Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is it important to know your major before you go to college?

There are so many students that go off to college every year that are unsure of what they should major in. There is nothing quite so scary as getting accepted into a college, finding out what its going to cost you or your family and knowing that you aren’t really sure what you want to study while you’re there. Will you figure it out along the way or will you drift from class to class, semester to semester, with a vague idea of what you want to major in? Scary, right?
  So the answer is this, NO, it’s not that important. Most of us don’t know what we want to major in, or didn’t know when we went to college. There is a pretty good chance that you will figure it out in your first few semesters of college. It isn’t just going to come to you like a bolt of lightening out of the blue however, you need to get actively involved in all the things that you are passionate about. Join a club, take a class or volunteer in an area of life that you truly care about! This is how you are going to figure out what is really important to you and what major is going to help you make a difference in that field. And if you never figure it out, consider declaring a major that you are good at. A large portion of college students graduate with a degree that they were not entirely sure was right for them and they become successful adults. Doubts are normal, so are worries and fears. What’s important is that you keep stretching yourself. Look for areas to get involved in what you love and things will work out:)

Which classes should you pick your freshman year of college?


 Picking classes freshman year is a no brainer right? Wrong! There is a strategy to how you should select your classes your freshman year to ensure that you have a successful start to college. Keep in mind that 35% of students drop out of college during their freshman year and according to The Education Trust, only 63% of students who enroll in a four year university will earn their degree (http://www.brighthub.com/education/college/articles/82378.aspx). 
  Here are a few key pieces of advice to help you start off on the right foot. The first thing that you should do is set up your campus orientation visit for as early as possible this summer. The reason being is that most schools won’t allow you to register for your classes until you’ve gone through orientation. If you get it done early, you’ll be able to register before other students who haven’t gone through registration. 
  Once you are able to register for classes you want to keep something in mind. You are going to find it incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to attend early morning and late evening classes. Do your best to not schedule any classes that begin before 9am or after 6pm. You want to organize your classes so that once you get on campus you can go from class to class without any enormous breaks. It doesn’t hurt to have a good lunch break somewhere in there. And if possible, have a little time after lunch for that post lunch food coma. There are plenty of places on campus to crash for half an hour, (i.e. Starbucks, library, MU, etc) and you don’t want to go home during the day. I was religious about attending class in college and even I found it difficult to get up and go back to class after I’d come home during the day.
  How you set up your classes freshman year can mean the difference between a successful start to college and potential disaster. If you are an incoming freshman looking for some advice or you’ve got a great story about your freshman year throw in a reply:)

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?


Should I take the SAT or the ACT? 
As a college counselor, I get this asked this question a lot. The answer; you should take both. Both exams are designed to test what you have already learned in school. However, they are different in their approach to this and some people are more suited to one exam over the other.
          The ACT is broken up in to four components, English, Reading, Mathematics and Science Reasoning with an optional fifth section in Writing. Each question on the ACT has four answer choices to choose from, and there is no penalty for guessing. Comparatively, the ACT is a little more focused on what you have already learned than the SAT. This does not mean that it is easier to study for, simply that you should not approach them both in exactly the same way.
          The SAT is broken up in to three components, Critical Reading, Writing and Mathematics. Each question on the SAT has five answer choices. Students are penalized ¼ point for each question they attempt and fail, meaning that they are deducted one and one-quarter point for the wrong answer. If a student chooses not to answer a question, they simply miss one point for that question. This system of evaluation means that the SAT is a slightly more strategic exam than the ACT.
         Despite a student’s aptitude or inclination it is very difficult to predict which exam they will perform better on. It is for this reason that students should plan on taking both exams. A student’s performance on these standardized exams can directly translate into how much college costs for them. It’s worth taking the time to prepare for them both.

 

Textbook Tactics Goes Live

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Textbook Tactics Goes Live! 
 
  What if there was a place families could visit to get all the help they needed for their child’s education? What if students could watch engaging math and science videos, work with tutors and college advisors and get excited about their college future? This has been our dream for the last year and a half. To create a place where families could have access to unlimited quality education and tutoring for a fraction of the cost of traditional tutoring. Students, tutors, teachers and parents can access our growing library of more than 1,400 math videos and work with a tutor each week for FREE! In addition they can speak with a college advisor, watch dozens of interviews from graduate students around the country talk about their majors and get helpful advice from our Positive Psychologist about study skills. Parents can also find tutors on our site in case they would like some one-on-one tutoring.
 My name is Shawn Cox and I’ve been a math and science tutor, academic success consultant and college counselor for the last seven years. I’ve had the pleasure of helping hundreds of students reach their full potential and spent thousands of hours working with them and their families. It’s my dream to make tutoring affordable and convenient for everyone and to help as many families as possible in my life. Textbook Tactics (http://www.textbooktactics.com/) is designed to help students succeed in school and in life.