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Tips for Students 

Study Tips

The brain appreciates getting an overview of the material before plunging right in and loves regular review of course material.

  • Always hook new information to something familiar
  • Break up study time; never study for longer than 30-40 minutes at a sitting
  • Break up big study tasks into smaller ones
  • Do your most difficult studying when you are at your peak performance level
  • Conduct a review before you go to sleep; let your brain know that you have learned well today so it can sleep peacefully

A positive outlook
Negative thinking produces an excess of stress hormones which can lead to illness, depression, and lowered mental acuity. Positive thinking protects your health, your thinking ability and your relationships.

Use of resources
You are not alone. Use any resource that provides help, support or relief. Your brain works best when you take care of your needs.

Take care of yourself
Adequate sleep, adequate exercise, a good diet, and free time for fun and relaxation will help you to perform optimally.

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What to Expect in College - HS vs. Postsecondary

Classes

HIGH SCHOOL POSTSECONDARY
1. General Education classes dictated by state/district requirements. 1. Classes based on field of study and general education class requirements may vary.
2. Typically, a school year is 36 weeks long; some classes extend over both semesters.  Summer classes may be offered. 2. Academic year is divided into two separate 15 week semesters plus a week for final exams.  Courses are offered fall, spring, summer, and winterim semesters.
3. Class attendance is usually mandatory and monitored carefully. 3. Attendance policies may vary with each instructor.  Some professors may not formally take roll.  Lack of attendance may impact performance.
4. Classes generally have no more than 30-35 students. 4. Classes may have 30 -100 or more students.
5. Textbooks are typically provided at little or no expense. 5. UW-Eau Claire textbooks are signed out but some may need to be purchased.  Textbooks are returned at the end of each semester; they may be purchased if you choose to.
6. Guidance is provided for student so they will be aware of graduation requirements. 6. Graduation requirements are complex and vary for different fields of study.  Your adviser will assist you.
7. Most of your classes are arranged for you. 7. You arrange your own schedule in consultation with your academic adviser. 

 

Instructors

HIGH SCHOOL POSTSECONDARY
1. Grade and check completed homework.  May remind students of incomplete assignments. 1. Assume homework is completed.  Expect students to read, save, and refer back to the course syllabus which is your way of knowing exactly what is expected of you, when assignments are due, and how you will be graded.  It’s your responsibility to check with your instructor to see if requirements are being met. 
2. May know students’ needs and approach students when they need assistance. 2. Are usually open and helpful, but expect students to initiate contact when assistance is needed.
3. May be available before, during, or after class. 3. May require students to attend scheduled office hours.
4. Often provide student with missed information. 4. Expect student to get missed information from classmates or online.
5. Present material to help students understand what is in the textbook. 5. May not follow textbook, but lectures enhance the topic. (Hint: You need to connect lectures and textbook.)
6. Often write information on the board or overhead to be copied for notes. 6. May lecture nonstop.  If they write on the board, it may be to support the lecture, not summarize it.  Powerpoint may be available on the web.
7. Teach knowledge and facts leading students through the thinking process. 7. Expect students to think independently and connect seemingly unrelated information.

 

Studying

HIGH SCHOOL POSTSECONDARY
1. Study time outside of class may vary (may be as little as 1-3 hours per week). 1. Generally need to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class.
2. Instructors may review class notes and text material regularly for classes. 2. Student should review class notes and text material regularly. (Hint: Use the time between classes carefully.)             
3. Expected to read short assignments that are discussed and retaught. 3. Substantial amounts of assigned reading and writing may not be directly addressed in class. It’s up to you to read and understand assigned material.

 

Testing

HIGH SCHOOL POSTSECONDARY
1. Frequent coverage of small amounts of material. 1. Usually infrequent (2-3 times a semester).  May be cumulative and cover large amounts of material.  Some classes may require only papers and/or projects instead of tests.
2. Make-up tests are often available. 2. Make-up tests are seldom an option and must be requested.
3. Frequently conducts review sessions emphasizing important concepts prior to tests. 3. Faculty may offer review sessions; if not, students are expected to be prepared on their own, or find study groups.

 

Grades

HIGH SCHOOL POSTSECONDARY
1. Given for most assigned work. 1. May not be provided for all assigned work.
2. Good homework grades may assist in raising overall grades when test grades are lower. 2. Tests and major papers provide the majority of the grade. Class attendance and participation may be used.
3. Extra credit options are often available. 3. Generally speaking, extra-credit options are not used to raise a grade.
4. Initial test grades, especially when low, may not have adverse effect on grade. 4. First tests are often “wake up” calls to let you know what is expected. They may account for a substantial part of your final grade.  Contact the instructor, academic adviser, or student accessibility personnel early in the semester if you do poorly.

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The Top 10 Things Every Adult Student Ought to Know

1. It’s Never Too Late
It is never too late to follow a dream.  If you have always dreamed of going to college or returning to college it’s time to start.  You won't be alone. At UW-Eau Claire there are approximately 800 nontraditional students like you here each semester. Go for it!

2. There Is No Need For Guilt
Remember, you are seeking to improve your situation through education.  The best gift you can give yourself and your family is an education.  Most will agree the sacrifices made were worth the effort with your diploma in hand.

3. Flexible Learning Options
Many courses are available at times that allow you to continue with your normal schedule, for example online, late afternoon or evening courses, and independent learning (through UW-Colleges or Independent Learning).

