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10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

As a recent college graduate, I can look back on my school years with some fond feelings and some memories that I’d rather just forget. So that you don’t have to make the same (many) mistakes that I did, here are the 10 things that I wish someone had told me before I’d set off for the chaos that is freshman year.

Your major will not define your entire life

This is one that I feel particularly passionate about because I seemed to spend most of my college years trying to explain—whether to students who actually had their lives figured out, or to my grandma—why I’d chosen to major in a “pointless” subject like English. This proved pretty difficult considering I wasn’t even sure why I’d chosen to go to college and “but I don’t want to be an engineer” didn’t seem to be a good enough answer. Obviously, the first thing to glean from this is that taking your time to make an educated decision about something that’s going to take up a lot of your time and resources, is probably a good idea.

Luckily, I discovered the concept of transferable skills. Sure, if you major in “Bowling Industry Management and Technology”, you’ve probably got a specific career path in mind. But if you decide somewhere down the line that bowling isn’t for you, you’ve learned management skills that can be applied in any workplace. More importantly, I loved English—and isn’t that the point?

Grades are actually important…

Unfortunately, despite the many transferable skills you might learn at college (like how to do laundry, or perhaps how to sleep and look like you’re concentrating at the same time), employers do evaluate you on your GPA (many companies actually filter applications by GPA). When it comes down to it, you’re at college to learn, so prioritize your studies, work hard and try your best to maintain a good GPA.

But a bad grade is not the end of the world

Throughout college, it was not unusual to find me shuddering over the memory of one particularly terrible grade. The dread and nausea had been made worse because I knew that I’d deserved it—I’d rushed the assignment to spend more time with my friends. With all my plans to graduate and stumble upon a career, it hadn’t really crossed my mind that I could, very possibly, fail college. This grade told my sleep-deprived and caffeinated self that my future was over.

After an extremely emotional and somewhat embarrassing visit to my professor’s office, and a math calculation by a friend who actually understood numbers, I was relieved to discover that this blip had barely affected my average. It turns out that we all have good and bad days, and if anything, this terrifying reality check shocked me into trying harder at everything else.

You don’t have to go to college straight away

One of my biggest regrets is not taking a gap year. With the relentless pressure to go to college, staying on at school can feel like the only option, but the reality is: it’s not. Your college education will still be there when you’ve had a bit more time to figure it all out.

Having a part time job is underrated 

Having something that is outside of school and being surrounding by a completely different type of friend is refreshing. Looking back, the excuse to leave the house for an environment where I had fun and physically was not allowed to study, definitely got me through my final semester. Also, the extra money and experience didn’t hurt.

Make the most of the experience

It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of college and adult life. Unfortunately, this stress does not stop after college, so you might as well make the most of it while you can. Say yes to classes that intrigue you, join in activities, learn a random skill and always take advantage of fresh air when you can.

Toxic people are to be eliminated from your life

It took me a good few years to get this mantra down. When you go to college, you’re thrown together with random people and forced to make friends or else have nobody to borrow milk from during times of need. This does not a good friendship make.

If somebody is negative, belittling or controlling, or simply brings way too much drama into your life, it’s okay to distance yourself. Toxic people will always drain your attempts to be positive and drag you down with them, which is not part of the college experience.

College can be lonely and that’s okay

Especially in freshman year, there’s an expectation that you should be having the best time of your life. Often on social media, this is reflected by constant partying, social engagements, and people spending money that they don’t have. Whilst I was happy to enjoy this unrealistic way of life for a while, it quickly became exhausting.

Surrounded by a crowd of semi-familiar faces, it is actually easy and normal to feel lonely at college. After moving away from everything you’re familiar with, it’s important to take time out to assess your state-of-mind and recharge.

Stop taking things personally

This is one that I’m still working towards. Being in a competitive situation that forces you to compare yourself to your peers can damage your self-esteem and solicit your defence mechanisms. By knowing your worth, not jumping to conclusions and letting things like a bad grade go, you’re automatically promoted to the master of your own emotions and energy levels.

