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Final Exams: Big Final Four Tips

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From Malcolm & Sue Kahn, authors of College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals:

To become a team competing in a final four competition, the players must carefully prepare to win their final games.  Just like the players on such a team (for example, the University of Connecticut Huskies—the 2014 NCAA champions), you can plan a winning performance for your final exams.  Here are our big final four tips:

1.  Teams that win tournaments engage in planning by scheduling strategy meetings and practices to analyze ways to win against their opponents.  Successful students plan for finals by applying principles of time management.  This means completing all assignments and required reading for each class early enough that you can begin actual study about a week before your scheduled final exam.  Implement a study plan for each exam, questioning yourself along the way to be sure you understand the material.

2.  Players watch films of their opponents to learn what to expect in a big game.  Similarly, students can pay careful attention to any information professors provide about what to expect on the final exam.  Learn from your previous tests the kinds of questions your professor prefers to use—are the questions usually from the textbook, from lectures, from outside readings?  If you can, review your previous tests from the professor to see what questions you missed, and determine what you can do to improve for the final.

3.  To achieve victory, players must be at their peak on the day of the big competition.  Students taking final exams must also be at their peak on final exam day.  You can complete your last review the night before the final exam and schedule a good night’s sleep.  Don’t expect to learn anything new on exam day; just skim over your material to trigger your recall.  Getting yourself psyched without becoming too nervous will enhance your concentration as you answer exam questions.

4.  During competition, players must “read” their opponents’ offensive and defensive moves and respond appropriately.  During final exams, students must read both exam directions and questions very carefully.  Quickly preread through the entire test before beginning, noting how many points a section of an exam is worth and allotting time for that section accordingly.  For objective tests, read all of the answer choices before making your decision.  For essay tests, carefully read the essay question and write a precise, organized answer.

 

Thanks for the helpful tips, Malcolm and Sue! How do you best prepare for finals? Let us know! Join the discussion

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8 Pros and Cons of Living On Campus in College

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Whether you are living on campus now or thinking of going back, you know there are some serious downsides to living in university-owned housing.  Personally, I feel every student should live on campus at least one year (the first year typically works best).

Con #1: The Bad Roommate.

  • ▪ If you don’t pick your roommate from high school or you do and simply don’t get along with them as well as you thought you would, you can easily wind up with a terrible roommate that you don’t get along with at all.  I had one my first year, but fortunately he was rarely around so I survived.

Con #2: Community Bathrooms

  •  ▪ For those of you bearing this burden, you know the struggle is real.  I personally believe it is worse for the females than for the guys, but it certainly isn’t pleasant for anyone when you have an emergency and all the stalls are full.

Con #3: Limited Space

  • ▪ Whether you’re living with a roommate or in a single room, your space is going to be limited.  Residence hall rooms are known (infamously) for being small.  You won’t have as much as space as an apartment or house would offer you, but you can make the most of it.

Pro #1: Building Community

  • ▪ Especially in your first year, you won’t know many people outside of the ones you knew from high school which may not be anyone.  Living on campus with other first year students and sharing things like bathrooms and other common spaces forces you to meet new people, build your friend base and prepares you for the remaining college years to come.

Pro #2: Meal Availability

  • ▪ Living on campus means you can’t really cook for yourself, but that also means you have dining courts and multiple food options on campus with you that you can use.  Your room and board should include a meal plan and get you a set amount of meals to hopefully last you throughout the year.

 

Full story, found at Hack College8 Pros and Cons of Living On Campus in College.

 

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Interviews: Everything You Need To Know

Even for the most fearless amongst us, job interviews can be nerve wracking. In order to give you the best chance at succeeding with interviews, we’ve prepared a list of suggestions, tips and types of interviews you may experience as you strive towards landing that job.

