Whether you’re in high school or working hard to get through college, summer is a great time to brush up on your skills, spend time on your non-academic interests, and do activities that will make your resume impressive to future colleges or employers. It can be tempting to waste those three months chilling by the pool, but if you can also work in some of these absolute best things to do over the summer you’ll be better off for it.
Get a J.O.B
Not only will you impress your parents and earn some extra spending money, but having a job over the summer can prepare you for a variety of real-world experiences. If you can, try to pick something related to one of your career interests or major. Thinking about becoming a fashion designer? Work part time at a retail store. You’ll learn how to work on a team, how to arrange a sales floor, count change at the register, fold a perfect pair of jeans, assemble wardrooms for clients, and get to practice your customer service skills. Taking advantage of the awesome employee discounts doesn’t hurt either. Or maybe you’re interested in non-profit work? Apply for a job working on a grass roots campaign, an environmental organization, or a charity. These types of groups always need people to work the phones, canvas the streets, and help with clerical jobs in the office. You’ll learn how to stand out in a large group, perfect your persuasive skills, communicate effectively, and simultaneously make good money and work out while going door to door. Your youth is an asset to many companies looking to hire energetic, excited young people to fill in any summer holes in their personnel. There are so many jobs out there for high school students. Slap your summer employment on your resume and even if you don’t need it yet, don’t forget to ask for a recommendation letter!
Volunteering is one of the best ways to gain valuable work and leadership experience. You may not make a ton of money, but you will meet new people, learn new skills, and feel great about yourself after your service project is completed. Soup kitchens, animal shelters, grocery stores, libraries, and even law firms take on volunteer workers during the summer months to help out. Want to become a teacher one day? Read to children or tutor adult learners a few times a week at your local library. Interested in architecture? Build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Want to go into politics? Join a politically-minded environmentalist group that cleans beaches on weekends. Or maybe you’re on the pre-med track? Be a companion or activities leader at a nursing home. The people you help will appreciate your service and volunteer work looks incredible on resumes.
Not everyone can travel, but if you can, do it! Summer travel and summer enrichment programs are great ways to enrich your mind, discover new places and cultures, and enhance your resume with incredible experiences. Summer enrichment programs (although not all require extensive travel) are usually tailored around specific disciplines like theater, computer science, music, dance, or engineering, Whether you leave the country or just leave home for a few weeks, you’ll learn how to expand your perspectives and awareness. Colleges and employers also love well-traveled applicants, who are curious and eager to take on challenges. If you speak or are learning a foreign language, traveling is also a great way to practice your skills. There are so many high school summer programs aboard, teen trips, and pre-college travel programs. Here’s one or two to get your started. In addition to traveling for enrichment or academic purposes, if you’re a junior or senior in high school, make sure you visit some colleges that you’ve either applied to or want to apply to.
Stay in School
Summer school doesn’t have to be a drag and can actually be quite fun. The trick is to take fun courses in subjects you’re interested in (and maybe a few you have to take). Colleges and employers love to see additional courses on your transcript and resume. It means you take initiative, that you’re hard working, and that you love to learn. Taking classes over the summer is also a great way to meet new people, discover new interests, and keep your mind sharp. If your high school offers summer school, enroll, but you could also take courses at a local university, community college or junior college. Most community colleges will also give full or partial college credit which you can apply to your future college. You can get a head of the game by taking an introductory course and using those credits toward a course you would have had to of taken otherwise in college. Sweet!
New findings in e-learning technologies suggest computers may be just as effective as classrooms. Educator.com continues to be at the forefront of educational websites with over 60+ subjects in math, science, and computer science.
In November 1984, New York students signed up for the first online class. Since then, many people have debated over whether online education could provide a learning experience that was just as effective as traditional classrooms. That debate appears to be coming to an end and Educator.com has kept up with the demands of students who feel online learning best suits them.
Ithaka S+R recently released a new research study, which compared two versions of an introductory statistics course. In the study, one course was taught face-to-face by college professors, while the other was taught mostly online with only an hour a week of face time with the instructor. On every measure of learning, researchers found that students performed equally well in both environments. To the surprise of many, the only difference was that the online group appeared to learn faster. The 93-page report on online education concluded that online learning can suit a wide variety of students and “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
Lawrence Bacow, Tufts University’s former president, who also co-authored the first report, stated that the findings show that “even in its infancy, [online education] does well.” Students today are much more familiar with digital tools than previous generations and according to Bacow, “This is only going to get better over time.’’
In addition to its functionality, online education also creates access to knowledge where there may have previously only been limited options. Financially strapped students and budget-conscious families may find e-learning the best route toward their academic goals. Servicing the needs of students who learn best online, Educator.com provides students with a variety of college level courses, along with 60+ other high school and professional subjects, for the affordable price of $35 dollars a month. Opt for the 6 month or 12 month bundle plan and save even more.
