Showing posts with label EarlyCollege. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EarlyCollege. Show all posts

Friday, January 29, 2016

Student Success Tip: Plan Ahead!

image of Rio Wave Mascot embedded into a Semester Planning chart.  Text available in blog.

What do successful students do? They plan ahead!

Create a semester calendar
Keep a record of when your exams, quizzes, papers, and finals are due.

Plan for study time
1 hour of class time = 2 hours of study time.

Prioritize your time
Don't overextend yourself, it's OK to say no sometimes.

Stay informed
Ask questions and check for student news by way of your student center at, your student email and our social media channels.

Need help?
Call on Rio Salado's Counseling & Career Services team. A counselor can assist you with personal and educational goals. When should you call? When you need help with issues such as a lack of motivation, relationship issues, study skills, test anxiety, time management, stress, goal setting, and access to community resources such as alcohol and drug abuse prevention resources.

Friday, January 15, 2016

RSVP Now for Feb. 23, 2016 College Info Night!

Image of young people gathered around a table.  Text: Free College Info Night.  Learn what the Maricopa Community Colleges can do for you.  Date: Feb. 23, 2016.  Time: Info sessions at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m.  Where: Communiversity at Surprise: 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza Surprise, AZ, 85374

Register now for Rio Salado's College Information Night at the Communiversity at Surprise, February 23, 2016! 

downloadable flier.  Header includes Images of students sitting around chatting. Text for event details in blog.This event is ideal for teens transitioning from high school and working adults who are interested in going back to school!

Representatives from Academic Advising, Admissions and Records, Financial Aid and other departments will be present to provide information about getting started, how to choose a major, how to secure funding... and how to succeed in college.

image of a Fry's employee at one of the stores, smiling at camera
Representatives from Fry's Food Stores will also be on hand for students interested in pursuing Rio Salado’s online Retail Management Certificate program. Fry’s is hiring and will pay for students to earn their certificate through Rio!

Let us know you're coming so we can arrange for your information kits and refreshments.  Submit your RSVP now online:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Effective Studying & Note Taking Tips

Image of an A+ circled

Some students seem to achieve A’s in classes easier than others. What’s the secret? More than likely effective studying and note taking techniques

Here are some tips from Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardott to help you make the most of your study time, course materials and note taking-- so you can retain the information you’ll need to ace your exams.

Active Reading
This is a great technique to help you memorize information and to make the most of your note taking. Active reading is when you process and output the information as you read it. Passive reading is how you normally read; trying to learn the information just how it’s written.  Active reading techniques include:

  • Highlighting important text.
  • Writing down thoughts next to passages read.
  • Asking questions about the material.

Here are some commonly asked questions about reading and note taking:

What should you read?
  • Review your syllabus and concentrate on the assigned materials.
  • Before diving into the materials, get an overview by reading summaries and conclusions for a big-picture view.
  • Test your understanding as you go along. Many textbooks include questions for this purpose.

What notes should you take, based on your reading?
  • Focus on the big ideas, relevant details and pay special attention to the introduction and conclusion.
  • Look for visual cues. If text is highlighted or in bold, it’s likely to be important.
  • Take note of information that’s repeated and reinforced.

I realize some topics are easier to get than others. How in-depth you go with textbook note-taking will be based on your level of knowledge on the subject and how hard it is for you.

Here are some additional tips to follow:

1. Read the chapter before the lesson.
2. Divide the chapter into readable chunks.
3. Schedule your note-taking sessions on your “to do” list.
4. Don’t do it all at one time. It’s good to space your reading out so it is stored in your long-term memory.
5. Go over the material and review what you’ve read right away.

We hope you find these tips helpful!

Study hard and take those notes! 

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardott on behalf of Rio Salado Counseling, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Constitution Week Reflections

AACE students and staff standing in front of AZ Capitol

Rio Salado is proud to take part in Constitution Week and to encourage civic engagement among students. We end Constitution Week with a look back at a special moment for a group of Rio Salado students and staff who took part in a guided tour of the Arizona Capitol last spring.