First, knowing what type of interview to expect can help you better prepare. These include:

Screening or phone interview-

  • This cost effective way to screen candidates can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Prepare for it like an open book exam, having your resume, the job description, answers to common interview questions (hyperlink) and questions to ask the interviewer. Since they can’t see your body language, be sure to have an energetic tone and polished answers.

Individual Interview -

  • Individual interviews, more commonly known as one-on-one, take place at the business’s office.  This interview may last anywhere from 30-90 minutes. If the interview is 30 minutes, you will want to be concise and to the point with your answers. If the interview is 60-90 minutes, you’ll want to elaborate on your responses.

Skype interview -

  • In today’s global workplace, more and more employers are going with Skype to interview potential candidates. It allows the interviewer to easily see the candidate and their body language.

 

Once you have an idea of what type of interview to expect for, it’s time to prepare. Here are some helpful tips.

Phone Interview

  • ▪  Keep the noise down – find a quiet place to do the interview
  • ▪  Review your application materials
  • ▪  Create cheat sheets with possible answer outlines
  • ▪  Have great questions to ask
  • ▪  Research the organization and current news
  • ▪  Keep your answers brief (1-2 minutes)
  • ▪  Be enthusiastic so you don’t sound flat
  • ▪  Send a professional thank you email

Individual Interview

3a3851b41fee4e4abbd0b3292e971535 (click to enlarge)

For what to wear

Skype Interview

  • ▪ Keep the noise down – find a quiet place to do the interview
  • ▪ Create a professional username in Skype
  • ▪ Watch for the delay – web based interview connections can sometimes lag behind the internet
  • ▪ Dress for the occasion – wear neutral, solid colors

With these suggestions in mind, you’ve set yourself up for success.

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Here are some more helpful images to prepare you for your upcoming interview! Good luck on your interview and remember, confidence is key!

 

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Career Fairs: Everything You Need To Know

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Attending a career fair can be intimidating: the long lines, crowds of people and the somewhat awkward “mini-chats” with companies. Career fairs provide opportunities to connect face-to-face with company representatives that can elaborate on the company and positions currently available and might be the ones who make the hiring decision. From preparation to follow ups, the following tips will allow you to maximize your time and make a great impression at the fair.

Jon’s Career Fair Tips:

Do your research
Compile the right materials
Plan your route
Bring your a-game
Network
Perfect (and customize) your pitch
Be enthusiastic, not desperate
Be open minded
Sell yourself not just your resume
Ask questions and be engaging
Don’t hesitate to talk to an employer
Find out how to follow up
Don’t wear out your welcome

 

Do your research:

Prior to the career fair, you will have access to a list of all companies attending. This list is usually found on your campuses career center website. At the career fair you won’t be able to talk to everyone so narrow your list down to 4-6 companies and plan to only visit those companies that you’re interested in. Once your list is narrowed down go through and research the company’s website. This allows you to see if the company is interested in you (looking for internships or full-time etc.) and allows you to read the qualifications of the position to see if you’re a good fit.

Once you have a feel for the company, visit a website called Glassdoor which allows you to research employee reviews of the company. In addition, the website allows you to review employee satisfaction, median salary for the job, job openings, and potential interview questions the company may ask you.

Compile the right materials:

Make sure all copies of your resume are printed on resume paper. Refrain from using color or graphics on your resume as it will distract the employer from reviewing your resume and may result in you not looking professional on paper. Business cards are optional but provide a professional way to deliver information to recruiters if they need to get in contact with you. Finally, bring a pad-folio to hold your resume, handouts and business cards.

Plan your route:

It’s time to plan which companies you are going to visit first (visit companies in the order of your interest level) since lines and crowds will always be unpredictable. Try to attend the career fair in the early parts of the event rather than the last hour. Towards the end, recruiters start to lose enthusiasm and may try to cut out early from the event.

Bring your a-game:

Bring a positive attitude, professionalism and your a-game. Don’t chew gum, suck on mints, or eat or drink anything in front of recruiters. You want a job don’t you? Professional attire is also a must – don’t wear white socks. There’s no point in wearing a nice suit if you’re going to put on white socks and make yourself stand out in a negative way. In fact, some recruiters may interview you on-the-spot or immediately after the career fair so show potential employers you’re serious.

