Notes that Work

Get the most out of your classes by perfecting your note-taking skills. Whether you’re recording key lecture points or jotting down important facts from your textbook, it’s up to you to develop a method that works for you. When it is crunch-time for mid-terms and finals, you’ll be glad you did.

Get the most out of your classes by perfecting your note-taking skills. Whether you’re recording key lecture points or jotting down important facts from your textbook, it’s up to you to develop a method that works for you. When it is crunch-time for mid-terms and finals, you’ll be glad you did.
Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your notes.

Come to class prepared

To help keep your notes organized, it’s a good idea to have either a 3-ring binder or a notebook for each class. Using a binder allows you to easily add material like handouts, homework and returned tests. If you prefer, go paperless and use a laptop or tablet to take notes, just make sure you are charged up and ready for class. Also, consider keeping highlighters or Post-it® flags nearby to point out important concepts.

What to write down

  • Dates of events: Writing down dates will help you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened and understand the context of an event.
  • Names of people: Being able to link names with key ideas helps you to recall important concepts later.
  • Theories: Any statement of a theory should be recorded — theories are the main points of most classes.
  • Definitions: Any word that you are unfamiliar with should be looked up and notated.
  • Images and exercises: Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, or when an in-class exercise is performed, jot down a few words to record the experience.
  • Other stuff: If your instructor writes something down, says “this is important” or “you need to understand this,” be sure to note it in some way because you’ll likely see it again. Pay attention to other student’s comments, too — try to capture and summarize comments that add to your understanding.
  • Your own questions: Come to class with notations about concepts you do not understand so you can ask the professor later. Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you.

Note Taking Techniques

There are several different ways to take notes; however, there are a few tried and true principals that remain the core of good note taking techniques.

Outlining is an effective way to create a hierarchy of concepts and to take notations from books.
HBTA-Outlining
Mind Mapping may be a way to get the most out of class discussions or lectures. They are more fluid and do not follow a strict format. You can go back after the fact and organize the ideas in a more structured layout after you write down all the needed notes.

HBTA-MindMapping

The Cornell Note system seems to be the new favorite way of taking notes. It is perfect for showing where to get more defined notes by reviewing key concepts and after you take your notes, you go back, review and come up with a summary.

HBTA-CornellNotes

No matter how you like to note your ideas in class, you should see that doing so will better you knowledge of the material to ensure you get the most of you classes. What is your favorite note taking techniques? Share in the comments blow.
Sources:

  • “Taking Notes: 5 College Success Tips.” Jerzs Literacy Weblog. 29 Aug. 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.
  • “Note Taking/Outline Format.” – Wikibooks, Open Books for an Open World. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.
  • “Mind Map Notes.” Mind Map Notes. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.
  • “Cornell Notes.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

College Essay Tips

You have researched colleges and now it is time to write a personal essay. It’s time to construct a thesis that will help you stand out from the masses. It’s up to you to show the admissions committee what sets you apart from others in ways that test scores, grades and extracurricular pursuits cannot. Here are some tips to help you craft your best composition.

You have researched colleges and now it is time to write a personal essay. It’s time to construct a thesis that will help you stand out from the masses. It’s up to you to show the admissions committee what sets you apart from others in ways that test scores, grades and extracurricular pursuits cannot. Here are some tips to help you craft your best composition.

Pick your Topic.

When you are ready to write an admissions essay, pick something that you can easily discuss and a subject that it is truthful. You will never want to force an answer or lie. Tap into your passions, different experiences, or anything that makes you seem original, but make sure you answer the question they provided. If you do not, your essay will likely be overlooked.

Outline Your Essay and Start Writing.

Whenever you start writing your first draft, it is best to just let your thoughts flow freely, but also to approach it with some structure. Create an outline. Structure your essay so that it includes an introduction paragraph that states what you will be talking about, a body section with several paragraphs that relate to the introduction, and a conclusion paragraph that leaves an impression. Be original and creative to help show the admissions board a clearer picture of who you are and added reasons why you would be a great addition to the college.

Edits and Feedback.

Review your paper several times and make sure that your essay is concise and reads easily. Reading the draft out loud will help you find anything that does not sound conversational. Most importantly, after reviewing your own work, hand it over to family, friends or even teachers for their feedback. Make sure that the essay “sounds like you” by keeping everything in your own voice.  Remember to proofread your essay several times to make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors.

Reminders

  • Use imagery and clear vivid prose by appealing to the five senses. It helps keep the reader engaged.
  • Spend most of your time perfecting the introduction to help entice the reader to continue reading. Admissions officers usually only give 1-2 minutes per essay. Make sure you hook them in.
  • Conclusions are crucial and leave a critical last impression. Try to link it back to the introduction to create a balance to the essay without the need to summarize everything into a paragraph.
  • Take breaks! This essay is important, but do not make it your whole focus. Taking a break from the writing or editing is healthy. Just make sure you meet the deadline!