The students were part of Rio Salado’s Adults Achieving a College Education (AACE) program, which is designed to help students prepare for the GED® test while transitioning into college life, by taking college-level coursework and preparatory classes that help them acquire valuable skills they can use in the workplace and in school.

The group of 24 AACE students and Rio Salado employees scheduled the tour to get a first-hand view of government in action. What they didn’t expect was a standing ovation from the House of Representatives!

“This was a very informative and an empowering experience,” said Director of Rio Salado's AACE and College Bridge Pathways Workplace Education program Kate Packer, who arranged for the tour of the Arizona Capitol museum and Legislature.

 “The tour was intended to give students a glimpse into our state’s rich history and how government works at the local level,” said Packer. “It truly became so much more for us, when we became a topic of discussion for the House of Representatives.”

image of students touring the museum

Arizona State Representative Mark Cardenas led the discussion, acknowledging the group and providing a brief about Rio Salado’s AACE program, which prompted other members of the house to greet the group with applause and a standing ovation.
“I can’t begin to tell you what this meant for the students, and for me,” said Packer. “Many of the students are the first generation in their families to attend college and had to go through a lot of effort to get to this point, so to have that acknowledged by the Legislature gave all of us a deep sense of accomplishment and a renewed sense of purpose.”
Representative Cardenas also took the time to meet with students and take part in group photos.

“We make it a point to encourage civic participation among AACE students and this is just one way to help students become inspired,” said Packer.

Rio Salado AACE is a scholarship-based college and career preparation program for adults 16-years-of-age or older, who are ready to commit to completing a degree, certificate or workforce training program. To learn more visit this web page.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Be a Leader College Fair Sept. 27

Banner for event.  Full text provided in narrative.

The 7th Annual Be A Leader Taking Steps Towards College Success resource fair and walk-a-thon takes place Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in downtown Phoenix.

The event kicks off with a college resource fair at 9 a.m. at Civic Space Park. The walk-a-thon begins at 11 a.m. The event concludes with a college fair from 12-3 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center.

This family-friendly event is perfect for teens who want to explore a variety of college career options-- and educational advocates who want to support a good cause.

Check out this YouTube video from last year's event.

The event is sponsored by the Be a Leader Foundation which promotes personal development and higher education opportunities for students in grades 7-12.

Rio Salado College is a proud supporter of this initiative.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Student Sucess Tip: Build Relationships!

Image of a student looking at camera, holding books.  Sign in back reads: Tips to a successful start...

Looking for student success tips and advice? Look no further.

Rio Salado College and the Maricopa Community Colleges have compiled a list of common things successful students do-- to help you succeed!

Today's tip: build relationships! 

Poster for tip: Build Relationships.  1. Get to know your professors.  2. Connect with peers in your classes.

Don't forget about connecting with your advisor!

Engage in the dialogue by sharing your ‪#‎tips‬ ‪#‎successfulstudent‬ ‪#‎iwillgraduate‬

Friday, August 28, 2015

Brookings Now Tips on Applying to College

Here are some interesting findings from The Brookings Institution to consider as you plan for your educational journey.

Included is analysis of the actual value of a college degree in today’s economy, how your choice of school or major affects your future opportunities, whether the return on your investment will pay off and more.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Orientation Tips for New Rio Waves

Image of Splash the Rio Waves Mascot.  Text; Here's to a successful fall 2015 Rio Waves

Many of you will begin taking classes tomorrow. Here’s to a successful fall 2015 and a big welcome to all of the new Rio Waves

Are you ready?

If you haven't already, get acquainted with your student systems. This video will give you an introduction.

You should check your RioLearn account to see whether you have any assignments due on the first day of class.

Visit and search the RioNews archives for more student orientation tips.

Want to engage with other students?  Join RioLounge.  It's a place where you can chat, ask questions, share perspectives and buy, sell and trade books. Log into or create a Google+ profile using a personal Gmail account.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Explore the Many Benefits of Dual Enrollment!