Being addicted to coffee is totally fine…probably

My dependence on caffeine is definitely helping me now that I’ve graduated and actually have to get out of bed in the mornings. Take this advice at your own peril.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Now that fall is well and truly here, the novelty of college has probably worn off a little. If you’ve suddenly found yourself face-to-face with reality, completely exhausted and having lost every single piece of stationary that you started with, you’re not alone.

Time management is a big concern for most college students. The flexibility of independence can also make it difficult to prioritise college work, social events, basic hygiene tasks and the hundreds of voicemails that your parents have left you.

Before you decide to give up and take a nap, follow these tips and you could be on your way to having it all.

Organization is the key to success

Whether you always carry the new (and, lets face it, completely blank) planner that you bought at the start of the year in your bag for peace of mind, or you often find yourself frowning at indecipherable reminders on your phone’s notes app, settling on a solid organization system is vital for time management.

Even if you pride yourself on having a fantastic memory, writing everything down will ensure that you know what’s on your to-do list. With millions of productivity apps at your dispense, logging events and setting reminders will lift the added pressure of remembering your homework and help you to generate a productive schedule. Just remember to bite the bullet and prioritize which tasks make it to the top of your list.

Practice makes perfect

Routine and schedule are two key concepts that are fundamental to time management at college, where there is no one to hold you accountable for your whereabouts. Typically, it is expected that you allocate around 35 hours per week for working and studying, including the time you spend in class. With other obligations and social activities in mind, creating a weekly timetable that leaves time for independent study will help you to stay focused and productive. Blocking out leisure time will also give you something to look forward to each day, and you’ll probably work faster knowing that the end is in sight.

It can be easy to fall into the habit of staying up late in order to squeeze in everything on your to-do list, but getting enough sleep each night is one of the most important steps in your routine. Luckily, the idea that everyone needs exactly eight hours sleep is unrealistic—some people may only need six, and some may need nine. Sleep is often considered in terms of 90-minute cycles and you should get at least five whole cycles per night (7.5 hours). Here, the key is to set a time to go to bed every night and stick to it. Every time you change your body’s wake time, it suffers something resembling jet lag, making you feel groggy and affecting your performance, even if you’ve had more sleep than usual. 

Limit procrastination

We’ve all been there. Making the executive decision to take a five minute break and cheer up with a cat video seems like a great idea, until you catch yourself poised to click “adopt” four hours later, only to realize that your accommodation doesn’t allow pets. Cue the panic, self-hatred, stress and eventually a nap to make it all go away, and you probably haven’t achieved a great deal. Breaking up your work into small steps can help you to focus and make the task at hand seem less overwhelming. Create a deadline for each of these steps so that you’re not waiting until the final deadline is near to begin work.

Nobody is perfect—instead of punishing yourself for wasted time, assign rewards for any work that you do complete. Lunch, an episode on Netflix, or a free hour to spend with your friends can all be incentives to be productive. Limiting distractions like your phone, social media and TV will make these rewards even more enjoyable, and seeking out a buddy to hold you accountable will ensure that you don’t break your own rules.

The key to time management can be as simple as understanding yourself. Self-awareness will help you to recognise the times of day when you’re most focused, and whether you’re more productive brainstorming with a group or on your own.

Healthy body, healthy mind

You’ve probably heard this one countless times, but making sure you allow time for self-care is essential for your mental and physical health, as well as your attention-span and energy levels. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week can literally boost your brain power.

Ask for help

Ever heard the idea that we learn from our mistakes? If you’re struggling to find a balance at college, that’s okay. Adjustment takes time, but you may need to accept that you’re trying to take on too much. Talking to a trusted friend, family member or mental health representative could help to ease some of the pressure and enable you to rationally think through your options and figure out a new plan.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

10 Spooky Books to Read this Halloween

10 Spooky Books to Read this Halloween

Whilst I appreciate a good jump-scare horror film, nothing can quite beat the many nights spent reading Goosebumps by the light of a friend’s shaking torch that permeate my childhood memories. Stories have been used to scare us since the beginning of time and it’s chilling in itself to realize that just a few words on paper can stimulate a consuming sense of dread.

