How College Differs from High School


Personal Freedom in High School Personal Freedom in College

High School is mandatory and free (unless you choose other options). College is voluntary and expensive.

Your time is usually structured by others. You manage your own time.

You need permission to participate in extracurricular activities. You must decide whether to participate in extracurricular activities. (Hint: Choose wisely in the first semester and add later.)

You need money for special purchases or events. You need money to meet basic necessities.

You can count on parents and teachers to remind you of your responsibilities and to guide you in setting priorities. You will be faced with a large number of moral and ethical decisions you have not had to face previously. You must balance your responsibilities and set priorities.

Guiding principle: You will usually be told what your responsibilities are and corrected if your behavior is out of line. Guiding principle: You’re old enough to take responsibility for what you do and don’t do, as well as for the consequences of your actions.
High School Classes College Classes

Each day you proceed from one class directly to another. You often have hours between classes; class times vary throughout the day and evening.

You spend 6 hours each – 30 hours a week – in class. You spend 12 to 16 hours each week in class.

The school year is 36 weeks long; some classes extend over both semesters and some do not. The academic year is divided into two separate 15-week semesters, plus a week after each semester for exams (not including summer school).

Most of your classes are arranged for you. You arrange your own schedule in consultation with your academic adviser. Schedules tend to look lighter than they really are.

Teachers carefully monitor class attendance. Professors may not formally take roll, but they are still likely to know whether or not you attend.

Classes generally have no more than 35 students. Classes may number 100 students or more.

You are provided with textbooks at little or no expense. You need to budget substantial funds for textbooks, which will usually cost more than $300 each semester.

You are not responsible for knowing what it takes to graduate. Graduation requirements are complex and differ for different majors and sometimes different years. You are expected to know those that apply to you.
High School Teachers College Professors

Teachers check your completed homework. Professors may not always check completed homework, but they will assume you can perform the same tasks on tests.

Teachers remind you of your incomplete work. Professors may not remind you of incomplete work.

Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance. Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance.

Teachers are often available for conversation before, during, or after class. Professors expect and want you to attend their scheduled office hours.

Teachers have been trained in teaching methods to assist in imparting knowledge to students. Professors have been trained as experts in their particular areas of research.

Teachers provide you with information you missed when you were absent. Professors expect you to get from classmates any notes from classes you missed.

Teachers present material to help you understand the material in the textbook. Professors may not follow the textbook. Instead, to amplify the text, they may give illustrations, provide background information, or discuss research about the topic you are studying. Or they may expect you to relate the classes to the textbook readings.

Teachers often write information on the board to be copied in your notes. Professors may lecture nonstop, expecting you to identify the important points in your notes. When professors write on the board, it may be to amplify the lecture, not to summarize it. Good notes are a must.

Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates. Professors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded.
Studying in High School Studying in College

You may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation. You may need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class.

You often need to read or hear presentations only once to learn all you need to learn about them. You need to review class notes and text material regularly.

You are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed and often re-taught in class. You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing, which may or may not be directly addressed in class.

Guiding principle: You will usually be told in class what you needed to learn form assigned readings. Guiding principle: It’s up to you to read and understand the assigned material; lectures and assignments proceed from the assumption that you’ve already done so.
Tests in High School Tests in College

Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material. Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material. You, not the professor, need to organize the material to prepare for the test. A particular course may have only 2 or 3 tests in a semester.

Makeup tests are often available. Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them.

Teachers frequently rearrange test to avoid conflict with school events. Professors in different courses usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities.

Teachers frequently conduct review sessions, pointing out the most important concepts. Professors rarely offer review sessions, and when they do, they expect you to be an active participant, one who comes prepared with questions.

Mastery is usually seen as the ability to reproduce what you were taught in the form in which it was presented to you, or to solve the kinds of problems you were shown to solve. Mastery is often seen as the ability to apply what you’ve learned to new situations or to solve new kinds of problems.
Grades in High School Grades in College

Grades are given for most assigned work. Grades may not be provided for all assigned work.

Consistently good homework grades may help raise your overall grade when test grades are low. Grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade.