Unlike other educational websites, Educator.com does not charge a separate price for each section. No matter where they are, students can watch and learn from Linear Algebra or Physics videos. They will also have access to asking questions, detailed notes at the end of each lesson, and downloadable slides from lectures. A customized, dual-screen interface creates a unique one-to-one online learning environment that enables students to see both the professor and the whiteboard at the same time. With the right combination of online tools and quality instruction, the process of learning is more effective and engaging.
Although the debate may still continue, Educator.com is determined to meet the demands of today’s scholars. New and exciting courses are frequently added.
Educator.com pairs students with the best university professors and educators in the country. Educator’s goal is to provide high school, college, and professional students with a variety of academic subjects in an online video format that is affordable, accessible, effective, and comprehensive.
The most efficient way to improve education is to have the best teachers teach. With the best instructor in a subject, learning anything is possible. Every student deserves an excellent education regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status and with Educator’s affordable pricing, everyone can access the site’s complete content. For more information on the company please visit our about page.
If only schools had more money. If only class sizes were smaller. If only schools had more computers. When it comes to education in America, it seems that the “if onlys” are endless. Last week, eager to learn more about urban education, I sat in on an AP English class at Fremont High School in Los Angeles. As I observed a fellow, seasoned teacher instruct his junior class, those exact same sentiments about how to improve education came to mind. Over 40 occupied desks filled the classroom, one computer in the back kept me company, and a tardy student swept the floor because janitorial services have been cut from the school’s budget. Yet somehow, despite the challenges, effective teaching and learning managed to flourish all around me.
According to The Measures of Effective Teaching Project (MET), research shows that great teaching matters more than anything else within a school.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, MET was a three-year study designed to determine how to best recognize and encourage great teaching. The study released its third and final research report last month. 3,000 teachers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the Dallas Independent Schools, the Denver Public Schools, the Hillsborough County Public Schools, the Memphis Public Schools, the New York City Schools, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools volunteered to open up their classrooms for research purposes. The results were truly remarkable and will be very useful to school districts working to develop new training, feedback, and evaluation systems for teachers.
Vicki Phillips, Director of Education at College Ready, a U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explains what many educators and administrators are already well aware of. “Teaching is complex,” Phillips says, “and great practice takes time, passion, high-quality materials, and tailored feedback designed to help each teacher continuously grow and improve.”
If the necessities of the teaching profession are already well-known, then why are there still so any problems in education? The answer may lie in the organization, or lack thereof, of revealing information on this topic. To date, there has not been a cohesive, collective research study done that solely focused on measuring effective teaching.
“Teachers have always wanted better feedback,” Phillips adds, “and the MET project has highlighted tools that can allow teachers to take control of their own development. The combination of those measures and student growth data creates actionable information that teachers can trust.”
The project sheds light on some very important questions in the education field: How do we identify great teaching, promote quality instruction, and retain those teachers who are doing exceptional work in the classroom? To find the answers, the study combined three types of measures:
- classroom observations
- student surveys
- student achievement gains
Key findings from the report include:
- It is possible to develop reliable measures that identify great teaching.
- There are significant trade-offs involved when school systems combine different measures.
- Guidance on the best ways to achieve reliable classroom observations.
“If we want students to learn more, teachers must become students of their own teaching. Public school systems across the country have been re-thinking how they describe instructional excellence and letting teachers know when they’ve achieved it,” says Tom Kane, Professor of Education and Economics at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and leader of the MET project. “This is not about accountability. It’s about providing the feedback every professional needs to strive towards excellence.”
Quality teachers matter and effective instruction can only occur when talented educators are placed in front of the white board. Money, class size, and technology are all contributing factors, but they will never engage a group of students the way a well-trained and highly educated teacher can. Good teaching is easy to spot, but not always easy to come by. Yet, even from the back of the classroom, I could see its powerful influence.
OnlineCollege.org makes navigating through the field of online education easier and more straightforward. There are hundreds of online colleges to choose from, but there are also countless obstacles along the way. Searching through an overwhelming amount of information on the Internet can feel like walking through a landmine without a map. Many students who are researching online colleges fall victim to a state of panic and confusion. Which classes do I take? Is the school I want to attend accredited? How do I avoid scams? And how am I going to pay for all this? These common questions and more can make the process of choosing an online program incredibly daunting.
OnlineCollege.org provides prospective students with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their educational pursuits and career plans. The site offers detailed information on career paths, profiles of working professionals, and a searchable database of accredited programs offered by a range of higher education institutions. If you have questions, chances are OnlineCollege.org’s Frequently Asked Questions page has answers or the information you’re seeking is covered in this article.