Are you a high school student looking to get ahead? 
We have the solution-- dual enrollment!
This video will introduce you to the many benefits of Rio Salado's dual enrollment program and how you can get started. 
Visit this dual enrollment web page for more details and check out this blog post to learn how some of Rio Salado's newest dual enrollment graduates have benefited from our program.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Study Time and Space

photo of Albert Einstein in his office, pondering.

Have you given any thought to how much time and what kind of space you should devote to studying? Rio Salado's Counseling team has some advice to consider.

study rule: 1 = 2.  Rule of thumb: 1 hour of class time = 2 hours of study time.
Did you know that college students are encouraged to approach their coursework as they would a 40-50 hour work week?

In terms of study time, the goal should be two hours per unit each week, for a total of 25-35 hours each week.

The question now is where to study so you can make your time productive.

Here are some suggestions to consider for locations and settings.

The Rio Salado Library is a great option. The Tempe headquarters houses our biggest library and study rooms. Please visit for details about library services at other locations such as Northern and Thomas.

The Café @ Rio and our student lounge on the second floor at the Tempe headquarters is another option to consider. All locations provide WiFi access.

Many of you will likely ended up studying from home. Here are some proven ways to make your study space more conducive to learning.

image of a bright and colorful study space.

Keep it fun and interesting. Even though we encourage you to hit the books in a neat and well-organized space, you’ll want to include some kind of pleasing aesthetics and stimulus. Otherwise, you'll probably find yourself face first in your books and swimming in zzzzzzzs. One of the easiest ways to punch up the personality above your desk is to create an inspiration or mood board featuring favorite photos, quotes, textiles, and clippings. This is a great place to shift your attention and recharge when experiencing studying doldrums.

Pull up a comfortable chair. If all you can think about is how uncomfortable your bottom is, you’re not likely to get much work done. Make the investment in a cushy desk chair. Tight budget? Consider one of those flokati fur rugs. They’ll keep you warm too!

A place for everything and everything in its place. We know you probably heard this axiom from your mom one too many times growing up, but we repeat it here just because it's true! If everything from your paperclips to your protractor has a designated space, you'll not only quickly know where to find it, but you'll squander less time straightening up your desk before you get to work.

Consider color. The color orange has been proven to stimulate brain activity—a good reason to dose yourself with vitamin C-inspired hues. Yellow is also known to activate brain waves. Pale blue is another popular color, which is often used in classrooms, because it is known to increase productivity, creative thinking and intuition. On the other hand, it can also make you drowsy, so take caution with this color.

You may have to go through a little trial and error in finding the right study space but don’t lose site of the ultimate goal—to study!   

Time and space are relative. Do what's right for you!

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” ― Albert Einstein 

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardott on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Five Tips on How to Prepare for Class

image of a clock, text: "Time to plan."

What can you expect as a new Rio Salado student?  Is there a way you can prepare?  What can enhance your chances for success? Here are some answers to those questions from Rio Salado's Counseling Services.

The most important thing to consider is that every class is different, every instructor is different, and online learning is different! Here are some key things you should know and plan to do before taking college courses at Rio Salado.

Learn how to use Rio Salado's online platforms

There are many ways to accomplish this and it’s critical to succeeding in your classes. The college website at and the Start at Rio web page has a plethora of information. There are also many links to student services, counseling, financial aid, certificates and degrees, college departments and more.

Here's an introductory video about using three key online platforms.

New students are automatically enrolled in New Student Orientation (NSO101), a free, non-credit class that provides an overview of the college and introduces you to RioLearn, our online learning system.

If you're still left scratching your head, you can always call the Instructional Helpdesk. This team is there to answer questions and help train you, as well as act as a liaison between students and instructors. They can be reached at: 480-517-8380, 866-511-8380 and at

Know your responsibilities
It’s best to assume the first day and week of classes will provide valuable information, which can be found in the syllabus, welcome letter, announcements and during instructor discussions. Make sure you fully investigate and understand course requirements.

Prepare for homework assignments first day of class
Don't be the one who gets blindsided when an instructor launches a discussion forum on the first day of class about an assignment.  It is common for college instructors to expect you to have an assignment completed for the first day or week of class. These assignments are typically given via e-mail, posted online or printed on the syllabus — so keep a lookout.

