outside of your studies as well. This is because college can be an incredibly stressful time for many people. What with the pressure to perform, as well as the need to work and live away from home.
Taking care of your mental health is essential to thriving at college, and in your later career.
To that end, regular exercise fun need to be scheduled into your week, along with your studies too. Be aware that if you are struggling with any aspect of college life, there are always professionals available on campus that can provide you with help.
In fact, do remember that not everyone prospers all of the time at college. However, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t cut out for degree-level study. Or that you have to sacrifice this vital stage in preparing for your future career. In fact, it just means you need a little help adjusting one or two aspects of your college experience. Something that should then ensure you not only survive, but genuinely thrive during the essential step in your career development that is college.