Are online colleges all that popular?
Yes! For the ninth straight year, the number of students who enrolled in at least one online course has increased. According to the Babson Survey Research Group’s annual survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities, 6.1 million students took at least one online class during Fall 2010—a 10.1 percent increase over the year before. Three years later, as that number continues to rise, so do the questions regarding online colleges. OnlineCollege.org provides a comprehensive database of online college information and is the perfect resource for those looking for answers.
What can OnlineCollege.org do for me?
Melissa A. Venable PhD., an education writer for OnlineCollege.org, states that the website was fashioned to be a “college guide for the career-minded.” Venable, along with a team of expert bloggers, provide their perspectives and advice on the latest trends in education and technology. They also address career development and job search issues, especially for working professionals or individuals who are considering a career change.
However, sometimes the first step is the hardest step to take. In order to get started, students can use OnlineCollege.org’s bright yellow degree finder tool. This easy-to-use search application allows users to narrow a list of programs in a particular field into searchable information about colleges by state.
Then students are directed to a page that gives more information about those colleges that match their academic goals, interests, and chosen degree. There are “multiple ways to get started on your research of possible online programs,” explains Venable. Prospective students can also read about specific degrees, careers, and the process of online learning.
For the reader who is brand new to online education, the “Introduction to Online Learning” page walks students through some of the initial decisions they’ll have to make and helps to set realistic expectations about what it will be like to participate in an online course.
How is OnlineCollege.org growing and what is in the works right now?
In order to keep up with demand and trends in online education, Venable says, “We continue to add resources to the site including the school and program profiles, as well as, daily blog posts and articles.”
Some exciting projects include The Inside Online Learning Chat (#IOLchat), which is going strong on Twitter and is expecting more featured guests this year. In April, OnlineCollege.org’s Inside Online Learning team will present a session at the edSocialMedia Summit. In addition, this spring, Venable and her writing team will continue the Online College Research Series with a new white paper report devoted to blogging and online education.
There is a plethora of information available to students when it comes to choosing an online college. Some of it is helpful; some of it can be misleading or harmful. Avoid any tragic missteps and make the best decisions about your academic future by making sure you have the most reliable and up to date facts. Students, who would rather have guidance in their pursuit of online education instead of wandering without direction, will find OnlineCollege.org an invaluable resource.
This Winter, Bundle Up In Quality Education: Educator.com Announces New SAT Prep and Software Training Courses1 Comment Published January 15th, 2013 in Educational News
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) January 10, 2013
The best quality in online education is now only $35 dollars a month. Educator.com has everything high school students need to prepare for the SAT, along with 50+ other high school, college, and professional subjects.
According to the College Board’s most recent SAT statistics, “The average SAT score earned in the class of 2011 was 1500 out of a maximum of 2400 points.” Obtaining an above average test score requires serious preparation. Educator supplies students with test prep videos, as well as, study material and comprehensive online courses. In addition, Educator is now offering 20+ hours of SAT Prep Courses, complete with fully worked out practice tests and QuickNotes, which include an in-depth SAT Overview, SAT Critical Reading, SAT Mathematics, and SAT Writing courses. This new section joins a fantastic line-up of courses already offered on the site, some of which include AP Calculus, Algebra II, Chemistry, Application Essays, and Pro Tools. Families looking for quality instruction from top-university professors and budget-friendly study tools, that also deliver results, can find everything they need on Educator.com.
For those who may have already survived their SATs, or are simply looking for additional software training in the creative arts, Educator is also pleased to announce new Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Illustrator courses. Users can take advantage of not only the SAT courses and the new software training lessons, but also all 50+ courses, over 1,000 hours of one-on-one instructional video footage, for the affordable price of $35 dollars a month.
Unlike other educational websites, Educator does not charge a separate price for its test prep courses. Students can watch every video on the site for one low monthly price. Opt for the 6 month or 12 month bundle plan and save even more.
Educator.com works with test-taking professionals and instructors, who themselves have aced the exams, to teach students how to master the SAT content. In addition, award-winning graphic design artists and Adobe-certified instructors with extensive careers in the media industry, provide step-by-step examples of how to harness the unlimited creative power of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop CS6. Educator empowers great students by “Empowering Great Teachers.™”
New and exciting courses are frequently added. At this time Educator’s new SAT Prep, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop courses are available for immediate viewing.
Other courses coming soon include: Differential Equations, Biochemistry, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe InDesign, QuickBooks, Maya, Music Composition, AP English Literature & Composition, Pre-Calculus, AP Physics B, and General Chemistry.
