Tips from a Real Student
By Samantha Hill, Rio Salado College student and peer mentor
While every student is unique, there are common challenges many new students face. Samantha Hill understands that from the perspective of a student and peer mentor serving Rio Salado’s academic advisement team.
Hill helps new students get started on their educational pathways, find resources, stay on track and succeed.
Here are Hill’s top ten success strategies for online students.
1. Set Goals
Goal-setting is a powerful process that can turn your vision of your future into a reality. Start by creating a “big picture” of where you see yourself in the future. Then, break that down into small, manageable steps and create a plan to hit those goals.
2. Manage Your Time
Build a realistic schedule or time budget that allows you to reach your goals. Review how you spend your time now and what you will have to do to make your education a priority.
3. Live Smart
Make a to-do list and stick with it. Prioritize items from high to low importance. Break major projects into small pieces and tackle them one at a time.
4. Ask for Help
It can be hard sometimes to ask for help, but if you sit back in silence you are only hurting yourself. Instructors are there to help and want to help you. Take the time to get to know your instructor and be active in your learning.
5. Take Notes
Take notes about what you are reading and review them often. It might take some time to know what information is important and what is not. Does your instructor repeat certain facts many times? Most likely that’s something you will need to remember. Summarize important concepts in a way that makes sense to you, and if you don’t understand, ask!
6. Don’t Cram
Preparation begins with day one. Begin reviewing information daily and review old tests if available. Making flash cards is a great way to review for test ahead of time. Be sure to get enough rest before you take the exam.
7. Have a Computer Backup Plan
Prepare for the unexpected! Don’t let the first time your computer crashes leave you panicked. Ask a family member or friend to borrow their computer in a pinch. If Internet connection is the issue, several fast food restaurants and coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi access.
8. Attend Orientation
Online orientation and training sessions give you the chance to become familiar with the college and available resources. You can explore different programs, classes, and ways to get involved in student life. These courses give you the foundation to become a successful student.
9. Know your Advisor
Advisors know exactly what you need to graduate. They are a great source for information about your chosen major and university requirements. Advisors can help you set up an academic plan to keep you on track and avoid unnecessary courses.
10. Take a College Success Course
Rio Salado College has four college and career success courses to help students develop study plans, set personal and academic goals and improve job search skills.
Samantha Hill is one of four peer mentors hired last year as part of a grant funded initiative called RioAchieve, which is dedicated to increasing student completion rates.