Topic Name Description
Course Introduction File Your Guide to College Success
Course Syllabus Page Course Syllabus
1.1: Why It Matters: Motivating Success Page Why It Matters: Motivating Success

Your first year in college is especially important. How will you maximize it for best advantage? Your greatest challenge may be balancing school, your family, and your job.

1.2: Personal Identity Page Personal Identity

The journey of achieving success in college begins with a single step: identifying your personal values. Which are most important to you, and how do they fit into your educational goals?

1.3: Types of Students Page Types of Students

There is no "one-size-fits-all" description of a college student. However, each student bears a responsibility to understand the diverse terrain that includes their peers. Who are the students you share class with? How have they come to share the college experience with you?

1.4: College Overview Page College Overview

If college success is about anything, it’s about the choices you need to make in order to succeed. What do you want to learn? How do you want to learn it? Who do you want to learn it with and where? When do you learn best?

1.5: Defining Success Page Defining Success

A college education is aligned with greater success in many areas of life. Are there patterns of success you strive for but aren’t yet reaching? Where might you shore up your support? What strategies can you use to achieve success in your college endeavors?

1.6: Putting It Together Page Putting It Together: Motivating Success

If the idea of being in college feels daunting, think about the many gains you can experience. College success is an attainable goal. Be encouraged that you are on a path of great potential.

2.1: Why It Matters: Goal Setting and Time Management Page Why It Matters: Goal Setting and Time Management
A structured, conscientious approach to decision-making and goal setting in college can lead to fulfillment and achievement. What are the key recommendations a college counselor might give you for finding your greatest enjoyment in studying?
2.2: Defining Goals Page Defining Goals

There is no doubt that doing well in college is a sizable challenge, especially for first-year students, who run the greatest risk of dropping out. Do you feel confident that you can pursue your goals in a balanced, committed way? What will be your secret of success?

2.3: Your Physical Environment Page Your Physical Environment

If a researcher asked you to identify your favorite place to study, what would you say? Does that environment pose any distractions? How can we become more productive with our time and energy?

2.4: Your Use of Time Page Your Use of Time

To be successful in college, it is imperative to effectively manage your time. How do you currently manage your time? Do you have a good schedule? Do you procrastinate? How can you better prioritize your days?

2.5: Putting It Together Page Putting It Together: Goal Setting and Time Management

The two areas most students struggle with when adjusting to college life are studying and managing time. These issues arise from trying to manage newfound freedoms in college and from misunderstanding expectations of college classes. Still, time can be on your side if you adopt key strategies. What are these strategies?

3.1: Why It Matters: Career Exploration Page Why It Matters: Career Exploration

Your decision to be in college is likely related to a career in one way or another. So how do you move from college to a career? What kind of self-examination may be needed? Will you explore a range of classes and experiences? Finding a good mentor can help.

3.2: The Big Picture Page The Big Picture

Knowing what you truly want to gain from your college experience is the first step toward achieving it. But reaching your goals doesn’t necessarily mean you are college and career ready. Ultimately, college and career readiness means that you have content knowledge and the ability to build upon that knowledge in solving problems.

3.3: Career Paths Page Career Paths

You can chart your professional path and attain ample reward in many ways. Start by comparing and contrasting jobs and careers. Then look at how to match up your personal characteristics with a specific field or fields. Be sure to analyze processes for actually choosing your career. Throughout these steps, find resources for learning more about the expansive topic of planning for employment.

3.4: College Majors Page College Majors

In United States colleges and universities, roughly 2,000 majors are offered. Why is your college major important, how do select your major, and how does your major correlate with a career? To help you navigate your pathway from your college major to career success, take advantage of the many resources available to you.

3.5: Professional Skill Building Page Professional Skill Building

Employers want individuals who have the necessary hard and soft skills to do a job well and to adapt to changes in the workplace. What are examples of hard and soft skills, and which ones are necessary for your career? Which skills might you be able to transfer between one career and another? 