Best of luck and fingers crossed for the acceptance letters to come in the mail.

Sources:

4 Tips to Help You Score a Scholarship

If college is in your future, consider applying for a scholarship to help reduce your tuition costs. Here are some tips to help improve your chance of being selected anytime you apply.

Find A Scholarship.

There are thousands of scholarships available so check out websites like the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, and Scholarships.com. Consider all of your options and to not discount smaller scholarships or organizations. Usually, small organizations who offer scholarships have less people apply which creates less competition. Plus, multiple small scholarships can add up quickly.

Prepare to Apply.

Create a skill resume. This valuable self-summary will allow you to talk about your abilities and what you can provide in the college environment. Be sure to tailor your skillset to the specific scholarship or organization where you’re applying. Read and follow all of the directions that are provided to you. If you cannot follow instructions you won’t likely be selected. When it comes to your references, be sure to give your teacher, counselor, instructors and supervisors time to write their recommendation letters. People are eager to help out, especially if you give them a reasonable deadline so they are not rushed.

Write an Awesome Essay.

Create outlines for each of your scholarship essays to keep all of your thoughts organized and concise. If you find that you have a hard time sitting and writing an essay, audio record your response and then transcribe the information. It is usually easier to write about something you are passionate about so try to keep that in mind when picking your subject matter for the essay. Also, be sure to give examples to strengthen your story and make it more believable. The most important thing whenever it comes to the essay is to proofread it…several times. Try reading the essay out loud to make sure it sounds right and have a few (trusted) people to review it as well.

Watch Out for Scams.

Unfortunately, there are some fraudsters out there who want to take advantage of students searching for scholarships. Take caution with any site that you review. If there is a site that is guaranteeing something or asking for you to pay money to get a scholarship, do not trust them. Also, do not trust anyone who is asking for your bank account, credit card, or social security number.

Good luck with finding the right scholarship for you. The Apple Federal Credit Union Education Foundation awards 30 deserving students’ $4,000 scholarships each year.  Find out if you’re eligible and apply by January 31, 2015.

4 Travel Tips:
Going Home for the Holidays

Mid-terms are over. Your brain feels hazy. You miss your friends and family. You crave a home cooked meal. You’re ready to go home. Sound familiar? Whether you plan to fly or drive, before you pack up, prepare for travel with these super simple tips.

Mid-terms are over. Your brain feels hazy. You miss your friends and family. You crave a home cooked meal. You’re ready to go home.

Sound familiar?

Whether you plan to fly or drive, before you pack up, prepare for travel with these super simple tips.

Reduce Airfare Costs.

Last minute airline reservations can be pricey. Fortunately, there are several websites that offer price comparisons – eliminating the hassle of shopping around. Loaded with steep discounts, STA Travel should be your first stop to shop. You can search sites like Kayak.com and Farecast.com to compare more pricing options too. Sites sometimes also recommend to wait a few days to make your purchase – potentially saving you a few more bucks. Plus, do not forget to ask for student discounts especially if you buy directly from an airline. You never know how much more you can save.

Prepare to Drive.

Make sure you and your car are ready to hit the road. Prepare to drive by getting a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to eat well and pack a few snacks or some extra cash for a quick bite. Avoid being stranded along the highway by checking your tires, oil, windshield wipers and other vehicle fluids. If you prefer the DIY approach, check out NAPA’s how to check fluid levels video.

Fuel Up.

Consider carpooling with a friend who’s headed in the same direction. Splitting fuel costs whenever possible will help you save. Save even more cash with sites like FuelMyRoute.com or phone apps like GasBuddy where you can see the lowest gas prices within your route.

Pack and Purge.

Take advantage of the trip back home and empty your closet of the things you don’t need or bring back some things you miss most. Whatever the case, grab an extra bag to transfer items back and forth, even if it’s simply to swap out seasonal clothing. Remember, you can switch the clothes back during spring break or a later holiday.

Use these tips the when you travel and stress-less during your next homebound visit. After all, you deserve a slice of pumpkin pie and an enjoyable time with your loved ones.

 

Sources:

  • Juliff, Lauren. “The Best Websites for Finding Student Airfare.” About Travel. About.com, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  • Haskin, Melissa. “Tips For Moving Across The Country | Brass.” Tips For Moving Across The Country | Brass. Brass.com, 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  • “Tips for College Students Travelling Home for the First Time.” SuperShuttle.com. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.