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Four Proven Academic Hacks to Help You Through College (Part 2)

This is the second and final part of the Academic Hacks blog series. Click here to read the first part!

Maluck Nawabi, Enya Daang, Mangesh Darke and Catherine Tran As the final flurry of university acceptance letters begin to pour in, you are probably channeling your energy into going through an intense decision-making process. There is more to dealing with college than admissions and the interns at GiveTeens20®® (who have been there, done that and managed to stay sane!) have signed up to be your spirit guides! In this final part of the two-part blog post, they give you a few more effective suggestions (or academic hacks, as we call them) on dealing with the most important part of your life right now: preparing for college!

Community College is a Cost-Effective Option

College does not have to be expensive. Even in these sluggish economic times, financial difficulties should not prevent one from pursuing higher education, because cost-effective options such as community college are available. Attending community college is not just an affordable alternative. The non-monetary benefits of attending a junior college include being close to home and learning in smaller, flexible class sizes with accelerated and practical curriculum.

Moreover, junior colleges have a long history of catering to non-traditional students. Adults returning to school, part-time students with outside jobs and family obligations, and teenagers starting fresh from a blemished high school transcript to name a few. Not to mention, enrolling in a community college doesn’t always have to be the final destination in a student’s academic career.

Many public two-year colleges offer transfer guarantee programs that allow students to transfer credits from their junior college courses towards a Bachelor’s degree from their desired four-year university. Students who pursue this option pay a fraction of the cost for general education prerequisites that they would have likewise taken at a four-year school. Therefore, students should not be intimidated by the financial barrier that prevents them from gaining knowledge and learning practical skills.

Don’t Ignore Your Health

Getting good grades and being involved in extra-curricular are important, but so is your mental and physical health! In the long run, the assignment you’ve been skipping meals and nights of sleep for is not worth your health and well being. That brings us to the fourth and final subject of our academic hacks: do not neglect your responsibilities! As tempting as it may be, giving yourself breaks after getting the smallest of tasks done will lead to more stress as you approach the deadline with an unfinished assignment.

However, if you find yourself seriously struggling to stay awake, make sure you get a full night’s rest. Also, it is easy to put off eating and eat poorly while you are busy working, so be conscious of the time and eat foods that nourish your body! Pizza is awesome, but so is having the energy to get all that work done!


Four Proven Academic Hacks to Help You Through College (Part 1)

Maluck Nawabi, Enya Daang, Mangesh Darke and Catherine Tran As the final flurry of university acceptance letters begin to pour in, you are probably channeling your energy into going through an intense decision-making process. There is more to dealing with college than admissions and the interns at GiveTeens20® (who have been there, done that and managed to stay sane!) have signed up to be your spirit guides! In this two-part blog post, they give you a few effective suggestions (or academic hacks, as we call them) on dealing with the most important part of your life right now: preparing for college!

Manage Your Time Like a Pro

The most important thing to do at college is manage your time well. When first starting to sign up for classes, you may want to take a bunch of classes that seem super interesting or fill your entire schedule with classes that pertain to your major. However, I’ve learned that this isn’t the best strategy.

To start, there is nothing wrong with taking some classes for fun and learning something new; that is one of the reasons to go to college in the first place. Actually, I encourage you to take classes that interest you, even if they do not relate to your major. Personally, I took philosophy classes even though I am majoring in Computer Science. However, it is imperative to remember that you are paying nearly $500 per unit at a 4-year school. That is a lot of money when considering how many classes you will have to take.

There is no correct way to balance your time. The key is making sure to not overwhelm oneself. The first thing you should do when you start planning for classes is to thoroughly understand the effort and time the class requires. Usually, you can determine this by how many units the class is. If the class is high in units, then that means that you are expected to put in a lot of effort. Additionally, reading the course catalog gives you a good idea of what to expect in the course. As long as you plan accordingly and balance your time, college classes won’t be a problem.

Summer Classes are a Good Option. But…

Taking classes in the summer is ideal if you want to complete more units. However, you must take into consideration the fact that summer classes are four days a week for six weeks and they tend to be more time consuming. Therefore, you must carefully decide which classes to take. At first you will want to take upwards of three classes, but it is best to just take one class. Personally speaking last summer I wanted to take English, Biology, and Microeconomics. However, if I did take all those classes I would not be able to function like a sane person.

Schedule a meeting with your counselor to see which summer courses will count for two areas of general education requirements. For instance, sometimes an English class at a community college will count for both an English requirement and a critical thinking requirement. Thus, allowing you to save time and money. Once you enroll in classes at a local community college include that college in your FAFSA so that you can get the BOG Fee Waiver. With this Waiver your classes will be covered under financial aid.

Watch out for the second part of the Academic Hacks series that will be up on the blog next week. For more insightful suggestions on conquering college, read this post

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