3.6: Career Development Page Career Development

Career development is a lifelong process in which we become aware of, interested in, knowledgeable about, and skilled in a career. Which stage of career development do you feel you are in currently? What challenges are you facing now? Where are you headed? Explore resources for planning your career.

3.7: Networking Page Networking

Networking is the process of building relationships with others for the purpose of mutually achieving professional goals. What are the best ways to exchange information when you network? What resources are available to help? What if English is not your first language? Imagination and creativity may be your best assets when you network.

3.8: Résumés and Cover Letters Page Résumés and Cover Letters

A résumé is a "selfie" for business purposes – a promotion of you as an ideal candidate for any job you may be interested in. What are the elements of a successful résumé? What must you be especially careful about? And how can your cover letter best complement your résumé to help you win a job? Explore some of the many ways you can design and develop both for the greatest impact on your job search.

3.9: Interviewing Page Interviewing

Learn about how to get ready for an interview, what types of interviews you might need to engage in, and what kinds of questions you might be asked.

3.10: Putting It Together: Career Exploration Page Putting It Together: Career Exploration

How are you striving to achieve your career goals? And how will you measure your success along the way? Rather than letting your college degree define who you are, let the knowledge and skills you acquired in college come to the fore and shine brightly.

4.1: Why It Matters: Social Interaction and Diversity Page Why It Matters: Social Interaction and Diversity

Do you feel that your relationships with others are interdependent? Are you comfortable reaching out to a friend, a faculty member, a tutoring center or a counseling center to seek help with something? Interdependence is an important part of life, and cultivating supportive win-win relationships will serve you in college and beyond.

4.2: Socializing Page Socializing

There are many benefits to interacting socially in college, like gaining good friends, joining study groups, reducing stress, sharing interests, and easing loneliness. What are some effective strategies for socializing successfully? How might you optimally deal with social conflict? It’s possible to have a healthy social life that’s balanced with other responsibilities.

4.3: Diversity and Accessibility Page Diversity and Accessibility

For each of us, diversity has unique meaning. What does diversity mean to you? Explore some of the many definitions offered by college students and determine which may be most accurate and thoughtful in your estimation. Even if you feel like an outsider at college, you can grow in understanding the importance of diversity on campus and the value of speaking openly and honestly about connecting with diverse cultures.

4.4: Campus and Student Life Page Campus and Student Life

Your campus may be small or large or anything in between, but you are likely presented with an impressive array of student activities that are available for your enrichment and enjoyment. Your biggest challenge may be deciding how much extra time you have for campus and student life after fulfilling studying. Being involved in the campus community is vital to every student. It’s vital to the college, too.

4.5: Putting It Together: Social Interaction and Diversity Page Putting It Together: Social Interaction and Diversity

Socializing is a big part of college, and it’s an important part of every student’s mental health. Take advantage of the many opportunities to meet new people, make new friends, and enjoy social interaction and diversity in college.  

5.1: Why It Matters: Thinking and Analysis Page Why It Matters: Thinking and Analysis

Thinking and analyzing in the twenty-first century entails questioning the information that's put before us, developing new ways of doing things, thinking on our own, and being adaptable. How have you been exposed to these skills in your schooling? It's important to learn how to think, not just what to think.

5.2: Patterns of Thought Page Patterns of Thought

Thought is the act of thinking that produces ideas, images, sounds, or even emotions within us. What are your personal patterns of thought? How does Bloom’s taxonomy categorize thought? Learn about the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of learning.

5.3: Critical Thinking Skills Page Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is clear, reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It entails asking probing questions like, "How do we know?" and "Is this true in every case or just in this instance?" Are you thinking critically when you are skeptical and when you challenge assumptions? Are you thinking critically when you memorize facts or blindly accept what you hear or read? No matter where you are on the road to being a critical thinker, you can always more fully develop and finely tune your skills.

