Friday, December 19, 2014

Key Skills Most Students Lack

When you think of preparing for success in college, you probably think of developing academic skills. While students will need to read, write, think, and analyze on a college-bound level to complete the work, there are more essential skills college students need. These are skills most students won’t be taught in high school.

Independent Living Skills

Even the smartest student won’t succeed in college if he can’t take care of day to day tasks. College students need to be independent enough to set their own schedules. They need to wake up and get to class without mom nagging them to go. Everyone around them hopes they can do laundry and bathe on a regular basis. Staying healthy helps, so eating regularly, taking medication if necessary, and addressing physical needs is basic.
Most high school students practice these skills on a regular basis, but some don’t. I’ve known high school seniors whose moms wake them up every morning, make sure they get to school, and take care of every detail. Reminders may be necessary, but doing everything for your child may be denying them the opportunity to grow up.

Ability to Ask for Help

Successful college students know when to ask for help. They recognize when they would benefit from academic assistance and are willing to talk to a professor during office hours, go to the campus tutoring center, or stay after class to get a question answered. Some college students are stubborn to a fault. They see asking for help as a weakness so try to do it themselves or stick their heads in the sand and hope things get better. During junior high and high school parents may have to encourage these stubbornly independent students to seek help, so by the time they are in college they see it as a viable option.
Seeking help in college applies to issues beyond the classroom. Some students don’t know when they should go to the campus health center and may ignore serious warning signs because they don’t know what to do. Other students experience social and emotional problems and would benefit from seeking help. Often seeking help for these problems is not something we can teach our kids in high school. Parents can keep in touch with college age kids and listen for signs of trouble and encourage students to seek help on campus.

Openness to New People and Opportunities

Some students sabotage their college experience before it even starts. They are nervous about meeting new people, so they surround themselves with friends from high school and refuse to meet new people or consider new opportunities. Sometimes parents help in this self-imposed isolation by setting the student up in off campus housing and encouraging him or her to come home every weekend. Freshman year is challenging and some students will be homesick, but if they are encouraged to meet new people and participate in campus clubs, organizations, and social activities they will adapt faster and have a more fulfilling college experience.

Study Skills

Basic study skills are always in demand. By junior high and high school students should be able to organize materials, take effective class notes, and track assignments. In college students need to study differently. Most of my college classes involved a paper (or two), a midterm, and a final exam. I didn’t have quizzes, homework, or assignments to encourage me to study. I had to motivate myself and keep track of a large amount of information over time.
Students need to develop the ability to study independently. Many college students expect their professors to tell them what to learn and are surprised when they are told, “Study everything.”
Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams in high school provide an opportunity for students to develop some of the study skills they will need in college. These exams are comprehensive and require students to study throughout the year in order to master the volume of content tested. Some high school final exams can provide the same experience, but too often teachers limit the scope of material and go to great lengths to spoon feed the content to students. Most college finals don’t come with a detailed review sheet. Students need to be ready.

Approach to Powerful Studying

As an academic life coach for teenagers, I used to think that if I just helped my overwhelmed clients organize & manage their study time better, they’d perform better at school and be ready for the rigor of college. However, no matter how many strategies I taught, they were still floundering on tests!

Nothing seemed to work until I discovered a creative new way to talk about studying, which I’m calling The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying. Since I’ve been using this approach, my clients have created lasting, powerful new study processes that result in higher confidence and vastly improved grades.
I’ve also discovered that if adults change the way they talk about studying with students, their kids’ learning breakthrough is magnified.

Think about it this way: what I fondly call the “S” word has become a dirty word to students. Everyone uses it so much that it’s lost any meaning.
Conversations including “Have you studied?” and “I’m going to study.” can sound meaningful, but don’t get to the heart of the issue.

“Study” doesn’t actually describe the actions that need to take place. Families can reduce arguments and eliminate nagging when they better understand the issues:
  • How will homework time be best spent?
  • What actions should a student take to learn material?
  • Is there a way to learn more in less time?
  • How will a student know he or she if ready for a test?

The Test DAY

All tests are stressful. But, the SAT is in a league of its own when it comes to inducing anxiety. So much rides on the student’s performance. He or she has prepared for the Test for a long period of time or, at the very least, has been told repeatedly for months, of the importance of the test.

 And, just to make the stress more acute, the test is incredibly long – a three and a half hour, fatiguing and draining marathon. How does that stress influences the student’s performance? Stress can help as well as hurt performance. It can focus and concentrate the mind and screen out extraneous thoughts. But, when anxiety affects the decision making process of a student, it can negatively affect the student’s score significantly.