Reach out to classmates

This can be more of a challenge online, however, there are often discussions in online classes.

RioLounge is available for students to communicate and offer support, friendship, and information. You can form and find study groups and quick support from other peers. Don't underestimate the ability of your classmates.

Sleep, stay healthy and plan ahead
These common sense tips will help you in all areas of your life-- classes, career, and relationships. Being successful takes work and being prepared for class is the first step. You’ve got this!

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardott on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Many Benefits of Dual Enrollment

Here's a great story about the many benefits of dual enrollment by 3TV reporter Erika Flores, which includes a profile of Chandler Gilbert Community College dual enrollment 2015 grad Jessica Solis.

For more details about Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, including scholarship opportunities, visit or call 480-517-8080.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ten Ways to Reduce Math Anxiety

Feeling overwhelmed by the math learning curve and anxiety of taking math tests? You're not alone. Here are some great tips from Rio Salado's Counseling Services.

1. Learn to relax when you are nervous and tense. Reduce math anxiety by using meditation and deep breathing techniques in stressful situations.

2. Change negative thoughts like “I can’t do this," "I’ve never been good at math," and "I won’t finish in time” to positive thinking. You can do this!

3. Imagine yourself succeeding. Visualizing is a technique used when preparing for a performance. See yourself relaxed and successfully completing math problems.

4. Tackle the easy problems first. Scan your assignment to see which problems you can easily solve. This will help you build confidence and help you relax in preparation for more challenging problems.

5. Employ physical activities. In addition to deep breathing, try squeezing a stress ball and consider a walk or run

6. Prepare for exams early. When cramming for an exam you are likely to quickly forget. Build a study plan where you practice material over a period of time. This will ensure you have a better mastery of the material and less chance of forgetting when under stress.

7. Be good to yourself. Balancing school, as well as, your personal activities can be challenging. Your body and mind function best when we practice good eating and sleeping habits.

8. Learn the “why” of concepts. Under stress, short-term memory is usually the first to go. Math is not just a set of rules but one where concepts build on what came before. Understanding the “why” behind the rules will help you solve multiple types of problems.

9. Use support services.  Take advantage of tutoring and counseling services. These services are available free of charge to students. Also consider joining a support groups for adults with math anxiety. Don’t try to do it along. Reach out!!

10. Reward yourself when completing a difficult assignment or an exam. This is the time to take a break, stop, relax and pamper yourself.

There many more strategies at your disposal.  Visit our Academic Success Toolbox for more self-help techniques.

Contributed by Dr. Jean Tease on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Student Spotlight: Welcome Home Ranch

Snapshot of Welcome Home Ranch web page and grounds.

A horse neighs. Another whinnies. The air is ripe with the distinct smell of barn. In the distance, hooves clomp along the hay-strewn ground, accompanied by the rhythmic tapping of…computer keyboards? Yes, a typical day at Welcome Home Ranch is in full swing.

Situated on 55 acres in the shadow of Gilbert’s San Tan Mountain, Welcome Home Ranch is work, home and school for 25 young men who have faced drug and alcohol addiction.

The property is one of three addiction recovery facilities that make up the Canada-based John Volken Academy.

“The concept is a two-year program where boys overcome their addictions, receive career and educational training and gain the tools they need to be successful in life,” said Brad Barrett, Education Director for Welcome Home Ranch and former superintendent of the Gilbert School District.

“At Welcome Home Ranch, we board 150 horses, operate a feed store and sell produce,” Barrett said. “One of the biggest responsibilities the boys have is putting on weekly rodeos and other public equine events in the arena. It’s a business and every boy has a job to do to keep the business going.”

Jobs include cleaning out stalls, feeding and washing the horses, working in the feed store, cooking, cleaning and maintaining the two onsite houses where the residents live.

When they are settled in and adjusted to life on the ranch, the boys have the opportunity to enroll in classes to further their education. Enter Rio Salado College, a pioneer of online learning in Maricopa County, and one of the largest community colleges in the nation.

“You can enroll in classes at Rio Salado every Monday,” Barrett said. “That’s perfect for us because boys come in at different times during the year.”