Educator.com pairs students with the best university professors and educators in the country. Educator’s goal is to provide high school, college, and professional students with a variety of academic subjects in an online video format that is affordable, accessible, effective, and comprehensive.
The most effective way to improve education is to have the best teachers teach. With the best instructor in a subject, learning anything is possible. Every student deserves an excellent education regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status and with Educator.com’s affordable pricing everyone can access the site’s complete content. For more information about the company please visit the About Us Page.
I don’t know anyone who was born with an innate ability to effectively study and obtain high grades. An individual may be incredibly smart, but just like our other habits, study habits are acquired over time. These types of skills have to be learned and practiced (or unpracticed) in order to be mastered. Evidence suggests that most of us don’t use the learning techniques that science has proved most effective. Even worse, research finds that some of the learning strategies we do commonly employ, are among the least effective. So what do you do when you’ve spent half your life learning all the wrong study skills? Easy, you read this article and fix them.
1. The Problem: Get ready for some shocking news. According to the study, the least effective studying techniques are underling and highlighting text. Although they are common practices, studies show they offer no benefit beyond simply reading the text. Some research even indicates that highlighting can get in the way of learning. Rather that helping you construct meaning from the whole document, highlighting draws attention to individual facts and may hamper the process of making connections and drawing inferences.
The Fix: Instead of highlighting the entire page, focus on highlighting only the most important information. Write questions in the margin as you read and take a moment to reflect back on what you read after you’ve completed the text. Usually, there will be a helpful glossary of terms from the chapter or a vocabulary section available to you in your text book. Look at that instead. Making flashcards is also one of the best ways to study and the best ways to memorize information.
2. The Problem: Re-reading the text word for word. This can be a huge waste of time, especially if you are a slower reader. If you genuinely didn’t understand what you read the first time around, it will probably benefit you to read it again, but most students will understand the general idea of what they read the first time around.
The Fix: If you absolutely have to read the text again, browse it for main points and for the general idea of the passage. A good way to do this is to read the first sentence or two of each paragraph. You will save time and will have more time to take practice tests, which scientists believe are one of the best ways to prepare for an exam.
3. The Problem: Studying with friends can be fun and relaxing, but you probably won’t get much actual work done.
The Fix: Focus on your grades rather than your social life and I guarantee the reward will outweigh the small sacrifice. If you have to study with friends for whatever reason, make sure they are “study buddies” not just buddies and pick one good friend you know will keep you on track rather than finding a group to join.
4. The Problem: Studying with music in the background works for some people, but more often than not, music can be a distraction and interfere with your ability to comprehend information. Some experts claim that certain types of music go well with those studying math, while English students do better in a quiet environment.
The Fix: If music is your thing and you have to have something playing in order to concentrate, try low playing classical music. It is soothing to the nerves and can help with mental clarity. Music without lyrics or words is always best.
5. The Problem: Cramming before a test is possibly the worst thing you can do, both for your stress levels and grades. Cramming, while you may remember things for a short period of time, doesn’t commit information to memory very well. Staying up all night before a big exam is also bad for your health and the fatigue you feel in the morning will make it even more difficult to recall information.
The Fix: It’s much more effective to dip into the material at intervals over time. Try 20 or 30 minutes a day of hard core, focused studying and you will see that the information sticks to memory better. Also, the longer you want to remember the information, whether it’s two weeks or two years, the longer the intervals should be.
6. The Problem: Drinking is a common practice and a lot of students like to have a beer or a glass of wine while they study. Even in small amounts, this isn’t such a good idea. For starters, wine is known to cause drowsiness and being intoxicated makes it even harder to retain information. There’s a reason why too much alcohol causes short memory loss.
The Fix: Instead of throwing back a cold one, pour yourself some juice or a glass of water. Make a healthy smoothie or have a glass of soy milk. Even coffee, or an energy drink, is better than alcohol. The caffeine will keep you awake and alert and if you don’t think too much of it, you won’t suffer a crash later.
7. The Problem: Studying in bed is one of the easiest ways to ensure you will get absolutely nothing done. Its super easy to get tired and fall asleep while reading anything in bed, let alone reading a science text book. Even if you don’t think you’re tired, getting cozy under your comforter can quickly turn all the letters in your book to Z’s.
The Fix: Do yourself a favor and force yourself to sit at a desk. If you have to study in bed for whatever reason, study on top of the covers or sit against your bed on the floor. Prop yourself up with pillows to avoid the temptation of lying down.
8. The Problem: Studying during a commute may seem like a great way to save time by multitasking. You’re reading on your Kindle or flipping through your notes while on the bus to school and it seems like you’re doing lot’s of great things at once, but you’re really not. Buses, trains, cars, and just about any mode of transportation are filled with distractions. It is also harder for the brain to concentrate while in motion or while trying to remember which stop to get off on. Some people even get dizzy or nauseous if they read while moving quickly.
