Photo by Rey Seven on Unsplash
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Where Are You Now?
|Assess your present knowledge and attitudes.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|1. I understand all the benefits of a college education for my future life.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|2. I have clear-cut career interests and have already planned my college program to prepare me best for my future work.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|3. I am aware of how my previous educational background has prepared me for college work.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|4. I have all the personal traits of a successful college student.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|5. I know how to pay attention to gain the most from my classes.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|6. I am aware of my college’s policies for academic honesty and behavior on campus.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|7. I know where to find all the resources of my college that can help me succeed both academically and personally.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|8. I am confident I can earn the grades I need to achieve success in my college courses.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|9. I know the first year of college will be the most difficult, but I am fully prepared and take responsibility for my own success.||Yes||Unsure||No|
|10. I am taking steps every day to ensure I am successful in every aspect of the college experience.||Yes||Unsure||No|
Activity: YOUR College Plan
- How long do you anticipate being in college?
- How many courses will you need to take per term to finish college in your planned time period?
- What do you anticipate will be the most difficult part of completing college?
- Are you confident you will be able to overcome any possible difficulties in completing college?
- Were you able to easily answer the questions in Activity 1? How confident do you feel about your plan?
These are important questions to think about for the simple reason that students who have a clear plan and who are prepared to overcome possible obstacles that may arise along the way are much more likely to succeed in college. In other words, just thinking in a positive way about your future can help that future come true!
What Is College, Really
Core Courses, Electives, Majors, and Credits
Every college has its own course requirements for different programs and degrees. This information is available in a printed course catalog or online. While academic advisors are generally assigned to students to help them plot their path through college and take the most appropriate courses, you should also take on this responsibility yourself to ensure you are registering for courses that fit well into your plan for program or degree completion. In general there are three types of courses: Core courses (general education requirements) Required courses in your major (determined by individual academic departments) and Electives (courses you choose freely to complete the total number of college credits needed).
Most important is that you understand what courses you need and how each counts. Study the college catalog carefully and be sure to talk things over fully with your advisor. Don’t just sign up for courses that sound interesting—you might end up taking courses that don’t count toward your degree at all.
Students are often surprised to see how much information is available on college websites, including information about college programs, offices, special assistance programs, and so on, as well as helpful information such as study tips, personal health, financial help, and other resources. Take some time to explore your college’s Web site and learn what is available—this could save you a lot of time in the future if you experience any difficulty.
In addition, many colleges have offices or individuals that can help in a variety of ways. Following are some of the resources your college may have. Learn more about your college’s resources online or by visiting the office of student services or the dean of students.
- Academic advising office. This Center for Academic & Career Pathways helps students choose courses and plan for a program or degree. You should have a personal meeting at least once every semester with your advisor!
- Counseling office. LCC Counseling Services helps with personal problems, including health, interpersonal issues, or just to help students deal with the stress of balancing school, work, family, and friends.
- Financial aid office. If you are presently receiving financial aid or may qualify for assistance, you should know LCC’s Financial Aid Office well.
- Tutoring or skill centers. At LCC the tutoring office is located in LCC Learning Commons. It’s a special place where students can go for additional help for their courses or collaborate with study groups. There is also a Writing Center, that offers help with writing assignments in any class.
- Career guidance or placement office. LCC Career and Employment Services can help you find a student job or internship, plan for your career after graduation, and receive career counseling.
- Office for students with disabilities. LCC’s Office for Student Access provides various services to help students with disabilities adapt to the college environment. You can also review Disability Law on LCC’s website.
- Lucero – The focus of the LUCERO Program is to create a positive connection for Latino students with each other and with LCC and to develop exceptional academic, leadership, and professional skills while learning about and celebrating diversity and culture.
- Office of student affairs or student organizations. LCC’s Student Life and Ombudsperson offers students opportunities to participate in college-sponsored groups of like-minded others, often based on major, personal beliefs and values, sports, politics, and many more. Additionally, the ombudsperson-equity advocate provides students with information about existing channels for conflict resolution, appeals and grievances, support services available at the college, and assists students in the use of these services and procedures.
- Library – LCC’s Library is staffed with professionals whose main focus is to assist students in finding needed resources. Don’t hesitate to find the reference desk and get to know the reference librarians. They all wear buttons that say “Please Bother Me” and they mean it! Reference librarians are educators who are there to help you.
- Physical Fitness Opportunities. LCC offers a Fitness Center free of charge to all students, alumni, faculty, and Staff at its Main and West campuses. Take advantage of this to improve or maintain your personal health, which promotes academic success.
- Non-Traditional Student Services –The Adult Resource Center offers financial support and referral to community resources to adult students returning to college, students with small children.
- Your instructors. It never hurts to ask a friendly instructor if he or she knows of any additional college resources you haven’t yet discovered. There may be a brand new program on campus, or a certain department may offer a service not widely promoted through the college Web site.
How Much Do Grades Matter?
How to Calculate Your GPA
Because of various requirements for maintaining a GPA at a certain level, you may need to know how to calculate your GPA before grades come out at the end of the term. The math is not difficult, but you need to consider both the grade in every course and the number of credit hours for that course in order to calculate the overall GPA. Here is how you would do the calculation in the traditional four-point scale. First, translate each letter grade to a numerical score:
A = 4B = 3C = 2D = 1
Then multiply each grade’s numerical score by the number of units or hours for that course:
B in Math 101 × 5 hours = 3 × 5 = 15B in English 4 × 3 hours = 3 × 3 = 9C in Humanities 1 × 5 hours = 2 × 5 = 10A in College Success × 3 hours = 4 × 3 = 12
Then add together those numbers for each course:
15 + 9 + 10 + 12 = 46.
Then divide that total by the total number of credit hours:
46 / 16 = 2.87 = GPA of 2.87.
- The first year of college is the most critical. Make the commitment to overcome any obstacles to a successful transition and stay committed and motivated to succeed.
- Although college students differ in many ways, all successful students share certain common traits, including a positive attitude, effective critical thinking skills, good time management skills, effective study skills, interactions with instructors and other students, and good habits for personal health and financial stability.
- Working with your academic advisor and taking advantage of the many resources available at your college are key actions to ensure success.
- Understanding the larger characteristics of college success leads to a richer college experience, supplementing the value of good grades.
- While it may take a few weeks to develop all the skills needed for success in college, there are many steps you can begin taking today to get moving in the right direction.
End of Chapter Credits You and Your College Experience by Tammy Root and Martha Madigan is adapted from Saylor.Org Academy-Try College 101 and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License