Wednesday, June 3, 2009

8 Rules for Selecting a College

During their senior year parents engage in the annual ritual and conversation about selecting a college. Today college cost is frequently at the top of the list of issues that parent’s must confront. Even today money should not be the only reason that you select a college. The ability of your student to live within the philosophy of a college can make a big difference in their success. Sure colleges can put up an advertisement and send you a mailing every week but there is nothing like visiting a campus and talking to the faculty and students who have made a commitment to a particular college. The truth is there are over 6,000 colleges that a student can select from and all vary in size and mission. Some colleges are owned by your state, some private and others are community colleges.

There are eight rules that will help you to select a college that fits your needs. There are some simple rules that you can follow to reduce your stress. These practices will help you to make a reasonable decision about the top colleges that you select. Here are the 8 rules:

1. When you go on a college tour always arrange a meeting with a faculty member and student.

2. Always talk to the financial aid office after you have received their financial aid package.

3. Attend a classroom lecture to get a sense of the class sizes.

4. Check out what students are saying about the college on the internet.

5. Ask if advising is mandatory or voluntary. Advisors can be a critical part of a student’s success.

6. Ask if their professors teach classes or mostly teaching assistants.

7. Ask how many students from your high school have attended the college. It could be a sign that your former classmates really liked the college.

8. Take several friends with you and go on a campus tour together. Sometimes it is good to get more than one perspective on the college you are visiting.

It is never too early to start your college search process. Colleges are putting out all kinds of information every day. You can go on some college websites and download videos and podcasts about the college. Some colleges also offer CD recordings regarding several aspects of their college. Some colleges even offer a virtual tour of their campus.

You should find ways to creatively engage in conversations with students and alumni from the college. You want to know how happy they are about their college experience. It’s even better when you can talk with students who are in a particular major. They can share their successes and also talk about their challenges within their major. The beauty of a campus is not the only thing to consider. Each student should have an enjoyable college experience. Take the time to compare the colleges you have selected and what they offer.

Another thing that you can do is pick up a few books that the faculty has written. These writings will reveal their opinions and thoughts. It is a great way to know if the faculty is keeping up with current trends. Get started to day and you will have an easier time making a college decision that you won’t regret.

Monday, June 1, 2009

10 Stress Busters for the College Bound Student

Sometimes I think that every student should be required to take a course on stress management. Can you imagine how much healthier everyone would be? Did you know that stress affects your body and your memory? Some people get so stressed that they feel like running away from life all of the time. If you are a student of any age you will experience some stress. Even some well prepared students get anxious when they think about the next test. Stress can creep in when you are least likely to expect it. So why does the feeling of anxiety which is associated with stress overtake students? Sometimes students are stressed when they take a challenging test. They get too little rest before an intense test and the energy to overcome stress cannot be found.

So the answer seems simple. Get better prepared for the test and the stress will go away. Not so easy. Other factor could include a diet that is inconsistent or unhealthy. Some students have potato chips and a Coke for breakfast. The get their sugar rush in the morning but the rest of the day seems to fizzle out. Poor eating habits and too little rest can contribute a significant amount to the stress that students feel. When a stressful test is on the horizon it is extremely difficult to relax. Also, sometimes roommates and friends can add to the stress levels if they remind you of the difficulty of the next test.

With all of this going on you need an action plan to uproot the stress that you are feeling. Two things you must do are learn how to manage your time and don’t procrastinate. You must keep your priorities organized on paper. Here are some of the benefits of reducing your stress:

1. Improve your confidence that you will pass your next test.

2. Clear your thoughts when you are preparing to listen to an instructor

3. You will improve your organization skills at home and at school

4. Increase your ability to focus on tasks and to complete assignments

5. You will have less stress when preparing for presentations

6. End your habit of waiting until the last minute to complete assignments

7. Get an adequate amount of rest before every test

8. Become more focused on maintaining positive thoughts

9. Reduce your anxiety when meeting an instructor

10. You’ll decide to eat the foods that increase your energy the most.

You can reduce your level of stress and increase your potential to learn new things. You must be willing to make sacrifices. You should start by organizing a realistic schedule that also gives you flexibility to relax. Keep a weekly journal of all of your quizzes, major examinations and general activities. Identify your time wasters and eliminate them. Remember to write down your priorities so that you do not get off track. Take time to recognize that you’re accomplishing new tasks everyday. Over a period of weeks notice how much time you are gaining to study for your tests.

You can reduce your stress by noticing the signs that you are tired. Some students express stress in through signs of fatigue, anger or refusing to talk to anyone. Just making a few changes can make a difference when it comes down to eliminating stress. Don’t get stuck in old habits that don’t work. Try deep breathing exercises and focus on relaxing your entire body. Take a break if you feel that you are no longer remembering the information you are studying. If you are willing to work hard at it your stress can be eliminated and your next exam can be a success.