The Fix: Instead, teach what you’ve learned in class to someone else or explain the concept to a friend or family member in the passenger seat or on the bus. Strike up a random conversation with a stranger on the train about a topic in American history or retell the plot of a novel you need to know for an exam. Not only will you probably meet someone new and perhaps make a friend, but you’ll find it easier to recall what you learned in that subject.
Online degrees are becoming more popular than ever before. Returning to school to obtain an advanced degree or choosing an online college over a traditional one is very exciting and rewarding. However, many people cannot make the full-time commitment that pursuing a degree requires. With flexible class times, affordable prices, and the ability to conveniently study anywhere, online education solves many of the obstacles individuals face when considering going back to school. Yet, the question of whether employers will value and respect an online degree is a concern shared by many.
Times are changing and the quality of applicants who have received a degree online is much higher than most people might think. Most employers realize that the ever-growing pool of online applicants is nothing to be ignored. In fact, in a survey done by Excelsior College and Zogby International, 61 percent of CEOs and small business owners nationwide said they were familiar with online or distance learning programs. In addition, 83 percent of executives in the survey said that an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional campus-based program.
The popularity of online education is rapidly increasing. Applicants with an online degree have very distinct advantages over their competition. The practice of directing their own education online gives them specific skill sets that employers are eagerly searching for. Choosing an online education says a lot about an applicant’s values, work style, and abilities. Those pursuing online degrees should feel confident entering the workforce and, if they haven’t already, employers should start putting online education into their hiring equation. Here are ten reasons why:
1. Technology-Savvy Graduates
The current job market demands workers who are experts with computers or are at least very familiar with technology. Online education graduates are already comfortable with technology and communicate well using that medium. More often than not, they chose an online education because they know they thrive best in that environment. They can navigate the web with ease, write clear and professional emails, and are accustom to the language of social media.
2. Independent Learners
Employers will always stress that they are looking for “team players,” but more often than not, your job will require you to be a self-starter who can easily work independently. Independent learners turn into independent workers, who can solve problems without much assistance. Online education uniquely qualifies graduates to perform well without having to someone hold their hand. They tend to enjoy figuring things out on their own and are self-motivated. Employees who motivate themselves are like gold to an HR representative. Successful online learners are more likely to be self-motivators, who also create and accomplish goals without the need for constant outside encouragement.
3. Time Management
During the hiring process, many employers will ask, “How do you manage your time?” Online learners are already ahead of the game because successfully completing an online degree requires intense time management and organizational skills. Efficient online learners have balanced work, family, social, and school. They have developed methods and schedules in order to work effectively and efficiently, making the most of their limited time. With that time management, also comes work ethic. Getting through an online program requires a high level of perseverance, which is very valuable in the work place.
4. Thinking Outside the Box
Employers know that the traditional, “normal” university experience is what most people move into after high school. Those with online experiences stand out during the hiring process and it can be very telling to find out why these students chose a less conventional path. In order to create a well-rounded work place, filled with different strengths and knowledge, employers need to consider the far more diverse experiences online education graduates may have. You may be an older applicant with decades of experience in the industry. Maybe you backpacked around Europe for a year before returning to school. You could be an avid volunteer who learned to speak Spanish while teaching in South America. There are so many positive experiences and skills that your unique story, and education detour, could bring to a new job.
5. Practical and Budget Conscious
Of course this isn’t true for all online learners, but because online education is cheaper than traditional coursework, many online graduates are more practically minded when it comes to money. Employers will see this as a good thing and may view you as responsible. If you are applying for a position that has anything to do with numbers or finances, your background in online education is especially good. Companies are all about saving money and your money-saving mindset will be an asset to them.
6. Quality of Work
It is difficult to brown nose the professor when she’s thousands of miles away. Online students cannot easily rely on charm to get them through a class. If you arrive late to a lesson, there’s an instant time stamp of it. If you don’t turn in an assignment, there’s proof of that in your instructor’s inbox. Everything you do, every comment you contribute, is documented and reviewed. In online courses the work speaks for itself and online learners must produce quality work in order to succeed.
7. Research Skills
Research skills are a must in today’s job market. Almost every job in every industry can benefit from employees who can research well, both on and off the Internet. Finding the answers to questions, obstacles, or simply learning about the newest technology in the field is beneficial in the work place. The ability to decipher between valuable and invaluable information is something online learners practice every time they engage in the e-learning process.
8. Current and Cutting Edge Training
Online curriculum is much easier to update and keep current than printed textbooks. Graduates with an online degree will typically have the most current information in the industry and be in the know about the latest online trends. Online learners also have access to more variety when it comes to subjects and can often take very specific courses in their fields.