Halloween is the perfect time to curl up with one of these spooky books—just make sure to leave the lights on.

House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

This dark tale is about a family who discover that their new home is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside—and so much more. Deserving of its cult following, the experimental novel immerses you to fumble blindly over color, footnotes, upside-down text and your own nightmares. The only spoiler that I can give is that the dedication page reads: “This is not for you.”

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

You may think you have exhausted your tolerance of haunted houses—that is until Shirley Jackson takes you to Hill House. This slow-burning psychological horror was the inspiration for the new 10-part Netflix series and tells the unnerving story of four strangers and their journey into the depths of Hill House. 

Bird Box, Josh Malerman

Interweaving the past and the present, this horror novel follows Malorie and her two young children as they flee to safety. The main problem is that something is outside, and glimpsing it has driven everyone to deathly violence. Blindfolded, Malorie is unable to see what’s following them.

Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn From the author of Gone Girl, comes an even-more-disturbing thriller. Reporter, Camille Preaker returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two young girls and is confronted by her own, twisted demons. If you’re triggered by cutting you should stay away from this one, though.

Pet Sematary, Stephen King 

It would have been rude not to include Stephen King on this list and Pet Sematary is frequently referenced as his scariest book. Set in rural Maine, the suspenseful, slow burning horror features the Creed family and their recent move to an idyllic home. When the family cat dies, they ignorantly bury it near an old pet cemetery. The ending of this one might just leave you too terrified to turn the page.

Silent Child, Sarah A. Denzil

In the summer of 2006, six-year-old Aiden fell into a river during a flood and drowned. His body was never recovered. Fast forward 10 years and when Aiden staggers out of the woods, injured and mute, his mother must attempt to reconnect with her son and figure out who took him.

Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane

Set in 1954, Shutter Island follows US Marshal Teddy Daniels as he arrives to investigate the disappearance of a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. The strange case exposes human experimentation, war tactics, a killer hurricane and a protagonist who is left as messed up, disoriented and desperate to figure out the mystery as you are.

The Grave Tender, Eliza Maxwell

This southern gothic suspense novel is beautifully written and haunting. When Hadley returns to her hometown—where she’d witnessed her mother set herself on fire—she discovers that her family is surrounded by dark secrets. This book deals with several forms of abuse and trigger warnings include: rape, incest, domestic abuse and child molestation.

The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager

If you like to be kept guessing, this spooky mystery is for you. Emma remembers her days at Camp Nightingale, playing two truths and a lie with her friends—until they all went missing. When she is asked to return to the camp as a painting instructor, Emma discovers that all is not as it seems. Her past and present collide as she seeks to discover the truth.

Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, A W Jantha

Did you know that Hocus Pocus the book and a brand new sequel were released in July this year? You’re welcome.

Further reading: The Most Haunted Universities in the World

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

If you’re a college student and you’re struggling with mental health, you’re definitely not alone. College News got advice from an expert.

With a recent research study showing that one in five university students are affected by anxiety or depression, the pressure on campus facilities is high. College News discussed the problem with Dr. Sherry Benton.

Dr. Benton is a psychologist and mental health care administrator with over 22 years of experience. She is also the founder of TAO Connect—a digital platform that functions to make mental health recovery treatments easily accessible.

College News: How can college students reach out about mental health struggles?

Dr. Benton: Most campuses have a counseling center, counseling service or psychological services. Find your campuses service and learn about their programs and services. Typically, they offer a range of options.

CN: What kinds of mental health support facilities should students be looking out for when applying for colleges?

DB: Ideally, campuses should take a campus wide, comprehensive approach—including prevention, resilience training, counseling, groups, bystander education programs and other services. The Jed foundation, “Jed Campus” program works with a campus over a four-year period to insure the campus approach to mental health, substance abuse and suicide, are comprehensive and well-coordinated. Jed Campus designation is an excellent way to insure a campus has taken these issues seriously and thought out the best approaches for them.