5.4: Creative Thinking Skills Page Creative Thinking Skills

All humans are innately creative, but what does creativity mean to you? Do you consider it a talent, a gift, or something that can be taught as well as learned? In fact it is a mixture of talent, gift and skill, and it is invaluable to college student success. Creative thinking helps you look at problems, situations and solutions from a fresh perspective.

5.5: Thinking with Technology Page Thinking with Technology

“The number-one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.”

These are the words of Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft Corporation. Learn about many ways in which technology enhances thinking.

5.6: Putting It Together: Thinking and Analysis Page Putting It Together: Thinking and Analysis

Analyzing information and generating solutions on our own can be difficult. But critical and creative thinking skills expand our thinking processes and help us be more successful in educational environments. All endeavors can be enhanced with critical and creative thinking.

6.1: Why It Matters: Learning Styles and Strategies Page Why It Matters: Learning Styles and Strategies

Throughout your college career, you’ll be responsible for learning a wide range of ideas, facts, theories and more, some of which will interest you deeply, but some of which will appeal on only minimal levels. How can you optimize the learning process in order to gain the most from your college experiences? Learn about frameworks for organizing your learning.

6.2: The Learning Process Page The Learning Process

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot,” says Audre Lorde, writer and civil rights activist. Lourde’s quote promotes the idea that all learners have the capability to learn more, learn deeper, and learn faster. But how?

Find out about your preferred styles of learning and how they can be applied in different teaching and learning situations.

6.3: Class Preparation Page Class Preparation

Miguel de Cervantes, the highly-regarded Spanish writer, long ago said, “To be prepared is half the victory.” What did Cervantes mean by this, and how might his words be applied to academic endeavors? Learn multiple strategies you can employ to optimally meet your college responsibilities and commitments.

6.4: Class Attendance Page Class Attendance

Students don’t always want to go to class, but attending class can enhance and enrich learning in manifold ways. Learn about the benefits of attending class, what to do if you miss class, how to actively listen in class, how to effectively participate in class activities, and how to take notes.

6.5: The Role of Memory Page The Role of Memory

Memory is a function that we typically take for granted, but in the college context, memory skills are very important. What strategies are recommended for studying and "knowing what to know"? In what situations do we need short-term rather than long-term memory, and vice versa?

Learn about the role of memory in effectively studying, and strategies for strengthening your memory.

6.6: Active Learning Page Active Learning

Active learning is a method of learning in which you are actively or experientially involved in the learning process. Examples of active learning are class discussions, writing assignments, and student-led teaching. Why is active learning so important to the learning process, perhaps more so than experiences that entail merely listening? Learn strategies for engaging more actively with the content covered in class.

6.7: Putting It Together: Learning Styles and Strategies Page Putting It Together: Learning Styles and Strategies

Learning happens in stages, so it may be unrealistic to think you can know everything all at once. Still, there are strategies to help you learn deeper, faster and more fully. The Learning Styles and Strategies unit explores these strategies in detail.

7.1: Why It Matters: Study Skills Page Why It Matters: Study Skills

Throughout your college career you’ll be responsible for completing many different types of assessments, like quizzes, essays, group projects, tests, exams, and more. In order to prepare well for these activities, it’s important that you study effectively.

Learn how to effectively prepare for various assignments, and how to use the new skills to continually shape your study habits.

7.2: Reading Strategies Page Reading Strategies

Edmund Burke, a political theorist and philosopher in the 1700s, said, “To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” Can you imagine eating without digesting? To fully digest what you read—that is, strengthen your reading comprehension—you can benefit from learning about and applying effective reading strategies and vocabulary-building techniques.

7.3: Writing Strategies Page Writing Strategies

Good writing skills are essential to succeeding in college and the professional world. Learn about the purpose for various college-level writing assignments and how to identify standards for good writing that your instructors might expect. Learn how to proofread, revise, cite sources, use quotes, and summarize.

