Benefits of Trade School

We have touched on alternatives to traditional colleges before, and it is definitely worth another look. If you were raised like I was, your parents only advocated for college. Trade school was never a thought in their mind, and mine because of it. However, if you have struggled with traditional academic programs, you should think about trade school.

Benefits of Trade School

They teach you a trade. Instead of focusing on a broad range of academics, with a focus in one area, trade schools teach you one specific trade. Examples include accounting, cooking, dental assistance, medical billing, paralegal, HVAC, etc. Once you graduate from a radiology program, for example, you will be able to enter the workforce as a radiologist. If your trade needs a certification, the schools will arrange and prepare you for the test.

Trade school programs often have smaller classrooms, which gives you more one-on-one time with the professor. Your peers are also taking the same classes so you can easily form study groups. This can also help you build meaningful contacts to help your career.

Studies have also shown that employers show a preference for students with tech school diplomas because they already have the know-how and hands-on learning.

The best benefit of all, it’s quicker and cheaper. Graduating from college takes 4 years, on average, while trade school is much quicker. Some programs are only 6-10 weeks and some take 2-3 years. Either way, your overall expenses, including tuition and fees is much less than they would be if you went to a four year university.

Find Cheap Textbooks

College students are often broke, which is why it’s ironic that textbooks are so expensive. Between your crappy job, financial aid and maybe your parents, you may not be able to afford all your books. Fortunately for you the internet has made it so much easier to find cheap textbooks.

Years before, students have to pay for everything when they purchase their books from shipping to handling and this will make it even more expensive. However today, you can find several places where you can buy textbooks online at a cheaper price. You can even rent the books at your convenience.

Years ago, choices were limited. You could buy from your campus bookstore and maybe from another bookstore in town. Used books were from other students and you were relegated to looking on bulleting boards for ads. Now, it’s just a quick search.

First you should always check your official bookstore. If your school gives you a textbook list online, that’s even better. But it’s always best to check with the bookstore and get the book title, author, edition, ISBN, description of the front cover and price. Take a photo with your phone if you want.

Then take that information and start your search. Campus Books is the best place to start looking for cheap textbooks. You can search by title, author, ISBN or keyword and narrow it to purchase or rental or compare them. They even include e-books, which are gaining in popularity because they are much cheaper than most new books.

The key to textbook shopping is to compare prices. If your bookstore only charges $10 more and you need it that day, spend the extra money. If not, wait a few days. Make sure to take shipping and taxes into consideration – online purchases often mean no tax and you can usually find coupons for free shipping.

There is a Campus Books textbook search in the sidebar of this blog.

How to Survive a Pop Quiz

Some professors like to torment their students with surprise quizzes and in-class assignments to see if they’re paying attention and keeping up with homework. If you haven’t been paying attention and you aren’t a good test taker, you may fail the assignment. Here are some tips to give you a chance at passing a test you’re not prepared for.

Multiple Choice

  • If two answers are extremely similar, it’s usually one of these two
  • Correct answers will almost never spelling or grammatical errors
  • For numbers, you’re safest choosing a number in the middle
  • Watch out for absolute answers, such as “always” and “never”
  • More often than not, “all of the above” or “none of the above” is correct

True or False

Some professors like hiding trick questions in true or false exams, so be extra careful when reading the questions. You only have two choices, which mean that you have 50% chance of getting the correct answer.

  • Lookout for small contradictions or inaccuracies. If one detail is false, the question is false.
  • Take note of qualifiers in the sentence like most, all, sometimes, never or rarely. They sometimes drive the question false depending on the question presented.
  • Watch out for absolutes – things usually aren’t “always” or “never” (see how I always use most of the time)

How do you handle a surprise exam that you have never prepared for?

Contest: America’s Smartest Slacker

CourseSmart and CollegeHumor are holding a contest to find “America’s Smartest Slacker.”

From their website: “That’s why we want to hear the story of the smartest, cleverest, most creative academic shortcut you’ve ever taken. You can submit your story below – the winner gets $1,000 CASH. They will also snag a year’s supply of free eTextbooks from CourseSmart, AND will have their story turned into an animated video on CollegeHumor! Enter now!”

To enter, you must be a college student enrolled in an accredited university in the United States 18 years or older. Submissions are accepted now through Monday, February 7th.

Click here to enter for your chance to win $1,000!