9. Willing to do Continuing Education Online
Many companies require employees to complete additional coursework in order to stay current in their fields. Having an online education also comes in handy here. Because these graduates are very familiar with the format of learning on the Internet, these employees will be more flexible in this area and more willing to complete continuing education online. This in turn, saves the company time and money– two very important things employers consider when making hiring decisions.
10. Global Acceptance
The world is expanding and getting smaller all at the same time. Online programs are growing everywhere in the world and are accessible internationally. Having an online degree means you’ve probably interacted with various people from all types of cultural backgrounds. The ability to communicate across the barriers of country lines is a positive, especially for large international companies.
Although more and more employers are hiring applicants with online degrees, not all online degrees are created equal. There are a lot of scam colleges and bogus online degrees that promise a quality education in only a few months. Make sure your program has a strong reputation, is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, allows you to easily access faculty, requires a realistic investment of time, and requires the same amount of work as you would find on a traditional campus.
Every year, November and December always seem to fly by. You finish your last final exam and finally get to relax with family and friends over the winter break. Yet, while you’re trying to enjoy mashed potatoes and ham, thoughts of self-doubt creep into your mind…
I wonder when my grades will post… I hope I didn’t bomb all my exams.
What if there was a way to prepare for next semester’s finals, now? Maybe there is.
Next time, know where you stand in your classes. Before you go in to take your finals, you should have a clear idea of what grades you have in your classes. Don’t guess, don’t attempt to calculate it yourself, don’t say a little prayer, but go find out exactly what your current percentage is. As finals approach next year, make some time before you begin studying and take advantage of your professor’s office hours.
Don’t study in popular places. If you know that all your best friends are going to study in the library or at the campus center or at the local coffee shop, don’t go there. Stay far away! Friends are notorious for being huge distractions, especially when you have to do something you don’t want to do, like study for a psychology exam. In addition, stay away from the places you know your crush will be. Save the study dates for the beginning of the semester or for less important quizzes.
But what about study groups? Study groups are only a good idea if you are meeting for a certain amount of time and the team you’re working with is motivated to get work done. Best rule of thumb, if your study group this year spent more time cursing the faculty and talking about the latest viral Youtube video, skip the meeting next year and study on your own.
Plan out your study time. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many students don’t actually plan before they study. They just sit down with a book and expect some magical osmosis to occur. Make a list of valuable questions to consider before you begin studying, such as:
- How many final exams will I have?
- When are they scheduled, how long will I have to complete them, what should I bring to the exam, and where will they take place?
- Are they comprehensive exams (everything covered during the semester) or on a specific topic/section of the course?
- Will the tests be multiple choice, essay, take home, online, or a combination of things?
Knowing exactly what to expect on the test day will help alleviate anxiety. This in turn, boasts confidence and clarity of mind, which leads to better recall… which leads to higher scores.
Create a study plan for each subject so that you spread out sessions for each exam across however many days are available. When I study for exams, I like to study for one test for a few hours, take a short break, then switch to studying for another test. Sometimes I’ll devote one day or half a day to only studying for one exam, and then study for another the next day. The brain (or maybe just my brain) can only focus on something academic for a set amount of time before I lose the ability to concentrate all together. So remember to keep learning interesting and mix things up!
Modify your study time. Next semester, study a little harder for the classes you know you have a less-than-awesome grade in. It’s basic logic, if you have a solid A in your history class, but are straddling the fence between a B- and a C+ in your German class, spend more time on your vokabular.
Think like your professor and imagine you’re writing the test. As you study, ask yourself some questions about the course and about your professor:
- If I were Dr. McIntyre, what sort of questions would I ask on the final?
- What topics in class came up the most?
- What are the key ideas in the course?
- What’s most important and why?
- What topics are highlighted on the study guide?
- What ideas are representative of the course as a whole?
Reviewing with these kinds of questions in mind is likely to help you before and during the exam. Thinking about a course’s main points won’t hurt you and may even help you get the score you need. Another great study method, that literally made the difference between As and Cs for me in college, was to teach the course’s topics to a friend or family member. If you can explain it to someone else, chances are you will be able to explain it and remember it for the test.
Take care of yourself. You won’t do well on your exams if you’re sick. Stress shuts down the immune system like nothing else can. In addition, all nighters are a complete waste of time. They make you more tired than you were before you started studying, which makes it more difficult for you to retain and recall information. Get a good night’s sleep before a test and review for a little bit in the morning, rather than cramming it all in the night before. Eat before an exam, drink water, and maybe have a little coffee to boast your mood and keep you alert. If you can, exercise during finals week. Take some breaks between studying sessions to get outside, meet a friend, go for a walk, or watch your favorite show.