Extra credit projects are often available to help you raise your grade. Extra credit projects, generally speaking, cannot be used to raise a grade in a college course.

Initial test grades, especially when they are low, may not have an adverse effect on your final grade. Watch out for your first tests. They are usually wake-up calls to let you know what is expected – but they also may account for a substantial part of your course grade. You may be shocked when you get your grades. If you receive notice of low grades (Academic Warning), see your professor.

You may graduate as long as you have passed all required courses with a grade of D or higher. You may graduate only if your average in classes meets the departmental standard – typically a 2.0 or C.

Guiding principle: Effort counts. Courses are usually structured to reward a good-faith effort. Guiding principle: Results count. Though good-faith effort is important in regard to the professor’s willingness to help you achieve good results, it will not substitute for results in the grading process.


Dominion University with funding from the Virginia Department of Education

Revised by the Southern Methodist University with collaboration with colleagues in the Dedman College Advising Center and faculty from the Provost’s Commission on Teaching and Learning and the English Department’s First-YearWriting Program.

Further adaptations made by the Office of Academic Support Programs, Baylor University.



What your mother never told you about college


imgslideshowbanner_0The follow are excerpts for The Tennessean, August 9, 2001  Mary Hance Staff Writer

Going away to college can be an anxious time. And anyone  experiencing it for the first time can always use some friendly advice from people who have survived it.

We’ve put together tips from a variety of ”expert” sources, including area college students who were more than willing to share some of the things they wish someone had told them before they packed up and headed out to life on their own

Gayle Walters, University of North Florida:

  • ”Make sure the instructor knows you are interested in doing good work, not just in good grades. Learning to please your instructor is part of your education and will be useful in learning to please your future boss.
  • ”Sit in the front row, in the middle. This has several benefits, including fewer distractions. You’ll have to get there early the first week or two, but then the seat is yours.
  • ”Get a study buddy and quiz each other. With your text books, read the introduction and check to see if your instructor wrote the book. Don’t be the first to finish a test. Nobody likes the (wise acre). Do your papers well ahead of time and let them have a few days to cool, so you can make last minute changes if you have to.”

Srijaya Reddy of Brentwood, recent Emory University graduate:

  • ”When scheduling classes, pick the professor, not the time of day. The person teaching can make all the difference.
  • ”There’s a lot of cool stuff on campus, but you may have to look for it. Don’t get so caught up in making friends and writing papers that you don’t take time to look around. Join a club affiliated with your major. You’ll meet faculty and make contacts that you will need in the future
  • ”Don’t leave your clothes in the dryer longer than they should be there. Things will get stolen or disappear. The ‘freshman 15′ isn’t just from dorm food. It’s from alcohol and ordering pizza when you’re trashed at 3 a.m.”

Sarah Snyder, junior nursing major at Belmont University:

  • ”Never buy new books. Used books are usually much cheaper and have notes and highlighted passages as helpful hints.” (But be sure to check them thoroughly to be sure there are no missing pages or other problems.)
  • ”Take advantage of free concerts and lectures. After all you are paying for them.
  • ”If you are required to have a freshman meal plan, use it. Looking back, I can’t believe how much money I wasted on buying food when a hot meal was at my fingertips.”

Shelby Lloyd of Goodlettsville, Winthrop University:

  • ”Take advantage of all of the academic resources on campus. In high school, I thought I was a great writer, but reality set in when I received my first F on a paper. After a few trips to the writing center, my grades improved by three letters. I encourage all freshmen to use their writing or math centers before it is too late and to ask upperclassmen for help with classes.”

Jamie Justice of Springfield, University of Tennessee Knoxville:

  • Jamie took eight concrete cinderblocks to UT with her. ”I covered them with some cheap contact paper and I set my bed in my dorm room on top of them. Not only is it cheaper than buying a loft for my bed, but it gave me extra storage space.’