Attire for Men:

  • Present a clean-shaven face or neatly trimmed beard.
  • A tailored suit or jacket with a shirt and tie are a minimum.
  • Comfortable dress shoes
  • Dark conservative suits with a white, pressed shirt for underneath
  • Wear dark socks with polished dress shoes
  • Hair should be combed, clean and neat

 

Attire for Women:

  • Wear minimal make up. Avoid bright colors, sparkles or glitter
  • Traditional business attire is dark conservative skirt suit or pant suit
  • Wear a blouse with a tailored collar or neckline
  • Avoid large scarves that are distracting
  • Heels should be no higher than two inches
  • Hosiery should be neutral or blend with the suit color
  • Wear an appropriate watch and keep jewelery to a minimum
  • Hair should be combed clean and neat with long hair pulled away from the face

 

Network:

Talk to as many people as you can at each company. This allows you to get an understanding for a company through multiple perspectives and allows for a company to get to know you.

Perfect (and customize) your pitch:

Your elevator speech  should include information that can highlight everything on your resume to an employer in less than 30 seconds (typical length of an elevator ride). Any more than 30 seconds and you run the risk of boring a recruiter. Remember, KISS (Keep It Short & Sweet) when practicing your elevator speech. Be sure to practice your elevator speech on your second choice employers before approaching your top company. This way, your top company will be able to see you at your best.

Be enthusiastic and not desperate:

Approach each recruiter with fresh enthusiasm, make eye contact and smile. If a recruiter isn’t holding anything, extend your arm for a firm handshake. Having a weak handshake allows for the employer to internalize that you’re not as interested as they are to be talking. When you approach a recruiter, state your name, your background/major, your pitch and what you would like to do. Don’t be desperate and immediately ask if they are hiring.

Be open minded:

Some companies name’s you might not recognize. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad company. If you are unsure about a company, research them and get an understanding for what they do and how you might be a great fit with them. Additionally, don’t limit yourself geographically. The important thing is to work for a company you believe in.

Sell yourself not just your resume:

This is a great time to talk about and sell you. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes at career fairs. The important thing they are looking for is strong communication skills and attributes of potential candidates. You may consider talking about extracurricular activities you were involved in or the research/projects you did for a class. Sell why you should be hired and don’t limit yourself to your resume for selling you.

Ask questions and be engaging:

For each company you plan to visit, come up with a few open ended questions that are thoughtful. It’s important you ask things that you can’t easily find online when doing your research.

A question may include:

“What type of background and experience do you find to be the most successful in (position)?

The important take away here is to break the ice and let companies know you’re interested.

Don’t hesitate to talk to an employer just because the booth is next to a recruiter with whom you’ve just spoken to:

Recruiters talk to several hundred students at each career fair. Just like them, you are looking for a company to be a part of. Don’t be afraid to go to every booth and talk but remember your list of companies you made.

Find out how to follow up:

Ask recruiters for business cards so that you may thank them for taking the time to talk about the position and company. This is a great way for recruiters to see your communication skills (with following up via email) and lets them know you are interested.

Don’t wear out your welcome:

You’ve nailed your introduction and pitch, learned about the company and position and have asked thought provoking questions. It’s time to wrap up the conversation and say “It was nice to meet you” then start to walk away. If a recruiter wants to know more he/she will stop you from leaving. It’s better to end a conversation a bit early than to drag it out and make it an awkward situation for both you and the recruiter.

Career Fair Recap: 

Research

  • List of employers
  • Company websites
  • Company reviews (glassdoor)
  • Yourself

Materials

  • Resume
  • Business Cards
  • Pad-folio

Communication

  • Make eye contact
  • Firm handshake
  • Speak clearly
  • Elevator speech/pitch

 

Austin-Career-Fair

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Social Media Recap: February

Another edition of this month’s best links is coming your way. Find out how to write a killer resume, explore what we were up to in San Diego, and learn how we’re providing College success for you on our Pinterest in this month’s Social Media Recap.