CN: What are the most common and the most effective ways to deliver mental health therapy?

DB: Different people have different needs and respond to different approaches. Traditional face-to-face individual psychotherapy is the most common and best known. However, research has shown it is not more effective than group therapy or internet based cognitive behavioral therapy for many common problems. Many people also find self-help or apps effective for them.

CN: Do you think that students do not receive enough mental health help at college?

DB: I think most universities work very hard to meet the need, yet providing psychotherapy is really expensive and often difficult to access everywhere not just in universities. Using effective models such as stepped-care can help campuses to stretch limited resources to provide more help to more students. In stepped-care, students are quickly assessed and then begin with a level of help likely to be helpful. Progress is monitored regularly and students can be moved to more intensive or less intensive levels of help depending on their responses.

CN: How can campuses raise awareness and take a proactive approach to mental health?

DB: Campuses can raise awareness through the following: educational campaigns, resilience training in freshman orientation classes, bystander education programs like Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) or Kognito, education programs through Greek houses, residence halls, athletic departments, clubs and organizations.

CN: Are there exercises that students can practice on their own to help improve their mental state?

DB: Mindfulness meditation is something everyone should do. The many health benefits and mental health benefits would suggest that daily meditation should be as consistent as brushing your teeth. Another option is TAO Connect, which provides students access to its self-help courses whenever they want, without having to make an appointment to see a therapist.

CN: What is TAO Connect?

DB: We are a suite of online tools for mental health screening, assessment, patient education, skill development and progress monitoring. TAO can be used as self-help or with a therapist or case manager. TAO’s materials are interesting and engaging with actors in scenes, animations, interactive exercises and journaling.

CN: How can students take advantage of TAO Connect?

DB: There are 120 colleges in the US and Canada offering TAO’s programs to students either as self-help or through their counseling center. Contact your counseling center to find out if your school subscribes to TAO.

Further reading: You’re Not Alone: Facing Loneliness In College

Back to School

Back to School: Getting Around Campus

The first year at college is particularly exciting; for many students, this is their first home away from their parents, and with that brings a huge sense of freedom. But campus life in those first few weeks of semester can prove to be confusing, too. Learn to navigate your new campus and get settled in quickly with our top tips.

Orientation day

Most colleges offer orientation days when new students go back to school at the beginning of the fall semester. This day is a perfect opportunity to register, sign up to classes, learn about general rules and policies and get to know new peers and faculty. Not only this, new students will be given a guided group tour of the campus and the opportunity to explore independently so that when the first day of class arrives, students are more adequately acquainted with their new surroundings.

Map it

Maps, whether they be printed or downloaded and interactive, are a basic essential for a new student’s campus pocketbook. Familiarize yourself with the major locations situated on the map and keep it with you during the first weeks of college to easily locate classes, the library, the school’s health center and the student union. Alternatively, if you are unsure ask older students or members of staff for directions.

Public transport

Public transport for college students tends to be very reliable, frequent and (perhaps best of all) affordable. Check the campus’ bus terminal for routes around your new city and their scheduled times. You will likely need a student identification card for travel discounts, so make sure this stays in your purse or wallet at all times. Some universities also provide park and ride shuttle services so you can park your car outside of college grounds and get into campus easily.

Campus security

Colleges across the nation are upping their security measures amidst recent reports of attacks and crimes on campus—according to rainn.org, an astonishing 11.2 percent of all students in the US experience sexual assault alone. Prior to starting classes, find out who your campus security personnel are and take note of their contact details. Always try to walk in groups where possible when traveling across campus grounds (particularly in the dark, winter months) and endeavour to plan ahead by telling your roommates where you are going and when they should expect you home.

Back to school checklist

Do you have:

  • ƒ Campus map?
  • ƒ Campus security contact?
  • ƒ Student identification card?
  • ƒ Classroom locations/numbers?
  • ƒ Student Union location?