Naoko Fukushima of Murfreesboro, law student:

  • ”Please be cognizant of underage drinking, date rape, drugs, overdose, STDs, etc. Amazingly, these are not other people’s problem any more. Keep this in the back of your mind and take appropriate action as necessary.
  • ”You need to have a goal which you can actually write down on a piece of paper. If you do not have a goal, you may be lost throughout your college years.
  • ”Keep your mind open when you are meeting people. Use this opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and to learn from them.”

Tomarrow Molsberry of Dickson, Austin Peay University:

  • ”Don’t room with your best friend if you want to stay friends with him/her.
  • ”Ask upper classmen for advice on which professors to take. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference it can make if you have a good professor.
  • ”Go to class!”

These tips come from Bed Bath and Beyond:

  •  You can postpone doing laundry ’til you run out of underwear and socks. Bring lots of each.
  • Because you will be living on your bed, your comforter needs to be washable. Check the tag.
  • Put a dry erase message board on your dorm door so others can leave messages for you.
  • Be sure to have an extra set of room and car keys.
  • Make two copies of everything in your wallet. Keep one copy in your dorm room and the other at home.
  • Memorize your social security number. You will need it more times than you can imagine.
  • Rolls of quarters are a college commodity. Also batteries. You can never have enough.
  • Put the school decal on the back window of your parents’ car. They will think of you every time they look in the rear-view mirror

Classroom clues from Been There, Should’ve Done That II

  • Sitting in a classroom is the easiest part of college and it cuts the study time in half. Why make it hard on yourself? Go!
  • You are basically screwed if you miss a math class.

Another place to look is, a college-oriented Web site, where advice includes:

  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers at parties. You never know what’s in them.
  • Get an internship to gain real world experience.

These tips were featured in an article by Jen Miller in The Minaret, a campus newspaper at the University of Tampa.

  • Homesickness is a normal thing and almost everyone around you is feeling crappy, too. If you’re feeling lonely, look on the bright side and realize that you fit in.
  • Be careful about who you date. Remember, you haven’t known these people since kindergarten and, quite frankly, most people on this campus don’t give a damn if someone breaks your heart.
  • Piercings and tattoos may seem cool, but think of what your mom will say. Better yet, think of what your kids will say.
  • Credit cards and check cards can be dangerous.
  • So can fake IDs.
  • The No. 1 one cause of plunging GPAs is putting partying before studying.
  • Don’t be pressured into sex. There’s more respect for virgins out there than you think and many students wish they could still be one.
  • Try to schedule some exercise time. It is a great stress reliever.
  • ï Check the attendance policy before skipping a class.
  • Have your favorite movies with you. They’re great comforters when you’re feeling low.
  • Not everyone will like you.
  • Stick with people who do.
  • You’ll do things in college you never dreamed you would do.
  • Don’t feel pressured to do anything though.
  • Stay away from drinking games.
  • Never go to parties or clubs alone or with someone you barely know.
  • Call your parents at least once a week.
  • Always have a designated driver or enough money for a cab.

Check out This Web site is packed with advice. You’ll find tips on getting organized, on developing good study skills, on finding a good study spot and on figuring out professors. And that’s just for starters. Mary Hance is a staff writer and columnist for The Tennessean.


Going Green with Pets

Going Green with Pets

Going Green with Pets

It’s cool (and easy) to be green, but there are some specific things that pet parents can do to be more eco-friendly with their fur babies. Consider these simple tips and add your own in the comment section below.