7.4: Testing Strategies Page Testing Strategies

From early childhood until perhaps advanced years, we engage with tests in countless ways – formally and informally, and often with anticipation and nerves. Take a closer look at common types of tests and exams. What is their purpose? What are some strategies for preventing and controlling anxiety? Gain new skills in preparing for and taking tests and exams.

7.5: Presentation Strategies Page Presentation Strategies

Making effective presentations is a skill you will need to hone as a college student and very likely, too, as a professional. What are the formats of various presentations you might make? How do you prepare well for making a presentation? What are the standards of quality that you might best adhere to? Learn how to prepare for and make an interesting and informative presentation.

7.6: Quantitative Strategies Page Quantitative Strategies

You may think of yourself as a “math person” or perhaps “not a math person.” But regardless of your perception, would you like to feel more at ease when working with quantitative material? Learn about strategies for taking notes and organizing your notes, keeping homework journals, and doing homework.

Gain new stills in studying, taking math exams, and learning from any test-taking errors.

7.7: Putting It Together: Study Skills Page Putting It Together: Study Skills

As you study, pay attention to the skills you’re using and the habits you have. By simply paying attention to how you study, you can often find problematic behaviors, which can help you correct them more easily.

8.1: Why It Matters: Beyond the Classroom Page Why It Matters: Beyond the Classroom

Much learning in college takes place outside of a typical classroom setting. For example, students are generally advised to spend two or three hours outside of class to study and apply the content they learned in class.

Learn about ways you can enhance your learning by talking to your professors, learning deeply, upholding honesty, and learning from mistakes.

8.2: Working with Instructors Page Working with Instructors

Solid student-faculty relationships can provide a foundation for a successful college experience. How do you relate to your instructors? Learn ways in which you can most successfully communicate with your instructors, resolve conflicts, and potentially cultivate rich and rewarding relationships.

8.3: Deep Learning Page Deep Learning

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Learning never exhausts the mind.” Even if a student weary of studying might disagree, the quote still speaks to the inherent ability within each of us to learn more and more, and to learn deeply. What does deep learning entail? Is it the same as cramming?

Examine techniques for learning in multiple settings and for multiple purposes.

8.4: Academic Honesty Page Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is a cardinal principle in any learning pursuit. How do you demonstrate and uphold the highest integrity and honesty in your academic work? Do you engage in any form of academic dishonesty?

Learn the basic precepts of academic honesty and how to avoid plagiarism.

8.5: Evaluating Results Page Evaluating Results

Winston Churchill, the British statesman and army officer, once said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” In terms of college success, Churchill’s sage advice ever stands. You can learn deeply from mistakes, even mistakes on exams. Learn what to do in the event of failure and how to proceed with your studies.

8.6: Putting It Together: Beyond the Classroom Page Putting It Together: Beyond the Classroom

There are many different resources you can use to deepen your learning: peer communities, previous assignments, tests, and perhaps most importantly, instructors. Your instructors want you to succeed. They can be great allies in your learning experience.

9.1: Why It Matters: Health Management Page Why It Matters: Health Management

Your health impacts every aspect your life, so it’s important to ensure that you’re doing all you can to be healthy, especially when you’re in a high-stress situation like college. A good way to embark on the college experience is to conduct an inventory of your current lifestyle.

Assess where you are in managing your health.

9.2: Nutrition Page Nutrition

College offers many temptations for students trying to create or maintain healthy eating habits. What food choices do you make on a regular basis? Learn about the United States Department of Agriculture healthy eating guidelines, and about ways to adopt healthy food attitude.

9.3: Exercise Page Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the most valuable activities you can engage in as a college student for mood and memory enhancement, weight loss, creativity, anxiety reduction and much more. What do you do for physical fitness? Now is the perfect time to make exercise a regular part of your life.

9.4: Sleep Page Sleep

Sleep, like exercise and a healthy diet, is vital to our well-being. But we often allow life’s demands to impinge upon our quality sleep time. New sleep habits can be adopted, though. Find out about the benefits of sleep for both physical and mental health, and learn effective strategies for falling asleep.