Further reading: Exploring Campus

Student Loan Debt

Dealing with Student Loan Debt

The most recent data suggests that US student loan debt is soaring at a dizzying pace. This past year, figures have shown that it now currently sits at around $1.4 trillion—yes, trillion. Shockingly, college tuition fees have increased almost 400 percent in the last 30 years while the average household income growth certainly has not, says news site theatlantic.com. Yet, while the nation places great importance on college education for a sustainable and thriving economic future, yearly university fees are still climbing, forcing people to take out giant student loans and some would-be students to forget about college altogether. According to The Washington Post, some four in 10 people who have attended college in their lives have taken out a loan to facilitate their studies. A report by the College Board released in 2016 found that the average debt attributed to those who took out a student loan to complete a bachelor’s degree was $28,400, but the reality is often much higher for many students. What is even more egregious about this situation, is that it is largely students from the least affluent backgrounds who take on the most student loan debt. Around a fifth of people who have student loan debt are also “falling back” on their payments, incurring penalties and sky-rocketing interest rates on top of an already huge sum.

Some think tanks are now arguing that the US government should eliminate student loan debt completely, saying that, in the long-term, these crippling bills will do nothing to bolster the country’s economy later down the line, and may actually damage it. But, unless this happens and college is still your goal, it is key to take into account all of the financial options available to you to help keep costs down as much as possible throughout your studies. Financial aid in the form of scholarships or non-repayable grants can slash student loan debts down by a considerable amount, and there are also many universities across the country who offer significant financial aid packages which cover up to 100 percent in tuition fees.

Five colleges with great financial aid packages

There is a wealth of colleges throughout the US—including major Ivy League universities—who offer financial aid to those who need it the most.

  1. Columbia University

One of the most expensive schools in the states, Columbia University’s tuition and fees reach $55,056 per year. Thankfully, the college offers a very attractive financial aid package, which comes to an average of $55,521.

  1. Harvard University

Harvard University is considered one of the most elite schools in the world, and the privilege of attending is reflective of its mammoth yearly fees which reach $47,074. But, like Columbia, it offers a great financial aid page of $51,308 to cover this—and then some. 100 percent of students who were eligible for this package’s needs were met.

  1. Yale University

Annual tuition and fees at this Ivy League school reach $49,480. Yale offers an average of $52,894 in their financial aid package, and 100 percent of students who utilized the financial aid package’s needs were met.

  1. Princeton University

With annual tuition and fees costing $45,320, Princeton University offers an attractive financial aid package which sits at an average of $49,502.

  1. University of Richmond

While annual tuition fees for the University of Richmond are around $50,910, the university offers a financial aid package is $45,784, making the remaining $5,000 or so a lot easier to cope with when it comes to paying fees.

It’s safe to say that student loan debt may be an inevitable part of studying, but there are options available to help alleviate financial pressures during your school years. Make sure to research the universities you might like to attend before applying. Some schools may offer substantial non-repayable grants to help cover the ever-increasing fees attached.

Further reading: Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

Girl studies for post-graduate degree with head in her books

Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

When we get to the end of our studies, many of us are at a loss as to the next steps in our careers and our lives. At this stage, it can be tempting to apply for a post-graduate degree.

After all, more time spent at college seems like fun!

But it is vital to go into post-graduate study for the right reasons. It is important to make measured decisions and not act on impulse or whim. At the end of the day, you will be investing a lot of time and—more importantly—money in the program. And some may question if a college degree is worth the effort.

Read on for useful tips to bear in mind when contemplating to apply for post-graduate study.

Don’t rush into it

First of all, you should think about whether heading straight back into studying is the right option for you. Maybe you should take a year out to relax and earn some cash before embarking on your next challenge.

Contrary to what you might think, many employers look favorably upon those who have removed themselves from their comfort zone to work and travel abroad. It demonstrates a certain quality of independence most employers will value.

Also, don’t simply go into post-graduate study because you want to stall your entrance into the ‘real world’. You should think carefully about whether the course you intend to enrol in is going to help you with your career down the line.