  1. Poo Power!  Whether you have cats, dogs, or bunnies – pet waste generates a lot of waste so consider making a little change here that could have a big impact. If you have a dog, use biodegradable poop bags instead of plastic grocery bags. There are 365 days in a year so this can make a huge impact. Leaving waste behind is NOT green as it spreads disease and attracts rats. If you have yard space, you can also look into septic and compost systems for pet waste. For cats and other pets that use litter, use options that contain fewer chemicals and mined materials. Some options are even flushable – which leads to fewer garbage bags.
  2. Green Grooming  Look at the ingredients in your pet shampoos and grooming products and choose environmentally-friendly options. This includes using washable towels instead of disposable wipes. Natural ingredients are also likely to be better for your pets’ skin and decrease allergic reactions.
  3. Go Big!  Buying litter, food, and treats in larger quantity bags is usually a great cost-saver, but it also means less packaging waste. Think about the bags you’ll stop from ending up in a landfill over the course of a year. Get a refillable container with a good seal to keep food from going stale.
  4. Save the Birds!  This tip is mostly for cats, but can also refer to dogs left out in yards unattended. Keep your pets indoors – unless you’re walking them safely on a leash. Need a reason to convince a pet parent not so keen on this responsibility: leash laws are in effect in most cities, loose pets are at such high risk for being hurt in traffic (which can also lead to human injury), and it also keeps beautiful birds and other furry woodland creatures safe. If you don’t care too much about birds, then think about the mites, lice, and diseases that wildlife can carry.
  5. Ingredients Matter!   Whether you’re talking food for Fido or treats for Tabby – read labels and make better decisions for your pets and the environment. Look for products that contain more whole foods and less chemical preservatives and by-products. Go certified organic if you can, to ensure pesticides are staying out of the environment and your loving forever friend. Local options are also better for the environment because less fossil fuels are burned in transportation. Consider the large amount of pet food and treat recalls that have also occurred recently – buying high-quality food and treats can help pets live longer healthier lives.

Meet The Blogger

Tatiana’s Tails

Tatiana grew up with dogs, cats, hamsters, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs, and an iguana… just to name a few pets. She began her professional career with animals in 1995 at Brookfield Zoo. Tatiana has studied wild dolphins in Australia and rescued wildlife in Florida, but she always says that people are truly at the heart of her work. The welfare of people and animals is connected through a shared environment and the same traits of empathy and compassion that make someone a good pet owner also simply make people better neighbors and citizens. If it walks, hops, or slithers, Tatiana cares about it. She currently oversees the Humane Education programs at The Anti-Cruelty Society, hosts “Chicago Tails” on, and is a Guest Blogger for Tails Inc.


Required Technical Competency to Succeed in Online Courses

Although taking online courses does not require a high level of technical competency, familiarizing yourself with using computers and engaging in Web-related activities, as well as having access to the required hardware and tools, are critical factors in successful online learning. You should have some basic knowledge about how to navigate the Internet, how to use search engines, how to use computer operating systems (Windows/Mac OS), how to send and receive e-mails, how to use a word processing program to edit your writing assignments, and how to use course tools such as discussion forums and drop boxes. Familiarizing yourself with those tools will help you reduce your frustration while engaging in online learning activities.

Reference site:


Some Quick Tips To Improve Your Reading Comprehension


  • Read early in the day: This will allow you to concentrate and retain more information than studying later at night when you may be tired.  When tired, your concentration and comprehension will decrease.
  • Read for short burst: Try read for 35 to 40 minutes at a time and then take a short break.  If you have this as your reading goal it can serve as a motivator in trying to really focus on the material at hand.  Try to make these “burst” quality reading time.
  • Find a quiet location: Try to avoid your residence hall room on campus as well as the lounge.  There are too many distractions there that are not conducive for quality reading.
  • Monitor your comprehension: Ask yourself every once in a while, “What have I learned?”  If you are having trouble answering this, then re-read the material, ask a classmate, or ask the professor for some clarification.
  • Annotate!  Be sure to underline, circle or make general notes in the margins.  Create your own guide to distinguish between important terms or information you need to further clarify.
  • Try skimming the chapter first: Take a look at the title page, preface, subtitles, the introduction and the chapter summary before reading the entire chapter.
  • Remember: College Textbooks are designed to help you by proving:
  2. Italicized
  3. Bold Words
  4. List of Main Points
  5. Repetition of information

Student Planning Guides

Step-by-Step: College Awareness and Planning: Early High School PDF file

Getting Ready for The SAT PDF file

SAT Test Study Guide PDF file

The Essential Guide to the SAT – My College Options PDF file

SAT® Preparation Booklet PDF file

Preparing for the ACT PDF file

ACT exam success PDF file

ACT Test Study Guide – Study Guide Zone PDF file

McGraw-Hill’s 10 ACT Practice Tests PDF file PDF file


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Student Computational Knowledge Engine


