Week 1 - Getting Started

Secrets to College Success & Expectations (Faculty's & Yours!)

Just considering enrolling in college can be an anxiety producing experience for everyone.  It's more nerve wracking if it has been a while since you were in a classroom or if you don't feel like you were or are a particularly good student.  There are reasons we get nervous when we consider starting school.  It is an enormous bureaucracy and "who does what" is not always clear, in fact, it often feels like those college administrators delight in making the whole system confusing.  Even the process of filling out the application (online or on paper) can be intimidating.  There are terms that mean nothing to us, lots of forms and lists of tasks, and it can be a mystery where to turn for help. 

We're sure we are the only ones  who don't quite understand what to do, and the only ones having problems.

Welcome to higher education!  Unless you work for a college or university, it's hard to know where to start.  This online class will take you through the application process (what documentation you need to provide and how to get it), provide an overview of financial aid (the online application for Federal student aid - including those very desirable grants and sometimes necessary loans), explain general education requirements and building a class schedule, and introduce the practical skills necessary for academic success (study skills, note taking skills, active reading strategies, and more!). 

Some readings to get you started:

So let's start with you!  Read "9 Secrets to College Success" by Dr. Val Farmer.  It's important to know why you are looking at going to college and what things you can do from the start to make it a better, more fulfilling experience.  You have to be clear about your goals and disciplined enough that you can stay on track and do the work - or get back on track if you get derailed.  The big secret is your commitment to doing your job as a student.  You know what that's all about.  During your military service, doing your job was essential for your own sake and often affected a lot of other people.  Now it's time to make a commitment to yourself that you will do what is necessary - even if you may not like some of it - to be a successful student.  I'll let you in on a little secret...there is no real secret to college success.  It requires hard work, but the benefits to a job well done are tremendous. 

Now let's consider the dreaded faculty and their crazy "Faculty Expectations," my very own creation.  You will find as many different types of instructors in your classes as you will find practicing in any profession.  Some are very engaging and dynamic.  Some are not.  All of them have credentials that qualify them to be in the classroom, and it is important to respect their years of study.  Some are very sensitive to the challenges faced by student veterans, very "vet friendly."  Others may not seem to have an opinion one way or the other.  Guess what?  None of that matters.  You are in their class to learn the material they are presenting.  You can be pretty sure that they are passionate about the field (even if that passion seems entirely misplaced to you!)  So your motto with faculty and other students will be "Tolerance, Patience & Purpose."  You need to be tolerant of the differences you will encounter among faculty and students:  differences in opinion, perspective, experience, you name it.  They are entitled to those differences just as you are entitled to your own.  You need to find the patience to deal with what is difficult, dull, boring, annoying, or insensitive.  Be patient with faculty and you will learn a lot.  Be patient with other students and you will find you share much more in common than first impressions may have indicated.  Above all, be patient with yourself, with the pace of your learning and adjustment to school.  College is a challenge, and it takes a while to get the hang of it, figure out a routine that works, and dust off your academic skills.  Give yourself a chance to settle in and adjust.  Struggling in a class is not an indication of intelligence.  It's all part of the process.  What is your purpose in school?  How will each class help your accomplish your goals?  

Think about what the faculty expect from you.   You will see it is the same thing you should expect from yourself.

Last modified: Wednesday, 15 October 2014, 2:31 PM