Don’t Be Another Community College Dropout! Part II
Focus on Your Goals
Most students beginning community college are not focused on what they are trying to accomplish. In particular, students straight out of high school often do not have an end game in mind when they enroll in school. School has simply been what they’ve always done so far, so more school at a community college seems the natural path – call us today to book your private Costa Mesa college tutor.
Even students who are several years removed from high school often don’t have goals in mind when they enroll in community college. Maybe people have told them they should go back to school, or that a college education is valuable, or they have the idea that going to college will lead to a better job.
Whatever the case, students often aren’t focused enough on their goal while in community college. They take generic classes and maybe settle on a generic degree and don’t know where to go next. This tends to prolong the time it takes to finish school and also can make the college process feel useless or unbeneficial. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Your goal is to successfully earn a degree and ultimately get a job with it. Don’t forget this.
It’s okay not to know what field you want to study or what jobs you want to pursue right away, but you should constantly be looking to discover and decide on those important choices. Here are some ways to help you have a focused and successful college career:
+ Research and Know Your Program Requirements
Your school will have their requirements for graduation and each degree and major detailed in their college catalog. Search for this and familiarize yourself with what classes you need to take to graduate with your desired degree.
Don’t forget that your goal in college is to earn a degree. If you aren’t sure what you want to major in yet, then at least familiarize yourself with your school’s divisional/core requirements for graduation. These are class requirements that all students must fulfill to graduate – so, even if you haven’t chosen a major yet, you can still be taking classes toward earning your degree.
One reason why many students struggle to graduate on time or manage their course loads is that they aren’t familiar enough with which classes they should be taking. Students often took superfluous classes, or they don’t take important prerequisite classes early enough. Don’t let this happen to you by learning exactly what your school requires.
+ Research, Your Professors
Ratemyprofessor.com is a valuable resource for college students – though it should not be taken too seriously. The website allows for anonymous reviews and ratings of professors from across the country. Previous students can rate them based on difficulty, amount of work required, grading leniency, and more. You can also look at a professor’s reviews for a specific class.
These reviews are especially valuable for community college students where the classes are often larges, and many of the teachers may not be the highest quality. Do yourself a favor by trying to avoid teachers who are notoriously unhelpful when possible. Also take advantage when you see a teacher with many positive, favorable reviews. Sign up for these teachers’ classes early; their classes are more likely to fill up quickly.
However, don’t treat the website as definitive for a teacher’s abilities. Remember that students who did poorly in a class or clashed with a teacher are much more likely to get online to complain and write a negative review. A good rule of thumb is to ignore any ratings if there are fewer than ten total reviews for that teacher. Another good rule is to ignore the ratings if they all seem too inconsistent and conflict with one another. A good final rule is to look for personal reviews from people you know whenever possible: ask your friends and classmates about the teachers and classes they’ve taken and how they went.
Having good teachers who leave a positive and motivating impression on you can help you feel like you are learning and making progress. Conversely, poor teachers can ruin your confidence and should be avoided as often as possible.
+ Frequently See Someone for Help
Visiting an advisor, teacher, or tutor regularly is good advice for keeping yourself accountable and on task, but it is also good advice for remaining focused on your goals. You should be trying to check in with someone experienced to make sure you’re taking the right classes and making good progress. Even if you have researched your catalog and course requirements thoroughly, they might know something that you don’t that can help.
Some good times to do this are: before you register for classes for the next semester, before the final add/drop date for this semester’s classes, before midterms or final exams, and after you receive your final grades. See someone for help consistently so you can be sure that you are on schedule and not missing anything. This will help keep you from giving up from being confused or behind in your program.
+ Stay Career Focused
It’s easy to get caught up in the classes and school life and forget that the ultimate goal is to find a job with your earned degree. This is especially true if you are coming straight from high school and don’t have much career experience. You do not want to be starting your job search after you graduate, and you especially do not want to finish an expensive degree (financially and time-wise) that you never use.
You can attempt to combat this by keeping your goal in mind. Start your job search as early as possible. Try to find what jobs you think you will be qualified for and what you would like to do – even if it’s too early to apply yet. Look for summer internships or relevant summer jobs if possible. If you are already working, but it isn’t in the field that your degree will be in, try to switch to something more relevant as soon as possible – even if it’s an entry-level position. Talk to career counseling at your school and find help with your resume and interviewing skills.
Your school likely has the best job search resources available to you, and they are usually free while you are a student. Your schools and your teachers want you to succeed and find work after graduation. Take advantage of this and always be working toward your future job while in school. If you have your positive career goal in mind, you are less likely to feel like you’re wasting your time and give up.
Book your private Costa Mesa college tutor today.
Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.