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How to Manage Your Time as a College Student


  1. A Personal Time Survey.

To begin managing your time you first need a clearer idea of how you now use your time. The Personal Time Survey will help you to estimate how much time you currently spend in typical activities. To get a more accurate estimate, you might keep track of how you spend your time for a week. This will help you get a better idea of how much time you need to prepare for each subject. It will also help you identify your time wasters. But for now complete the Personal Time Survey to get an estimate. The following survey shows the amount of time you spend on various activities. When taking the survey, estimate the amount of time spent on each item. Once you have this amount, multiply it by seven. This will give you the total time spent on the activity in one week. After each item’s weekly time has been calculated, add all these times for the grand total. Subtract this from 168, the total possible hours per week. Here We Go:

  1. Number of hours of sleep each night ________ X 7 = _______
  2. Number of grooming hours per day ________ X 7 = _______
  3. Number of hours for meals/snacks per day – include preparation time ________ X 7 = _______

4a. Total travel time weekdays           ________ X 5= _______

4b. Total travel time weekends           _______

  1. Number of hours per week for regularly scheduled functions (clubs, church, get-togethers, etc.) _______
  2. Number of hours per day for chores, errands, extra grooming, etc. ________ X 7 = _______
  3. Number of hours of work per week _______
  4. Number of hours in class per week _______
  5. Number of average hours per week socializing, dates, etc. Be honest! _______

Now add up the totals:           _______

Subtract the above number from 168             168 – _______ = _______

The remaining hours are the hours you have allowed yourself to study.

  1. Study Hour Formula.

To determine how many hours you need to study each week to get A’s, use the following rule of thumb. Study two hours per hour in class for an easy class, three hours per hour in class for an average class, and four hours per hour in class for a difficult class. For example, basket weaving 101 is a relatively easy 3 hour course. Usually, a person would not do more than 6 hours of work outside of class per week. Advanced calculus is usually considered a difficult course, so it might be best to study the proposed 12 hours a week. If more hours are needed, take away some hours from easier courses, i.e., basket weaving. Figure out the time that you need to study by using the above formula for each of your classes.

Easy class credit hours            ________ x 2 = _______

Average class credit hours      ________ X 3 = _______

Difficult class credit hours      ________ X 4 = _______

Total    _______

Compare this number to your time left from the survey. Now is the time when many students might find themselves a bit stressed. Just a note to ease your anxieties. It is not only the quantity of study time but also it’s quality. This formula is a general guideline. Try it for a week, and make adjustments as needed.

  1. Daily Schedules

There are a variety of time schedules that can fit your personality. These include engagement books, a piece of poster board tacked to a wall, or 3 x 5 cards.

Once you decide upon the style, the next step is construction. It is best to allow spaces for each hour, half-hours for a busy schedule. First, put down all of the necessities; classes, work, meals, etc. Now block in your study time (remember the study time formula presented earlier). Schedule it for a time when you are energized. Also, it’s best to review class notes soon after class. Make sure to schedule in study breaks, about 10 minutes each hour. Be realistic on how many courses to take. To succeed in your courses you need to have the time to study. If you find you don’t have time to study and you’re not socializing to an extreme, you might want to consider lightening your load. Tips for Saving Time Now that you know how you spend most of your time, take a look at it. Think about what your most important things are. Do you have enough time? Chances are that you do not. Below are some tips on how to schedule and budget your time when it seems you just don’t have enough.

  1. Don’t be a perfectionist

Trying to be a perfect person sets you up for defeat. Nobody can be perfect. Difficult tasks usually result in avoidance and procrastination. You need to set achievable goals, but they should also be challenging. There will always be people both weaker and stronger than you.

  1. Learn to say no

For example, an acquaintance of yours would like you to see a movie with him tonight. You made social plans for tomorrow with your friends and tonight you were going to study and do laundry. You really are not interested. You want to say no, but you hate turning people down. Politely saying no should become a habit. Saying no frees up time for the things that are most important.