Rather than undertake a post-graduate degree because you’re unsure of the next step to take, you should ask yourself: will it be worth my time and money? Where will this course get me?

On that note, if you haven’t already, make some goals and objectives.

What are your goals with a post-graduate degree?

Before making any major life decision, it is always a good idea to set out some targets and goals.

In this case, some questions to get you started could include: what are you trying to achieve from your move into post-graduate study? What do you hope to get out of it? How will this course further your career ambitions—if at all?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to consider why you are thinking about a post-graduate degree. You should also reflect on whether you could achieve your career goals via other means.

Of course, some professions require a master’s degree or higher level of academic qualification. But others—such as journalism, business, finance and marketing—offer industry-standard qualifications at a fraction of the cost of a post-graduate degree. For this reason, think about how you can get better value for money.

Earn while you learn

Making money while studying is, for most of us, the only feasible way to fund a post-graduate degree. Therefore, it is crucial to consider if your chosen mode of study is compatible with part-time work. If not, you may struggle financially, making your degree more stressful than it needs to be.

Many post-graduate degrees offer the option of part-time study. Opting for this route will ensure you get the most out of your degree without compromising your ability to make ends meet.

Why not take a job in a café, bar or restaurant? Hospitality work can be a fun way to make new friends. You could even meet influential figures who might help you out.

Weigh up the rewards of a post-graduate degree

Think about what this course is going to do for you.

Will it help you obtain skills in employability? Or do you already possess those skills? Is the cost of the degree going to be outweighed by potential future earnings? Will you be able to pay back your loans?

All the above questions are vital when you consider a post-graduate degree. Think about their answers sensibly to avoid disappointment or a difficult financial situation later on.

Remember: be realistic about what post-graduate study is; it’s not a golden ticket to employment!

Be ready for a challenge

After you have deliberated on all of the above, if you still think a post-graduate degree is right for you, be ready to embrace a challenge.

Post-graduate study is much harder than undergraduate.

You will be expected to do more reading and researching than ever before. If you think this workload will be too tough, perhaps post-graduate study is not for you.

Think carefully about whether you are willing to devote a whole new year of your life to intense study. Post-grads are expected to explore their subjects in comprehensive depth and detail. Be prepared for this and bring your A game!

So, before you fill out that application form, consider the above tips to ensure you make an informed decision.

 

College Experience

How to Learn More from Your College Experience

College isn’t just a stepping stone towards the start of a fulfilling career, it can be one of the most exciting times of your life. During your time there, you’re given multiple opportunities to cultivate a deeper understanding of an area of study as well as explore additional interests, meet interesting new people, and get to know yourself a little bit more—but you need to actually take those opportunities in order to make the most out of college.

This is how to learn more from your college experience:

Drop by events and seminars on campus

Guest speakers are always invited to college campuses, and a majority of the time they talk about some pretty thought-provoking topics! Whether a speaker is giving a lecture or an informative seminar about a social cause, you will unquestionably walk away from their event having learned something new and enlightening. Professors often offer extra credit for attending seminars as well, giving you the chance to boost your grade, too.

Study abroad if you have the chance

You can read a thousand books on a different country and come to learn everything about it, but doing so can never compare to the enriching experience of actually living there. Not only do you get to embrace a different culture when studying abroad, you can learn a new language, become more open-minded to another society, and even leave with a pen pal or two. Furthermore, living in a different country forces you to be independent and adapt to unexpected challenges, which can be very rewarding for your personal development.

Take classes you’re curious about

Besides dedicating most of your time to major studies, take classes that ignite your curiosity or simply sound fun. College is a time of self-exploration and discovery, and doing so through classes outside your major is a great start. You never know what might become a favorite new passion or an area of study that perfectly complements your major. Who knows, you might even switch to an entirely different major!

Talk to professors during office hours

A professor can be one of the coolest people you meet during college. You would be surprised at what life knowledge they can share besides helping you out with last week’s lecture. These people were once students like you and can offer insight on how to tackle the college years and even direct you to possible internships and professional opportunities. If you’re beginning to network, start with building the foundation of it with your professors.