9.5: Substance Abuse Page Substance Abuse

Whether used or regularly abused, legal and illegal substances alike can have extremely negative effects on one's life. Do you have a predilection for using substances? Do you smoke? Do you drink? Learn about the body and brain effects of all major substances, including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Find out where to go for help.

9.6: Stress Page Stress

Stress is a natural response of the mind and body to a situation in which you feel threatened or anxious. How do you deal with stress? Find out about the signs and effects of stress and effective ways to manage it.

9.7: Mental Health Page Mental Health

Knowing how to take care of your mental health when you’re in college is just as important as maintaining your physical health. In fact, doctors are finding that positive mental health can actually improve your physical health. Learn about mental health indicators, depression, loneliness, eating disorders, anxiety, and suicidal behavior.

Learn how to get help.

9.8: Sexual Health Page Sexual Health

Love, affection, and sexual intimacy all play a role in healthy relationships and contribute to your sense of well-being. But poor decisions can adversely affect you and your partner, so it’s important to know what you can do to protect yourself and your partner. Learn about pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and the risks of sexual assault.

Learn where to go for help.

9.9: Safety Page Safety

College and university campuses tend to feel special and safe. But any campus is subject to the same influences – indeed, crimes – as the towns and cities around them. So it is important to be aware of your surroundings, the people near you, and the goings-on in your physical spaces and virtual spaces at all times.

Learn about safety consciousness, indicators of school crime, and strategies for staying safe.

9.10: Putting It Together: Health Management Page Putting It Together: Health Management

Physical health may be the basis of all other forms of health. If your body isn’t healthy, then any and all facets of health and wellbeing can be affected. Take the time to think about how you can employ healthy habits in your life. What changes you can make today?

10.1: Why It Matters: Financial Management Page Why It Matters: Financial Management

College life comes with a lot of expenses, like the cost of courses, supplies, and books, as well as costs like rent, food, clothing, transportation, and medical care. Do you experience issues with managing your finances?

Learn how to balance costs and to spend your money well. Learn, too, about financial aid options like scholarships and student loans.

10.2: Finances in College Page Finances in College

Money concerns in college are common and can cause stress and distractions. A solution is to analyze your financial goals and responsibilities and plan ahead for ways to pay for expenses.

"The cost of college should never discourage anyone from going after a valuable degree."
 —Arne Duncan, former United States Secretary of Education

10.3: Working Page Working

Students can take on a range of jobs while in school, depending on the availability of jobs and the student’s experience, talents, and financial needs. If you will work while in college, what kind of job interests you?

Examine the types of jobs college students might have, and consider some pros and cons of working while you’re in college. Many employment resources are available to you both on and off campus.

10.4: Saving Page Saving

Students typically work hard to cover the cost of attending college, but often find that not much is left over for other important things. However, you may be surprised to learn that you can change your spending habits, gain better control over your finances, and wind up with money in the bank.

Learn about common hazards you can avoid, and get tips on saving.

10.5: Budgeting Page Budgeting

Without a personal budget, most people have a hard time gauging how much money they spend and where their money goes. But you can learn how to better manage your money. Pay heed to budget strategies that can make a difference. Be mindful about the pros and cons of budgeting. And be sure to create a personal budget.

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” —Dave Ramsey, financial author

10.6: Credit Page Credit

Owning a credit card may seem out of reach for some college students, especially if you don’t have a job. But a credit card can be an important step in building a credit history. Learn why, and gain insights to some of the rewards and some of the risks.

Learn to use credit responsibly.

10.7: Putting It Together: Financial Management Page Putting It Together: Financial Management

Unit 10 discusses different types of income that students may have, like scholarships, work, loans, and different costs, too, like tuition, class supplies, costs of living. Take a moment to reflect on your own financial situation. Can you think of ways to improve your spending habits? You can learn a lot from what fellow students say about the financial decisions they make.

The goal of financial management is to be able to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the alternatives you will face as a college student so that you can to choose the options that are best for you personally.

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