  1. Learn to Prioritize

Prioritizing your responsibilities and engagements is very important. Some people do not know how to prioritize and become procrastinators. A “to do list” places items in order of importance. One method is the ABC list. This list is divided into three sections; a, b, or c. The items placed in the A section are those needed to be done that day. The items placed in the B section need completion within the week. The C section items are those things that need to be done within the month. As the B, C items become more pertinent they are bumped up to the A or B list. Try it or come up with your own method, but do it.

  1. Combine several activities

Another suggestion is to combine several activities into one time spot. While commuting to school, listen to taped notes. This allows up to an hour or two a day of good study review. While showering make a mental list of the things that need to be done. When you watch a sit-com, laugh as you pay your bills. These are just suggestions of what you can do to combine your time, but there are many others, above all be creative, and let it work for you.

  1. Learn to say no

For example, an acquaintance of yours would like you to see a movie with him tonight. You made social plans for tomorrow with your friends and tonight you were going to study and do laundry. You really are not interested. You want to say no, but you hate turning people down. Politely saying no should become a habit. Saying no frees up time for the things that are most important.

  1. Conclusion

After scheduling becomes a habit, then you can adjust it. It’s better to be precise at first. It is easier to find something to do with extra time then to find extra time to do something. Most importantly, make it work for you. A time schedule that is not personalized and honest is not a time schedule at all.


The Keys to Life-long Self-development

People define success differently. For some, success means having achieved financial security or career pinnacles. Some people judge their success by the positive impact they have made on others whether these are clients, students, associates, or family. Other successful people have acquired a level of expertise that is recognized and respected by peers. But despite these differing definitions of what constitutes success, successful people themselves have similar characteristics.

  • First, they are self-confident without being arrogant. This comes from being self-aware: knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses, knowing one’s goals and remaining true to one’s value and capabilities.
  • Second, they are willing to grow by challenging their limits of knowledge and experience.
  • And third, they are willing to reflect and learn from experience.

In contemporary times, groundbreaking research by the Center for Creative Leadership in the late 1980s found that successful executives were those who had benefited from the “lessons of experience.”So from these common traits of successful people, those striving for success can seek to practice three fundamental steps to self-development.

Self-development Step: Know Thyself
This is the most basic tenet of psychology, self-improvement, and emotional intelligence. If you think you need to get to know yourself better, try these basics.

  • Solicit Feedback Regularly: Perception is reality. Seek to understand how people perceive you. You may not be achieving the impact you expected in leading or working with others. You can not adjust your approach without the benefit of feedback that can inform you in terms of how your intentions were received by others. Be proactive in finding out what people think about you and your style of interacting and your approach. Be open to and appreciative of the feedback you receive, not defensive. Seek to understand rather than to be understood.
  • Reflect on Performance: Some successful people are gregarious and extroverted while others are reserved and introverted. But all successful people know how to spend time alone being reflective and thoughtful about recent performance and behavior. Take time every day to reflect on the day’s work and interactions.

Always take ample time at the conclusion of major elements of work to reflect on the quality of what you produced and the effectiveness of your work with others. The key to reflecting on performance is remaining balanced in your self-assessment. Be self-critical: understand what you could have done better and learn from these mistakes. But also acknowledge success whenever warranted: celebrate and take pride in what you have done well.

  • Know your Strengths and Weaknesses: As you collect feedback and reflections, come to understand your personal strengths and weaknesses. Know that everyone has both. Successful people build success from their strengths while they limit the negative impact of their weaknesses. The reason to identify your key strengths and weaknesses is not so that you can improve your weaknesses. It is much more important to identify your key strengths and leverage these.

The management guru, Peter Drucker, in his classic article, “Managing Oneself” , states: “One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to improve from in-competence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence. And yet most people . . . concentrate on making incompetent performers into mediocre ones. Energy, resources, and time should go instead to making a competent person into a star performer.”

  • Know Your Joys and Passions: Be in tune to your emotions as you engage in your work. We all need to do elements of work that are tedious or displeasing, but the bulk of how you spend your day should satisfy you and make you feel good about your contributions and the impact of your efforts. Success is difficult to achieve without that level of satisfaction. Know that people who excel enjoy what they do and do what they enjoy.