I just registered for college…now what?

College is the turning point in the life of most students. But, achieving academic success in college is also a struggle for most. How do other students manage to achieve their goals?

Selecting the Best Place to Study

The most convenient way to study is the dorm room if you are living in one but it is usually a very poor place to learn anything. It is a haven of temptations and distractions from television to friends going about the hall to your bed. Studying in your dorm room is bad enough and lying down on your bed while studying is even worst. Before long, you will realize it’s already morning and you still have not gone further than page 1 paragraph 1 of the book you were holding.

Therefore, the first thing that you need to do is to find yourself a study place. It should be a place that will promote learning, productivity, efficiency and concentration. It should be the place where you spend your time working on your academics.

You can try to experiment on what works for you. Make a set of criteria like the level of noise, availability, cleanliness and accessibility.

Developing Study Skills

Once you have found the perfect place to study, you need to get started on developing your study skills.

  • Break subject matters into manageable chunks
  • Use your free time during daytime to study
  • Spend more time on difficult classes
  • Review notes, ask questions and discuss things with peers

All of these are the basic skills you need to work on. You will achieve academic success in no time if you follow them religiously.

Tips to improve your study habits

If you polled 1000 college students asking their reasons for studying, none of them would say because it’s fun. Studying is one of those things like cleaning the gutters; you do it because you benefit even though you’d rather be doing anything else. Here are some ways to improve your study skills.

Mnemonics
When studying, the easiest way that you can hurdle formulas, definitions and other concepts that need to be memorized is through mnemonics. It is the most common study skill among college students.

Outline
It is stressful to read out one whole chapter from a book. Making an outline of what you are supposed to study will help you study quickly. The main advantage of reading and writing is you will memorize the key concepts quicker.

Exercises
There are test exercises or mock quiz from books or better yet you could make one for yourself. The idea here is so that you can gauge how much you have already studied.

Breaks
Some people say too much and too little of something is bad. This is the importance of taking breaks in order to allow your body to recuperate and your brain to digest the information you have studied. Have you heard of saturation? This happens when no matter how hard you try to retain the information you are studying you can’t. You need to take a short break in between study period to allow memory retention.

Improving your time management skills

The most common problem among college students when it comes to studying is time management. Instead of leaving studying for the last minute and cramming for exams, if you set out time goals and develop management skills, your life and academic career will be much easier.

Steps to improving your time management

  1. Make an outline of how you make use of your time. This will help you recognize the pattern such as time spent in activities not related to school and the time spent on your normal activities.
  2. When you have accurately recognized the pattern of how you are spending your time, it is time to find out how many hours you need to study weekly. Take into consideration how many classes you are attending, class difficulty and how many hours the classes usually take. Basically, you need to spend more time on difficult classes followed by the moderately difficult and lastly the easy classes.
  3. Make a time table. It should fit the kind of personality you have. You need the time of your classes, work (if you have), time for meal and meal preparation, etc. Create your schedule based on what works for you.
  4. Prioritize. Socializing is important, but studying is even more important. If you turn down 1 in 5 social activities, you can use the gained time to drastically improve your academic skills. Remember college is only supposed to be four years so if you get through it quicker you have more time for life.
  5. Relax. Placing too much stress on yourself sets you up for failure in dealing with difficult tasks. Nobody said achieving goals is easy.

It can be quite challenging to gain skills in time management but if you hang in there you will definitely achieve it. If other students have done it, so can you.

Find the right online school

For those interested in pursuing online education instead of traditional degrees, it’s hard to know where to start. Online schools can be a scam and a waste of time. How are you to figure out which ones are the best? Of course, there is a website to help you out. An Online Degree By Distance Learning will help you find the perfect online school. By inputting your choices, this website will help you find the best school to pursue your online degree.

The best way to find a good school that will actually teach you the things you need instead of giving you a piece of paper for money is to ensure your school is an accredited university. Meeting with (either by phone or in person) an admissions counselor will also help build your confidence in the school. You can also try talking to other students through message boards to see if they enjoyed getting their degree and would recommend the university.

This website doesn’t just show you online schools like University of Phoenix. It also includes traditional campuses that offer distance learning programs. There is also other information for those interested in going back to school after working. There are helpful articles and links to other resources. As a bonus, there are articles about telecommuting jobs, which is something that I have. Working from home doing customer service is a great, flexible job for any student.

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