Interact with different groups of people outside your social circle

Your main social circle shouldn’t be the only group of people you hang out with during college. Don’t be afraid to become friends with foreign exchange students, join campus groups who share your same interests, and network with classmates – these are individuals who can become your lifelong friends, teach you important lessons, or help you take steps forward in your career.

Act responsibly

Parties are going to be a big thing in college, and they may become events you attend every other weekend or so. Have fun by all means! But act responsibly and aware during your time at one. Watch your alcohol intake if you’ll be drinking, be cautious when exposed to drugs, and keep an eye out for your friends if you get separated. What matters the most at a party is the fact that you are safe, comfortable, and having a great time! By acting responsibly during a party, you learn how to take care of yourself, watch out for your friends, and develop good judgment skills.

During college, you will meet an incredible diversity of people and learn about their different backgrounds, be given endless opportunities to learn more about this world, and come closer to knowing who you are. At the end of the day, you are the one who determines whether or not college can be an amazing experience – so make it count!

Further reading: Exploring Campus

Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer, currently writing on behalf of Ohio Addiction Recovery Center. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles to share his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him playing his guitar or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
Type of Learner

What Type of Learner Are You?

Have you ever tried to process a new piece of information but find that you simply can’t get a grasp on understanding it? You may need to approach it with a different method.

Everyone learns differently—some people will want things shown to them, while other people need information written down. Some people like to listen to explanations while others will need to physically study it in order to soak it in. Schools tend to apply different methods of teaching during classes in order to accommodate all kinds of learners, but when you’re studying at home, it may be beneficial for you to figure out what type of learner you are and apply it to your personal work.

Reader/writer

Reading and writing is a combo that makes up a very traditional style of learning. If you are a reading or writing type of learner, then you will be able to learn best by reading text and rewriting it. For example, if you were learning a language, you would find it easiest to study the vocabulary by reading the words on a page, then copying them out yourself.

Visual

Graphs, infographics and dioramas are a visual learner’s bread and butter. It helps this type of learner to see the information in context and be able to visualize it in their mind. If you are a visual learner, then you’ll find colors helpful. When trying to remember a point, you will try to form an image of it in your head. When learning a language, creating charts and maps to link vocabulary and learn conjugations is hugely helpful to visual learners.

Auditory

Auditory learners will flourish when they are able to listen to information in order to learn it. If you’re an auditory type of learner, you will be a whizz at learning in lectures and will find podcasts incredibly useful. Auditory learners tend to process information by repeating it to themselves either out loud or in their heads. They will be the ones to be able to commit language to memory by listening to others speak it.

Kinesthetic

A more tactile approach is favoured by kinesthetic learners when studying. This type of learner will enjoy reading the information aloud, acting through problems and practical work. A kinesthetic learner tends to prefer picking up a language by conversing with native speakers.

Don’t try to punish yourself by studying in “traditional” ways. Everybody learns differently and at different paces, so try different methods to find one that works for you.

Further reading: Writing an Essay: The Process

 

College Degree to be Successful

Do You Need a College Degree to be Successful?

With potential loan debts and tuition costs rising every year, it’s no wonder half the millennial population is asking: do you need a college degree to be successful? The answer isn’t simple. There is no definitive proof that a degree can secure you the job of your dreams or lead to the ultimate “success” (especially because success is in the eye of the beholder). One person’s idea of being successful may be different to another’s. But, for now, lets assume that it means you have effectively climbed to the top of your field and earn a reasonably high salary.

A career prerequisite

Before considering whether you wish to attend college, you may want to reflect on what you have a real passion for. This is almost always the thing you will excel at. From there, you should surmise whether a degree is necessary in order to enter this vocation. For many industries, a degree isn’t a prerequisite for an entry-level position. In such circumstances, some students may feel a degree would simply postpone any possible opportunities. However, a degree may be an absolute must for certain fields—the obvious ones being medicine, the sciences, engineering and architecture.

