Saturday, March 16, 2013

Strategic Planning Promotes College Success

A balanced schedule can have a huge impact on the college experience. Planning ahead can help students avoid feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Members of the advisement staff at Rio Salado College offer the following tips. 

Use the online planning tool. 
Academic Advisor Charles Colbert discusses options
 with Rio Salado College student Kasey Wemyss.
Taking a little time to review the student’s requirements upfront can help lay out a workable school schedule semester by semester. With the help of an advisor, students can figure out how to balance their courses with their time each semester so the workload is not unmanageable. RSC students have access to an online planning tool that can help with this step.

--Director of Advisement Services David Hall

Take ENG101 First Year Composition and CPD150 Strategies for College Success in the first semester.
CPD150 is especially important for students who haven’t yet declared a major. It can help them explore career paths, develop study skills and really take ownership of their education. And of course, ENG101 is crucial for all students. It teaches the research and writing skills necessary for taking all other college level courses.

-- Student Services Specialist Roxie Holmes 

Customize the experience. 
Explore core and elective options thoroughly to find classes that meet program requirements and engage the student’s interests. A class like ASB222 Buried Cities and Lost Tribes of the Old World can not only satisfy several degree requirements, but the subject matter is fascinating.

– Advisement Initiatives Liaison Michael Murphy 

Call or see an advisor early on.
It’s good for students to understand the degree program they are pursuing and have a clear understanding of the different educational designations. Talking to an advisor can also help students determine if their prior education will apply and ensure the transferability of the classes they wish to take.

–Academic Advisor Kirsten Joan

Find Balance.
Some classes will be harder than others based on the individual strengths and interests of each student. Pairing a fun elective with a difficult or less than interesting program requirement will provide balance and prevent students from losing focus or feeling stressed out.

– Academic Advisor Mike Ross 

Include a variety of topics each semester.
I advise students to vary the subject matter each semester. For example, I would advise against taking reading, English and humanities in the same semester due to the substantial amount of reading and writing that is likely to be involved in each area.

-- Academic Advisor Kimberley Wagner-Hemmes 

Don’t be afraid of English and reading classes.
The online learning environment is primarily reading-based. Students who struggle with reading synthesis and speed, will also struggle with online classes. Writing is also critical for online students who must convey their thoughts and express ideas in an organized and concise manner. Taking the necessary reading and English classes up front will have an impact on every other class the student takes.

-- Academic Advisor Theodore Bland 

Take advantage of all available resources. 
Every student will encounter obstacles while in college. Utilizing student services such as academic advising, tutoring, helpdesks, counseling, and financial aid can really help students persist and overcome those obstacles.

– Academic Advisor Elena Matus McDonald