Blog:

  1.   College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals Book Launched at First-Year Experience Conference In San Diego, California. 
  2. “On February 14th, AndYou.com, Larson Texts, Inc. and authors, Malcolm and Sue Kahn, two first-year experience experts launched College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals at the First-Year Experience Conference in San Diego, California.  The book is designed to be a comprehensive guide for student success during, and long after, their first year of college.”

Pinterest:

To see our boards, click here

AndYou Pinterest

Links:

  1. How to Trick Your Mind Into Paying Attention In Class
  2. 12 Things You Should Always Remember, As Told By Quotes From ‘The Lion King
  3. The 25 Best Companies To Intern For
  4. How To Write A Killer Resume That Lands An Interview
  5. 7 Gadgets College Students Need In Their Dorm
  6. How Social Media ruined my interview skills

 

 

 

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College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals book launched at First-Year Experience Conference In San Diego, California.

On February 14th, AndYou.com, Larson Texts, Inc. and authors, Malcolm and Sue Kahn, two first-year experience experts launched College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals at the First-Year Experience Conference in San Diego, California.  The book is designed to be a comprehensive guide for student success during, and long after, their first year of college. The program provides students with guidance through many of the scenarios they will face during their transition from high school to college, including relationships, academic success, personal finance, and college graduation. Students will have the opportunity to interact with their peers across the country through the discussion boards and can keep all of the tools they need to succeed right at their fingertips with the interactive eBook app.

SandUbook

College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals

For the Student:

Welcome to college! We hope you are enjoying your new campus and all that it offers. However, we realize just how challenging it can be for you to settle in. When we started college ourselves, we felt a little lost and had a lot of doubts. But we stuck with it until we figured out what we had to do to succeed. Throughout our careers, we figured it out a lot more through teaching and counseling hundreds of new students. In this book, we share with you many useful strategies and techniques to help you succeed in college. We are certain that if you conscientiously read this text and complete the exercises, you will figure it out, too.

Despite the challenges, most of us who attended college in the past envy your current status as a new student and the exciting journey that you will take. We wrote this book to help you succeed in your journey. We are cheering for you. If you read, understand, and apply the concepts in the chapters, we are confident you will achieve your college goals.

First-Year College Experience Conference:

The First-Year College Experience Conference is an ongoing forum where higher education professionals meet and share experiences and concerns relating to supporting student learning. Many of the attendees had the opportunity to speak with Malcolm and Sue and listen to their story about the book and how it would be a beneficial for First-Year seminars and classes. The hash-tag (#) for the conference was #FYE14. This allowed attendees to join in the conversation, via social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.) and see what people were talking about (from break out sessions to booths taking pictures) and allowed for a information to be shared through multiple ways.

Larson Texts - College Success & YOU

(Authors Malcolm and Sue (holding glass art gift) with Larson Texts, Inc. employees)

For more information on College Success & YOU: Achieving Your Goals, please visit our site to look at the additional features, discussion board and purchasing information for the book.

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Social Media Recap: January

With the spring semester back in full swing, you may have not had a chance to catch up on all our great links, and posts on Facebook and Twitter. Each month we’ll be bringing you a recap of the month’s best articles, links blog posts, etc. that we’ve shared for you to browse. Here is the social media recap for January!

Blogs: 

 

  • College Meal Plans 101 - “ There are many aspects of college that can be overwhelming: homework, social activities, final exams, finances, personal relationships, and the like.”