Having realistic expectations is important at this stage of your decision-making. This is not to say don’t aim high, but be honest with yourself about what you can achieve. If your objectives are ambitious, devise a plausible plan that will make your dreams a reality. You may aspire to be a professional swimmer, but you should appreciate that this profession may be slightly out of reach. Instead, becoming the best swimming instructor in the region may be more achievable. Identifying a suitable location with a gap in the market may facilitate you founding a swimming school, which could even lead to a franchise.

What’s it worth?

There are various elements that can determine the value of your college degree: the amount you will ultimately pay to attend, your desired career path and your post-graduation living situation—each can contribute to its worth. One way to determine whether your college costs will stack up against your potential income is to use the Major ROI tool on the Discover Student Loans’ website. The website covers the potential average salary for different subject majors. For industries with six figure salaries, you can afford to pay for a more expensive institution. If the rewards are low, you may wish to consider a more economic method for achieving your goals.

Let’s not forget that financial aid is still available in the form of scholarships for those who need help with offsetting the cost of a college degree. Community colleges and state universities are also options that shouldn’t be cast aside. Both can provide quality educational courses for people with a subject or occupation in mind.

Pro college degree

  • Shows passion and dedication to the field you are applying for.
  • Prepares individuals for the workplace by developing independence, introducing important connections and improving social skills.
  • Provides resources that students can tap into for in-depth insight into various topics—experienced lecturers stand as a fountain of knowledge and expertise.
  • A college degree has become the standard for which many candidates are measured—mostly due to the imbalance of the job-to-candidate ratio.
  • According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2016, earning potential and educational attainment are directly related; lower earners had completed fewer levels of academia in every category.

Pro no college degree

  • Free from debt and tuition fees.
  • Internship and apprenticeship programs can introduce young people into the workplace—securing such a position doesn’t necessarily require a college degree to be successful.
  • Fostering ambition and making valuable business connections is possible via websites such as LinkedIn and Quora.
  • Online courses and certifications provide useful self-educational tools, providing knowledge needed for the workplace or specific industry.
  • The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey 2017 reported that business owners without a four-year degree far outnumber those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

What the experts say

Several famous personalities have managed to prosper without the help of a college degree; Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Coco Chanel and Steve Jobs, to name a few. This adheres with the data produced by the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey from 2017. It found that entrepreneurs who didn’t finish or attend college outnumbered those with higher-level degrees across both genders and every age group apart from the over 65s. However, all business owners who had skipped higher level education all shared common personality traits: each had a distinct attitude of independence, determination, a great idea and the willingness to take risks.

Jacqueline Gold, founder of the Ann Summers adult retail empire is another example of a self-made businesswoman, who climbed her way to the top without a degree. “I was acutely aware when I started Ann Summers Party Plan that I had no formal business training, but what started out as a disadvantage actually turned into one of my biggest advantages. I had to rely entirely on listening to customer feedback, which led to the rapid growth of Party Plan turning over £86,000 in its first year.” While Gold believes that college is undeniably beneficial, she also champions those that follow alternative paths. “I’m excited that there are individuals that want to do something different and create their own career and get straight in to the work place.”

On the topic, Chuck Runyon—co-founder of the 24-hour gym chain Anytime Fitness—commented: “If you want to get out of college and try to hustle, it still requires a great deal of capacity.” Runyon decided to leave college after he identified a gap in the market for a gym that was always open, one whose equipment focused solely on what was most frequently used by members. “I want to make it clear: you have to work every bit as hard, if not harder.”

The brain behind Microsoft, Bill Gates, agreed with Runyon’s sentiments. In a blog post in 2015, Gates said, “Although I dropped out of college and got lucky pursuing a career in software, getting a degree is a much surer path to success.” While the majority of successful entrepreneurs show that college degrees aren’t the only way to succeed in life, none seem to show a dislike for higher education, either.

Whether you decide to get a college degree or jump straight into work, it is clear that the key to succeed in life is to aim high, work your hardest, take risks, stretch your creativity, and—no matter what—follow your dreams.

Further reading: Free Courses to Boost Your Resume