Bookmark this article so that you can refer to it when you need it. Next year’s, next semester’s, finals will be here before you know it. Final exams are stressful enough, do as much as you can to physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare.
I wish you success!
Everyone in the room was cheating except for me. Our proctor had stepped out to answer an emergency phone call in the hallway. Pencils dropped and a dozen eyes nervously darted around the room. Instantly, the classroom changed from a serious, silent work environment into a bustling, frantic machine of open note books, dog-eared text books, and rapid whispers. The tension was palpable, thick like the knot building in my throat.
“I have a copy of the answers,” a tall girl near the front of the room announced in a horse voice. She pulled out her phone, “there was an email.”
“I got that email too,” another student said. Several students chimed in at once, either expressing their approval or surprise. I quietly swallowed my disgust. The clock on the wall ticked loudly like a bomb on the verge of explosion. I wondered how long it would take for the door behind us to swing open.
“Well, hurry read them out,” someone else said. A few students laughed as they inched further towards the edges of their seats. It was as if their winning lotto numbers were printed in her email.
Everyone was turned in the tall girl’s direction, eagerly awaiting her response as if their lives depended on it. Maybe their lives did, but I had studied, had studied hard for weeks. I didn’t need the answers. Or did I? If she read them all out loud, how would I avoid overhearing?
I attempted to tune her out and read the first question of the exam as she recited the answers in a quick, succinct voice. The letters fell on my shoulders, one after the other, hitting my conscience like jagged pebbles. My peers feverishly filled in the bubbles of their scantron sheets, never questioning the validity of the answers… or the messenger.
I almost snapped my pencil right in half when our classroom’s door handle clicked. The guilt-ridden silence that ensued after the hushed gasps and panicked zipping of pack backs overwhelmed our group like a tragedy.
In less than three minutes, the girl three seats in front of me had managed to read off 40 answers. I looked down at my sheet in order to avert my eyes from all the others and realized that I too had completed up to 39.
Even high achieving students cheat and for most repeat offenders, cheating began in middle school. Education Portal reports:
ack in 1940, only 20 percent of college students admitted to cheating during their academic careers. Today, that number has increased to a range of 75%-98%.
And it usually isn’t about just getting the grade, it’s about getting ahead. According to a survey by the Josephson Institute of Ethics of 12,000 high school students, 74% admitted to cheating on an exam at some point during the past year to get ahead. In addition, news stories about Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, the Air Force Academy, and Harvard University have populated the press with evidence that cheating is still a major issue in the academic realm.
According to a similar article written this year in the New York Times, “Experts say the reasons are relatively simple: Cheating has become easier and more widely tolerated, and both schools and parents have failed to give students strong, repetitive messages about what is allowed and what is prohibited.” Donald L. McCabe, a professor at the Rutgers University Business School, and a leading researcher on cheating, supports that claim:
I don’t think there’s any question that students have become more competitive, under more pressure, and, as a result, tend to excuse more from themselves and other students, and that’s abetted by the adults around them.
Justifiable or not, here are some of the reasons why cheating occurs:
1. Performance concerns
o Need to excel at any cost
2. External pressures
- Semester workload too heavy
- Others’ cheating puts me at disadvantage
- Professor/text did not adequately explain material
- Too many tests on one day
- Pressure from parents
- Job leaves no time for study
- Illness prevents adequate preparation
- GPA for athletic qualification
- Financial aid depends on GPA
- Good grades needed for job or graduate school
3. Unfair professors
o Overly harsh grading
o Unfair tests designed to fail students
o Unreasonable workload in course
4. Lack of effort
o Did not attend class
o Did not study, do reading, etc.
5. Adherence to other loyalties
o Helping a friend
o Loyalty to a group (fraternity)
6. All’s fair in love and academia
o Unexpected opportunity arose
o Instructor left room during exam
o Instructor wasn’t watching carefully
o Other students didn’t cover their paper
8. Campus ethos
o Others do it
o No one ever really gets punished/caught
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit– I’ve cheated. I’m not proud of it, nor have I ever done it again. Chalk it up to youth and ignorance. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a difficult thing to confess and this post is probably the first time I’ve ever truly acknowledged my past misjudgement. However, since I’ve experienced the temptation, I now have extra insight and understanding when dealing with my own students.
What do you think? How can we as educators, students, and academic leaders curb the rate of cheating in America? How can we instill a higher level of pride and integrity in our student’s academic performance? And what about this Culture of Cheating and Generation Me mentality, that is seemingly taking over campuses?