10 Tips for College Students

142776991750410 Tips for College Students Looking for a Job in a Tough Market

Many students are worried about how they’ll finish college, and some students are even more worried about how they’ll find a job after college—especially given the current employment situation for recent college graduates. We’ve invited visiting professor Susan Schell to offer her very best tips on how to approach the current job market. She should know: In addition to having worked at a major law firm in the tobacco wars of the 1990s and as a lawyer for Wal-Mart, she taught organizational communication at Purdue and currently directs career services at the University of Arkansas Law School. Here’s her advice:

When you are actually looking for a job, it is always a “bad” market. Today’s market just happens to be a little more so, especially if you happen to be an autoworker or a “big law” associate. But while many people lost their positions during the “Great Recession,” others have found interesting and rewarding jobs. There is no magic formula for finding a job, but there are ways to take control of the process and enhance your odds of finding a job. Here are 10 tips for finding a job in an economic wasteland.

1. Know what it takes. Different fields have different application requirements, and you need to know what those are for the field you are interested in. Do you need a résumé, a cover letter, a writing sample, a portfolio, etc.? You also need to know what these materials look like in your field and which skills and experiences you need to emphasize. A legal résumé is different, both in form and content, from a management résumé, which is different from a marketing résumé. Don’t have a clue? Try to arrange an informational interview with a professional in the field to which you aspire to learn what it takes.

2. Perfect your application materials. Always have your application materials reviewed by someone who is a better editor than you are. After polishing and massaging your résumé 100 times, you are probably too close to see the nits that need to be picked. Have your materials reviewed again whenever you make revisions or add updates. Don’t know any good editors? If you are in school, try your career services office.

3. Activate your network. Tell everyone you know what type of job you are looking for. There is no sin in looking for employment, so you need to get everyone in your network working for you. While your hair stylist is not a lawyer or a management consultant, he or she may know one. Follow up every lead you are given; you never know who knows the person who can get you the job you want.

4-Star Tip. If you have a professor who has worked in industry or does extra work in the field you’re considering, make sure to invite him or her to use their contacts on your behalf. Often, even an informal recommendation from a professor can open doors.

Extra-Pointer. If a parent, family friend, older brother or sister, or employer of yours works in the field you want to go into, enlist their help, too. You never know who has the contacts that count.

4. Join a professional organization. Most occupations, from restaurant professionals to engineers, have professional associations. Join one. (Many have student rates.) Attend meetings, go to seminars, and read the materials. Like an anthropologist, learn the language and customs of your field, the issues of the day, and identify the key players, so that when you land an interview, you will “speak the language” like a native.

5. Be patient and persistent. Set aside time every week to check for job postings, to do research on employers in your field, and to send out a manageable number of applications. It is probably not realistic to try to send out 20, letter-perfect, individually tailored applications in a weekend, so pace yourself. It is better to send five high-quality applications than 20 generic ones. Treat the job search as a marathon rather than a sprint. When you work on the job search regularly, rather than in fits and starts, it is easier to stay focused and to control the stress that inevitably accompanies the job search.

5-Star Tip. MyColLife Career Tab will help you in your job search. They provide job search tips, career research information, company profiles, and many other features.

6. Don’t treat an interview as an interrogation. If you are fortunate enough to land an interview, treat it as an opportunity to establish a professional relationship with the interviewer. Know the employer, and be prepared to ask intelligent questions. Engage with the interviewer, and do not be shy in letting the interviewer know how much you know about the employer and how much you want to work there. Be enthusiastic, not desperate.

Extra-Pointer. It’s always a good idea to do a little Web research before the interview on the company—and, when possible, on the individuals—that will be interviewing you. You’ll make a much better impression when you know what the company is doing and how you might fit in.

7. Practice out loud. Try to anticipate the types of questions you will be asked, and practice your responses. If you lack experience or feel uncomfortable in interviews, find someone to do a mock interview with. Like any other skills, communication skills get better with practice. And though you may think you have a perfect answer in your head, you won’t know it until you actually articulate it. In an interview, there is the answer you plan to give, the one you do give, and the one you wished you’d given. With practice, those three answers come together.

