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How can I succeed in college because I'm planning on going

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Subject: Career question for you

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April’s Answer

Succeeding in college has a lot to do with preparation. That’s one tip. Preparation before going in, preparing while you’re in it, and preparing before you leave it.

Before entering, you can become better prepared by thinking about what career you want and researching what qualifications that career takes. If you’re unsure of what career you’re interested in yet, explore your interests and research what careers you can make out of them. Research different colleges so that you can see what their benefits are and how that relates to you. This will help you to choose the school that best fits your needs.

While you’re in school, be prepared to have some long days, but know that it’s an investment that will pay off. As you are discovering what your career qualifications will be, you can take courses that will give you that knowledge. You can explore internships or volunteer opportunities that give you hands-on experience before graduating. It’s also great to have a mentor who can guide you with professional and personal development along your journey. Mentors can be found in school or community organizations, at work, or even in your professors.

As you are nearing graduation and the start of your career, start preparing for that. Visit your college’s career center (hopefully they have one) and get assistance on building a professional resume and cover letter. Sign up for mock interviews so that you can practice speaking and answering questions. Speak to people who may be references for jobs (mentors, supervisors, professors, etc) to make sure they are willing to speak well on your behalf.

Of course nothing can be perfect and there’s no way to prepare for every single situation that may arise. Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself time to learn the new environment and adjust to being a college student. Give yourself grace while you are learning more about yourself. Overall, be intentional with your college encounter. Appreciate the experience, but also pay attention to how you can use it to your advantage.
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Joanna’s Answer

Here are some tips I have for you to better prepare yourself for a smooth(er) transition to college!

1. Stay organized

It's easy to lose track of assignment due dates and exam days since you have multiple different classes. Most professors are busy with their other classes, projects, or research, so they don't have the time to remind you of every upcoming due date. As such, be sure to stay organized by keeping track of all the assignments and their due dates and exam days. This can first be accomplished by reading the class syllabus in advance or within the first few days since the start of classes. Professors generally upload their syllabus a few days prior to the beginning of term or on the first day of their class. These documents contain a lot of information about assignments, quizzes, due dates, late submissions, and exam days/times.

Here is a list of my favorite apps I used at UCLA to track of all these:

- GOOGLE CALENDAR: After my professors uploaded the syllabus, I marked down all my exam dates (and colored the event red) in this app. It was super helpful since I could request for exam day changes in advance (if I had conflicting exam days/times) and formulate a study plan weeks before. This was especially helpful for classes where I had back to back exams. (I also used this app to keep track of my classes since I could never remember my class schedule for some reason)

- GOOGLE SHEETS: After finishing with google calendar, I used Google sheets to list out all my assignments, quizzes, projects, extra credit, and exams and their deadlines. This is a very tedious project but after rearranging the columns by upcoming dates, I was able to keep track of when all my assignments were due and check them off when i submitted them. It was handy having this since I could add, remove, or edit things as the quarter passed on.

Google apps were the easiest for me since I had unlimited storage and I could access it from any device. For those without access to devices/technology, I would recommend the following:
- a sturdy notebook with monthly calendars
- different colored pens/pencils/highlighters
- sticky notes

2. Figure out your learning style

Studying in high school is much different than studying in college. Many professors don’t care if you pass or fail their class, unlike with high school teachers who tend to baby their students more. Thus, it is important you know how you best learn! Are you a visual learner? Do you learn best through solving problems or explaining to others? Do you need to read the textbook? It is important you figure it out so that you’re able to comprehend the material and remember it long-term.

3. Attend Office Hours

Unless you’re at a fancy private college where the class sizes are small, most classes consists of more than 100 students. Some of my classes at ucla had 300-400 students. With such large class sizes, professors cannot dedicate much time to answering all questions during class. So if you have questions or you’re still not clear on a topic, attend your TA and professors’s office hours! It is a great way to get more individual help, as well as getting to know your professors/TAs outside of the classroom.

3. Utilize the Pomodoro Technique

For some people cramming last minute helps, but according to research, spaced learning is much more effective than massed learning. Massed learning is when you cram in all the information within a few hours/days prior to the test, whereas for spaced learning, you study days in advance. The Pomodoro technique utilizes the spaced learning technique. Essentially you focus on one subject for 25 mins, then take a 5 min break. At the end of the break, you repeat the steps but you focus on a different subject each time. Such studying has been shown to increase retention rates in most individuals.