Every year, the same debate over the SAT arises. Is the SAT still important? I don’t know anyone who didn’t take the SAT exam when I was in high school. It was considered a requirement, a looming cloud of doom, and even a rite of passage. If you wanted to go to college, you sucked it up, grabbed a number two pencil, and sat through a grueling 3 hours in your high school’s auditorium. But if you wanted to go to a good college, you did much more than that, you planned ahead and studied like your life depended on it. Unless you aspired to work at Mc Donald’s for the rest of your life, there was no real getting around it.
For many students, receiving their SAT scores was a traumatic experience, filled with shame and defeat. Recently, I had to look up my ancient SAT scores for a job application. Immediately, memories of senior year flooded back to me. I remember combining my last-attempt SAT scores over and over hoping that the next time I added them up the number would be 100 points higher. Like everyone else in my class who didn’t get into Stanford or UCLA, my numbers never changed.
But perhaps, a change is on the horizon. It seems like the SAT is going under another makeover, or maybe losing its foothold entirely. According to The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), who issued a report urging colleges and universities to consider dropping the test score requirement for admissions, the test is becoming obsolete. Fair Test lists over 800 four-year institutions that don’t even use the ACT or SAT in their admissions decisions. Does that mean high school students across the nation no longer have to stress over their verbal and math scores? Not exactly.
In light of Educator’s new SAT Section, which includes a complete SAT Overview Course and Subject Test Prep, I thought I would do some research on why the SAT continues to matter. As much as I hated taking them, the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests are still important. In no particular order, here’s why:
1. You’re probably going to end up going to a public institution…
As private tuition continues to grow beyond the financial reach of many students, competition to get into state schools is tougher and public schools are receiving more applications. Therefore, most public colleges are not only still requiring test scores, but they’re using them to become even more selective. Taking the SAT is one way students can stand out among the other applicants.
2. Admission committees can be sneaky…
According to an article by Janet Lorin at Bloomberg News, “Colleges from Bowdoin in Maine to Pitzer in California dropped the SAT entrance exam as a requirement… [but] what they don’t advertise is they find future students by buying names of kids who do well on the test.” The SAT is pretty much an intelligence test and colleges have an invested interest in knowing how smart their applicants are. So just because you took the test and your chosen school doesn’t require it, doesn’t mean the admissions team won’t figure out a way to find out how you did.
3. Age-old traditions are hard to break…
The story of the SAT begins in the two decades after World War II and was first used experimentally in 1926. UCLA quickly became the first to the test. Records claim that representatives of the college fear dire consequences if U.C. decided to end its use of the test: “If they drop the SAT, we will lose a great deal more than the revenue; we will suffer a damaging blow to our prestige.” And prestige is a very hard thing to let go of. According to a recent article by John Cloud for TimeUS, “Most universities have no immediate plans to stop asking for SAT scores.” Better to take the test, do your best, and learn what you can from it.
4. The test does measures something valuable…
There is something to be said about a high school student who has the diligence and discipline to memorize the details of the Franco-Prussian War for the history subject test or study numerous archaic vocabulary words that no one ever uses in real life. My math teachers were mind-numbingly boring and I know for certain, that if it hadn’t been for the math I had to urgently study during my SAT preparations, I might have never learned algebra.
5. Learning how to eliminate the wrong answer is a very useful skill…
It can be used for just about any standardized test. Later in life you may want to take the GMAT for business school or the LSAT for law school. You’re guaranteed to come across problems that require you to know what’s wrong before you can figure out what’s right. Knowing the wrong answer is also very useful when it comes to dating!
6. The SAT can kind of predict the future…
In a recent article on whether the SAT still matters, President Kurt Landgraf of the Educational Testing Service, the company that designs the SAT under contract from the College Board, says it “is a relatively good predictor of how students will do in their first year of college.”
7. Cost-effective always wins…
The College Board says that, across many colleges, SAT scores improve the correlation between admissions predictions and GPA realities by 10%. And 10% means a lot to big campuses that can’t afford to spend hours getting to know applicants in a more holistic way. The SAT is still very cost effective for many schools that rely on it to help in the daunting admissions process.
8. Rankings matter and perception is everything…
Schools that require the SAT are usually ranked higher than schools that do not or who make SAT scores optional. There is also a perception of quality that is attached to test and top colleges and universities still believe in its merits.
9. The SAT builds character…
It has become a trend for parents in recent years to protest homework, tough graduation requirements, class rankings, and even grades. I for one am scared to live in a world lead by a generation who received trophies just for participating. In another Educator blog article, I talk about different parenting styles such as Tea Cup Parenting. Welcome to the real world, rejection and evaluations are part of life. Sometimes I wish I knew then what I know now. Some of my peers in high school whined about the equality and purpose of the SAT. If I could go back in time, I would remind them that tests, just like life, are not fair.
I. Rose De Lilly
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