8. Be “on” from the start. In this age of security cameras, you may be recorded from the moment you hit the employer’s parking lot. Act as if the employer is watching you from the outset. Dress the part. Be friendly and respectful to everyone you meet. Stay focused. Even if you are left cooling your heels in the reception area, do not be tempted to check your phone. If you cannot resist the temptation, leave your phone in the car.

9. Make that first impression count. With everyone you meet at the employer, but especially with the interviewer, you want to make your first impression count. Stand up straight. Look the interviewer in the eye. Smile, and extend your hand for a firm, but not knuckle-crushing, handshake. (Again, these introductory behaviors can be practiced with your friends and family to polish your behavior and enhance your confidence.)

10. Be positive. Stay upbeat throughout the interview. Smile—it will register in your voice. Do not let the interviewer’s facial expressions or tone of voice throw you off your game. Do not assume that a particular answer is “wrong” or that you have “blown it.” Stay confident. If asked about a perceived negative, do not make excuses or provide elaborate explanations. Give it one sentence, and move on. Remember that there is no “perfect” candidate; just be the best you can be.

© Copyright 2010 Professors’ Guide LLC. All rights reserved

Career Redundancy

Redundancy isn’t usually welcome, but it is something that happens to many of us during our working lives. However, it is not necessarily a negative situation to be in; many people have used it as an opportunity for positive change in their lives and careers. What is important is how you react to a situation which is not of your making.

Redundancies can be caused by any number of situations: falling profits, lack of trade or orders, increased competition, advances in technology, changes in legislation, even poor management are just a few of the many causes.

Remember, though, employers and companies don’t like making anyone redundant. It could mean that they, too, will become redundant.

Employees, however, have varying degrees of protection to help them overcome being made redundant. If you had resigned or given notice, that protection would not necessarily have been there.

This page will provide you with guidance in dealing with your situation.

Do’s and don’ts

Being made redundant can be a shock but try not to rush into any hasty decisions. These pointers can help you get into the right frame of mind to deal with things:

  • keep calm
  • stay positive, see redundancy as an opportunity for change
  • focus on moving on, rather than looking back
  • take stock of your situation and look at your options
  • get advice from professional advisers
  • talk to your friends and family.
  • take it personally – in reality, the job has been made redundant, not you
  • get too down about yourself – most people face redundancy sometime
  • panic, don’t make rash decisions
  • feel negatively about the company that made you redundant.

One thing is certain: it’s a time of change. Many of us find change a bit unsettling, but remember that it can also be for the better.

Practical things you must do straightaway

Important information on what to do if you are made redundant.

Before you leave your employer:

  • pick up your P45
  • get written details of your redundancy payment and package.

Make a note of the contact details of your:

  • line manager
  • trade union representative
  • human resources department
  • pension fund trustees.

If your employer offered any benefits such as health insurance, note the contact details of these too.

What extra benefits might my employer offer me?

Your employer might provide free careers guidance to help you decide on your next move. Some will offer money for training. Remember to ask.

Whatever they offer, make the most of it.

How do I find out what I’m entitled to?

Redundancy issues are complex. You should get help from a professional adviser who can explain your rights and look at your financial options.

You can get advice on redundancy issues from:

  • your trade union
  • professional bodies and associations
  • your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau
  • independent financial advisers
  • employment law experts.

What if I feel upset about losing my job?

It’s only natural to feel upset. It can be a stressful time but there are people who can help you cope. Remember that you can speak to a counselor, who can help you make sense of what you’re feeling, put things into perspective and support you in moving on.

Check with your employer, too, to see if they are part of the Employee Assistance Program  that provides free practical and emotional help to workers and their families who are going through difficult times.

What do I do next?

Don’t rush your decision – although you might have concerns about money, a quick fix might not be the best way forward in the long term. Weigh up all your options carefully – this way you’ll make the best decision.

You can find information on this site that can really help you to make more informed decisions about your future. Find courses that improve your skills, find information on hundreds of different types of job and advice on how best to get back into employment.

Reference: National Career Service