4. Academic Advising
An academic adviser is usually a faculty or staff member who advises students on his/her academic program.  They will advise you of specific courses you must take, and know all about your major requirements for graduation.  They can help you find internships, serve as a reference when you apply for a job, and are often available to provide personal advice.  The UWEC Nontraditional Student Adviser is an excellent resource for you, in addition to your academic adviser,

5. Registration Process
Unless you are a re-admitted or second degree student, you will be required to attend an Orientation session at which time you will register for classes, get your textbooks, and your student ID card.  This may seem frightening to you, but there are plenty of staff to assist you.  After you register for the first term, the process becomes much easier.

6. Budgeting
Create a realistic and reasonable budget.  No other problem creates as much stress, anxiety, and worry as not having enough money.  Include all family members in the budgeting discussion.
Itemize your expenses, Itemize your resources, then Construct your budget. The NSS adviser or a financial aid counselor can help you create a budget.

7. Maintaining a Balance
Most adult students find it impossible to work full-time and go to school full-time.  Therefore, it may be necessary to attend only part-time as long as you have a full-time job.  A full academic course load at UW-Eau Claire is twelve credits.  It’s important to remember that for every hour you have in class, there will be additional hours for reading, study, and assignments.  (Thirteen to fourteen credits is equal to a full-time job!)

8. The First Semester
The first semester is going to be tough and it will take you a while to get your bearings. Don’t get discouraged.  You will soon have a routine, your family will have adjusted, and you will be on your way to achieving your dream. Consider enrolling in Gen 100: Intro to the University for Adult Students to help you get off to a good start.

9. Computer Literacy
Word processing is a necessary skill for all college students.  Most instructors will not accept papers if they aren't typed.  In addition to word processing, learning to use email and the internet is critical for college students. UWEC offers free basic computer training classes to students.

10. Attitude
Your attitude is the key barometer of your success.  You begin highly motivated and focused.  You encounter course work that takes time away from things you’ve always enjoyed doing.  Your family and friends put undue expectations on you.  You can say “What have I gotten myself into?”  Or you can say, “This is difficult, but interesting.”  Always monitor your attitude.  The key point is PERSIST, to achieve your goal.   

Selected material taken from:
Jackson-Hardin, Carlette (2000).  100 Things Every Adult College Student Ought to Know.  New York: Cambridge Stratford Study Skills Institute, A division of Cambridge Stratford, Ltd.

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Final Tips

The following tips come from continuing adult students who wish they had known then what they know now...

  • Locate your classrooms before the first day of classes.  The buildings can be confusing inside; walk through your schedule ahead of time.
  • Learn to jump hoops.  Some things on campus require paperwork, which can be confusing.  Be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
  • You can wear just about anything and feel comfortable, from suits to jeans.
  • Become acquainted with at least one person in each class, or at least get a name and phone number or email address for a classmate.  In case you miss a class you can retrieve lecture notes.
  • Find and utilize your support system!
  • Sit in front of the classroom.  You'll be amazed how it helps to keep your attention focused.
  • Determine your best time of day to study and schedule in study time.
  • Learn how to use the library.  If you do not take English 110 (or 112 for Transfer students) or if your class instructor does not show you how to use the library, consider taking LMED 100, How to Use the Library, for 1 credit.  The library also has great tutorials available to download on their website.
  • Learn how to use your campus email and check it daily!
  • Practice good time management.  Study on campus if at all possible. There are fewer distractions.
  • Read required text assignments before class.  Lecture will make more sense for you.
  • Take care of yourself with proper rest, healthy eating, planning your schedule wisely, and scheduling in time for YOU!
  • Read the school newspaper, The Spectator.  Free copies are available in several sites around campus.
  • Read bulletin boards.  You will be surprised at the amount of information they contain.
  • If you need it, get help EARLY in the semester.  Call Nontraditional Student Services at 715-836-3259 or the Academic Skills Center at 715-836-5844 to discuss your academic support needs.
  • If you need on-campus child care, reserve a space as early as possible at the UWEC Children's Center.
  • Visit your professors in their offices.  Let them know who you are.  Should you need a special accommodation, make this request at an individual meeting with your professor in his/her office.  Asking in class can really put the professor on the spot.
  • Hang out in the Oasis or join a student organization or an honor society to get involved.
  • Free and low-cost workshops are available throughout the year on a wide range of topics from learning how to use e-mail to researching careers.  Watch for email announcements from NSS.
  • A Campus Directory with staff and student phone numbers and email addresses is available online.
  • If you're not happy with your schedule, change it if necessary!  Talk with the instructor, your academic adviser, or the NSS adviser.  Check the tuition refund timeline in the Financial Aid or Registration Offices.
  • Be aware of all drop and withdrawal deadlines.  If you need to get out of a course, make sure you do the paperwork required.  Check online for important dates, including information on final exams.
  • Attend class!  You miss out on a lot, even if you miss only one class.
  • If you must miss class for several sessions (illness, emergencies, etc.), contact the Dean of Students office in Schofield 240, 836?2624, and they will contact your instructors for you.
  • Tuition costs no more to take more than 12 credits.  If you take 12+ credits you will only pay for 12 credits.
  • A university education can be a rich and fulfilling experience. You only get out of something what you put into it.
  • Be proud of yourself for choosing to attend school. That alone is an accomplishment in itself!
  •  Take advantage of as much of it as you can and enjoy the experience!
  • Always remember your goal; why you are in school and your motivation to do it.

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Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.