Articles:

Videos:

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College Meal Plans 101

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There are many aspects of college that can be overwhelming: homework, social activities, final exams, finances, personal relationships, and the like. Add managing a college meal plan to that list and the fear of running out of weekly meals and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Don’t worry though, college meal plans are not as confusing and daunting as they seem. We’ve got you covered on all things meal plan related and will set you up for success with your meal plan and how to eat healthy using it (yes – it is possible). First, here are a few things you should keep in mind about meal plans.

  • ● Meal plans are available to all students.
  • ● Some college meal plans are optional for students who dorm (mandatory for freshman).
  • ● You may not need the most robust meal plan. Think about your eating habits and research the different plans offered.
  • ● Know what on-campus dining halls and cafés accept meal plans and what their hours are. Make sure you make an effort to fit eating right into your schedule.
  • ● Find out if any off-campus businesses accept meal plans.

Once you mastered the meal plan and level that’s appropriate for you, it’s time to eat! Dining halls offer a plethora of foods and desserts to bite into. Be cautious though because not all options will be healthy for you. And just because you have access to the foods of your choosing doesn’t mean you should eat everything in the cafeteria all in one sitting or make a food pyramid of pizza slices and hamburgers.

Eating on a college meal plan may mean you’re forced to eat at certain places at certain times, but it doesn’t mean you can’t choose what you’re eating. Dining halls provide students with an abundance of choices. Like your mother always told you, “make sure you eat your vegetables” and be sure to choose your meals with the appropriate portions of proteins, carbohydrates and yes, even desserts when you really want them (you deserve it).They key to eating healthy on a meal plan is making the best choices from what options you have and limiting the unhealthy options.

The first step to eating healthy is to eat breakfast. There is a reason that breakfast is called the most important meal of the day. It gives your body fuel to jump-start your metabolism and to help you function in the early mornings when you’re in class. You should aim to eat something that will provide lasting energy and that’s a little more nutritious than sugar-frosted cereal. Here are some things to keep in mind when eating breakfast:

  • Eating complex (not refined!) carbohydrates (pancakes, whole grain breads, cereals etc.) keeps you charged and give you energy for your early morning classes.
  • Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity and can make weight control more difficult (webmd.com).
  • For a well-balanced and nutritious breakfast include fruits, fiber (oatmeal, muffins, bread etc.), and protein (yogurt, eggs, milk, bacon, sausage etc.).
  • ● Know the hours of your dining hall. Most dining halls are open by 7am and also have hours to suit students with evening classes.
  • Can’t make it to the dining hall? Have some snacks or easy meal options on hand. Celery and peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, and healthy microwaveable meals low in sodium and saturated fats are a few great options.

Have you become tired of your dining hall and trying to find ways to save up your remaining meals? The best kitchen utility a college student has at their disposal is a microwave. Yes, a lot of healthy foods are available to make in the microwave (not limited to just mini pizzas and frozen burritos). Better options include:

  • ● Eggs (yes, you can make scrambled eggs in the microwave)
  • Frozen steamer bags of vegetables
  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • Frozen blueberries and other fruits
  • Oatmeal
  • Baked potatoes
  • Rice

Have something you do differently with your microwave in your dorm or have any healthy eating techniques while living on a college meal plan? We’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

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Time Management – Are You POSITIVE You Know What You’re Doing?

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As college students, the word ‘time’ is a scarce thing. If you aren’t in class, you’re either catching up on sleep, eating, watching Netflix, studying for that exam you pushed off to the last minute or in one of many club meetings you have throughout the week. Time management, if done correctly can make your life a whole lot easier and can be a POSITIVE thing.

Prioritize! Make a list of everything you have to get done. Rate, on a scale of 1-5, (1 being of the most importance and 5 being least important) then plan the day around your classes or the things you have to get done.

Own! Take ownership of what you have to get done. Don’t let your tasks fall by the wayside but rather, complete it as soon as you get it. That way, you have time to figure out your schedule and when can be a good time to work on it rather than at the last minute.