Some other effective Studying Techniques
- Practice Problems
- Practice Exams
- Explaining concepts or answers to your classmates
- Repetition
- Breaks

4. Have fun!

In addition to all the studying, you need to take some breaks and have fun with classmates/friends/clubs! College can definitely mess with your mental health, and your health should ALWAYS be prioritized. A TedTalk once mentioned students who show the best performance in class were those who first scheduled events/trips/outings first in their calendars before making a study schedule. Declining mental health may take a toll on your studying so be sure to schedule some outings and/or breaks in your calendar!

Keep in mind it is different for everyone, but these were how I stayed on top of everything in college. There are so many other things you can do to be successful in college, but you have a lot of time to figure everything out! You best learn through experience! Best of luck and hope this helped! :)
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Claudia’s Answer

Make sure you actually go to class - skipping one or two is fine if you're sick or need a mental health day, but going to classes is where you will get the most helpful information. Make sure you are completing the assignments, and take advantage of any supplemental reading/work or extra credit. Prepare for exams! Even if you got through high school without needing to study, college will be different, and you will need to study. Figure out what study method works best for you, and once you are in college make sure you schedule out time to study. Same thing with writing papers or doing projects - set a timeline that allows you to work on it without rushing at the end.
Also make sure that you are building relationships with people - making friends, connecting with your professors, making contacts at career fairs, etc. This will help you when you go to apply for internships and after college when you are looking for a job.
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Jabari,
Do your best to manage your time efficiently, get to your classes and do your best! Your college may also offer many workshops on how to build up skills to succeed, so you can pick one that you may be struggling in. Give yourself time for rest, relaxation and studying! Take advantage of any resources that can help you along the way, like office hours, or studying with others. Do not be afraid to ask for help or extensions if absolutely needed. If some way of studying or learning is not working for you, try a different way! Wishing you the best!
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Natalie’s Answer

Attending class is the biggest thing. If you go to class, get there on time, and pay attention you'll have a much easier time with a class. It's also important to have good time management and set aside enough time to study and work on assignments for your classes. College professors don't remind you of due dates for assignments as much as high school teachers do, so it's your job to stay on top of that and keep track of when things are due. I use Google Keep to stay organized. You can make little sticky notes with to-do lists on them. I have one for each of my classes and I check off assignments that are due as I finish them. It's a really helpful app. Take advantage of any resources your college offers. These things are usually included with your tuition and can greatly benefit you.
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Rebecca’s Answer

College life is one of my most enjoyable moments in my life. You should enjoy these few years time.
Firstly, I am supposed to you have choose your most favourable subjects be your major and minor. You may have to attend lectures and tutorials from time to time. You may have many project to work on with other classmates or yourself. On the other hand, you also need to do revision from time to time. You need to do good time management.
Other than studying, there are plenty of extra curriculum activities. You could join some societies that you are interest of. When you moving on to senior years, you can participate the organisation committee. It is very valuable experience for you to gain experience to organize different activities and establish network with different students, professors, etc. in the university.
Some people may work on some part time jobs during the college years at well.
Hope you have a good time in college life and enjoy! Good Luck!
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Lisa Bond’s Answer

Hi Jabari,
There are several areas I've found help with success in college: time management, knowing yourself, focus and be active.
1. Time management - establish a structure for yourself. For example, study, read for your classes every day, get your homework done during the week, so you can enjoy the weekends.
2. Know yourself and what works for you - Are you a morning person? Is it best for you to take classes in the morning or afternoon or evening? Is it best to try to schedule your classes close together so you won't have large breaks in time. What's your learning style? Auditory learner? Visual learner? Are you a group learner? Or individual? Take this assessment to help you know your learning style -- https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/
3. Focus - What's your end goal? Getting a degree? A good-paying position? Graduate school? You have to know why you're there, what you hope to gain so that you can keep yourself on track. You'll meet people who will try to steer you off track, you have to be self-aware, self-confident enough to say, "No, I won't go out today." Or "No, I won't do this because it doesn't help me attain my goal."
4. Be active - Join organizations that help you with your career goals.

Good luck!
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