Tips for Online College Applications

Most colleges and universities have adopted online methods for submitting applications. Some schools use shared systems such as the Common Application, which is accepted by more than 400 schools, while others accept a state-specific application that’s accepted by public universities and some private schools, Whether using a specific college’s application or a common version, there are steps students can take to avoid problems with the online college admissions process.

1. Record and save login details for every online application.

Forgetting usernames and passwords is one of the most common reasons students are delayed in submitting online applications. Because each college and university’s online application may have a different login requirement, students frequently end up with a variety of usernames, student identification numbers, and passwords. Creating an electronic or paper list of login details and keeping it in a safe place can help students avoid frustrations and delays.

2. Wait a couple of weeks after open date to begin submitting online applications.

Many online applications open to students on August 1. While it is tempting to complete and submit applications as soon as possible, students may benefit by waiting a week or two. As with other online programs or newly released systems, online applications commonly have bugs or system glitches that need to be worked through. Some bugs are minor annoyances, but some have been major flaws requiring students to reenter information multiple times. Students who can wait a couple of weeks will reduce their frustration because they’ll allow time for system problems to be fixed.

3. Read all instructions for every application.

Yes, this suggestion seems simple; however, many students expect questions to be obvious and answers to be intuitive, when they often are not. Some questions are reserved for out-of-state or international students, and others require school codes that are not listed in the application itself. Students should take time to read all instructions and when in doubt consult the help guide or explanations videos included with most online applications.

4. Preview finished applications before submitting them.

Each online application system has its own preview or print options. Because what students see on their computer screens may not match what will be submitted to colleges, it is essential to preview responses before completing the application. A common problem is that some applications truncate too-lengthy answers to match word or character limits, but students may not realize these changes have been made until they reach the print preview screen.

5. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply online.

Online college applications are notorious for freezing up in the hours or days before the submission deadline. Too many students wait until the last minute, all try to log in at once, and the system gets overloaded. Avoid the panic that comes with last-minute technical delays by starting applications early: Never wait until the week prior to any deadline to submit an online application.

Completing online applications for college can streamline the admission process. Most high school students are familiar with submitting information online, but for something as important at college admission, students should take care to avoid problems and insure they submit the strongest application possible. Being informed about application dates, prepared for the types of questions that will be asked, and paying close attention to the details of online applications all will help students present their best-possible work and have the highest chance of acceptance to the college of their choice.

SAT and ACT Comparisons

Here are some comparisons of SAT and ACT scores.  The SAT results used are the sum of three sections:  reading, math, and writing.  The ACT results are the average of four sections:  English, math, reading, and science.

ACT 36 = SAT 2400
ACT 33 = SAT 2180
ACT 30 = SAT 2000
ACT 27 = SAT 1820
ACT 24 = SAT 1650
ACT 21 = SAT 1470
ACT 18 = SAT 1290
ACT 15 = SAT 1100
ACT 12 = SAT 870

While these comparisons are approximations, they can help students evaluate their progress and determine which test might be best for their particular academic strengths.  Once students compare their SAT and ACT scores, they can determine which results they want to submit for college admission.

How to Compare SAT and ACT Scores

All colleges and universities that require standardized test scores for undergraduate admission will accept students’ scores on either the SAT or ACT.  Many students want to submit their best results, but because these two tests are graded on a different scale, they don’t know how to compare scores.  Understanding how to compare SAT and ACT scores can help students focus on their best test and know which scores to send to colleges.

SAT Scoring
Each of the three SAT sections is graded on a scale of 200 to 800.  The three scores are not averaged to obtain a total score; although students and colleges often add scores together, resulting in a total of 1600 (math and reading) or 2400 (when all sections are totaled).  The average score per section is right around 500.

ACT Scoring
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36.  Each of the four sections is scored on the 1 to 36 scale, then all four scores are averaged to determine a student’s composite score.   Consider a student who earns the following results:
English 23
Math 36
Reading 22
Science 15
This student’s ACT composite score is 24.  Averaging helps the 15 in science, but in doing so reduces the perfect score in math. The average score on the ACT is 21.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Online Class cons.

1.       Online classes are often less expensive and students have options of paying more to be in an interactive classroom or paying less to do homework at home.

2.        This gives the students an ability to have the information on the fingertips.

3.       Teachers no longer have to reserve the library or the computer labs just so students can do research on a particular topic.

4.       Students are able to learn more throughout the year because they are spending a single class period on an item instead of week to do the research and the discussion.

5.       The worldwide interaction students are able to achieve online is significant.

6.       Students are able to talk to people from other cultures and broaden their perspectives after having conversations with others who may see things differently.

7.       Students don’t have to have physical textbooks on their desks anymore since many books are available as e-books, aka digital text.

8.       With virtual school becoming increasingly popular,  students  need to be prepared  for an online education.