Schedule! Schedule time; this can be done daily, weekly or monthly. It can also be as easy as printing out your class schedule and penciling in when you take breaks, eat or have club meetings. Having a schedule on hand not only allows you to be organized throughout your day but allows you to plan for upcoming weeks with anything you may have due (tests, papers, and homework assignments) to get done.

Itemize! Create a “To Do” list. This is great on a whiteboard. For example, each week write down the homework assignments, quizzes, tests or projects due for each class. This is great to do in college because it’s simple, inexpensive (markers and whiteboard) and you can visually see what you’ve completed or still need to do.

Tackle! Tackle procrastination – it’s okay to doze off or day dream or even, browse social media. However, it’s not okay to have things to get done and not be able to do that because you’re procrastinating. Nip procrastination in the butt and get your work done so you can relax rather than work later.

Ignore! Just like studying for finals week, make sure you eliminate distractions when you have something to get done. Take a break from social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) and unplug yourself for a good hour or so. This is a time for you to get things done so try your best to avoid and minimize distractions.

Visualize! Close your eyes, tap into your subconscious and visualize the success of completing a task at hand. It may sound silly, but visualizing a task creates a cognitive dissonance, allowing for messages to be sent to your brain that you are not giving up on a specific goal. Another reason to visualize the completion or outcome of something is good because we enter that mindset and belief that it’s achievable.

Enjoy! You’ve successfully accomplished your time management goals, ignored distractions and worked hard. It’s time to reward and enjoy yourself for your achievements.

Do these tips help you handle your time management? Let us know in the comments below.

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Five Tips To Survive Finals Week

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Finals week is here. For some students that evokes a sense of panic and relief that the semester is close to ending and a long break is in store. As the saying goes, “Keep Calm and Carry On” – we plan to help you do just that with these tips on making finals week a bit less painful

1.  Make ‘me’ time.

You can’t spend all of your time studying at the library. Me time is a time to relax, watch something on Netflix or catch up on that sleep you didn’t get from last night because you were pulling an all-nighter.  This is a time when you stop everything school related and allow for your brain to absorb the material.  The key take away from this is that you reward yourself for getting work done. No matter what time you started or how long you studied for – reward yourself.

2.  Prioritize and plan

Without a plan on what to study or when to study, you are likely to focus on the wrong material and become easily distracted. By prioritizing and planning your course of action for studying, you give yourself the time needed to learn or relearn the material. In addition to prioritizing your schedule, make sure you have a syllabus of the course, all previous exams, papers, homework assignments and anything related to the final.  Finally, make sure you have a schedule of your final exams so you don’t miss them allowing for you to plan your study schedule appropriately.

3.  Eat healthy and stay hydrated

During finals week, students tend to eat more unhealthy things. Junk foods are quick, easy options for the busy college students which makes them appealing. Unfortunately, they can result in a sugar rush and loss of concentration. Eating nutritious foods will keep you energized and focused, which will help you study and manage your stress. Eating fruits and vegetables is a good start for a quick snack while studying.  In addition to eating healthy, make sure you don’t overdo it with caffeine because it leaves you dehydrated resulting in fatigue and headaches. A good way to manage your caffeine intake and water consumption is to balance between the two. For every caffeine drink you have, have a bottle of water with it.

4.  Exercise

Studies have found that short exercise breaks can help relieve stress, socialize and burn off any calories they consume while studying for finals. In addition, exercise helps you focus, gives you additional energy and makes you feel better. Try for a minimum of 15-30 minutes of exercise a day.  If strenuous exercising isn’t your thing, try yoga or simply take a break from studying and walk around the library or wherever you may be studying.

5.  Take advantage of on-campus programming

Most colleges plan programs to help students de-stress either before finals week or during finals week. Check out your college’s programming board. Some colleges have a ‘spa day’ in which students receive free massages.  In addition to your on-campus programming, your RA also might have activities planned for your hall.

Best of luck to you on your finals.

We hope these tips get you through your finals week. Do you have any other tips for surviving finals week? Share them in our comments.

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