Online classes also work well with the ranch’s structured approach to daily living. Each day has dedicated time for chores, group sessions, life skills training and education.

“I think the biggest benefit to online classes is the ability to progress at your own pace,” said ranch resident Ryan Male, 22. “You can finish a class in one week or 16. It’s completely up to you.”

Male works hand in hand with Barrett to run the education department and credits the ranch program for finally helping him turn the corner on his addiction.

“I had actually been to nine other programs prior to this one,” Male said. “I ended up using drugs while at each of them. I sat in circles and talked about how I was going to stay clean and sober. I used to come up with awesome plans, but they never translated beyond the walls of the program.”

What made this program work?

“The John Volken Academy is work-based therapy,” Male said. “It’s a real-life simulator. The two years of practice and peer accountability offered here is what sets this program apart from all the rest.”

When Male first came to Welcome Home Ranch, he expected to only stay for a couple months. Now 21 months later, he has emerged as a role model and mentor for the other students.

Each day he makes himself available for tutoring in the ranch classroom – a small nondescript room tucked away in one of the horse barns.

“It feels great to pass a class with an A, but it also feels great when one of the guys I'm working with does the same,” Male said. “The program has given me the opportunity to watch dozens of students find their direction in life, and allowed me to lend a helping hand. It’s very rewarding.” 

Male has 40 college credits under his belt, maintains a 3.90 grade point average, and is a member of Rio Salado College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“I don’t know if there is anything more satisfying than feeling like you’re on the right path,” Male said. “It’s funny to think that it’s all led through a horse barn!” 

As if on cue, barn manager and ranch resident Alex Bingham, 23, pauses in the corridor outside the classroom while returning a horse called Felicia to her stall.

Felicia peers through an open window and gazes in at the students as if to say, “You know this is a barn, right?”

Bingham laughs.

“Horses keep you honest,” he said. “Animals can read people. That’s why I feel at home in the barn.”

For Bingham, Welcome Home Ranch has been an addiction recovery program and a pathway to the next chapter in his life. Clearly finding his true passion – horses -- Bingham has a farrier job lined up after he completes the program, and hopes to one day own an equine facility.

Male will graduate from the John Volken Academy in August, and will transfer to Arizona State University in the fall, with plans to pursue a degree in engineering.

“I’m pretty interested in biological and genetic engineering,” Male said. “I find it fascinating that the most complex and efficient material on the planet is biological and that it all stems from the genetic code of a single cell.”

Those comments show just how much of a transformation Male has undergone.

“I came to the ranch with half a commitment, zero direction, and a desire to live in my own drug-induced reality,” Male said. “Now I’m a man of commitment. I have direction and purpose in life, and a huge desire to live in everyone else's reality for once. This opportunity has been the spark that lit the engine that will fuel me for the rest of my life.”

This story can also be found in the March 21, 2015 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College. 

Photos by Rio Salado Designer Bayi Smith.
Photo 1 – Barn manager and Rio Salado student Alex Bingham tends horses 
Photo 2 –
Rio Salado student Ryan Male supervises a classroom session
Photo 3 –
Rio Salado student Cameron Lewis in the horse barn classroom 
Photo 4 – Rio Salado student Alex Bingham pets a horse called Luna 

Share Your Story
We encourage you to share your student success stories.  Learn more in this RioNews blog.  #RioGrad

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Free ASU VUB Classes for Veterans @ EVVEC

image of a U.lS. army soldiere carrying books.

The Veterans Upward Bound Project (VUB) at Arizona State University (ASU) is a federally funded educational program designed to motivate and assist veterans as they pursue higher education.

Among the benefits available through this program are free, in-person classes to help strengthen academic skills-- with one-on-one instruction and tutoring-- and help with college planning, financial literacy, career guidance and more.
Take advantage of free in-person classes that will help you with the fundamentals of English, computers and mathematics at the East Valley Veterans Education Center in Tempe, 2-4 p.m.

3rd Friday of each Month
English and Computers
English and Computers
Workshops.  Topics Vary.

Classes are non-graded with open-entry start dates.

Here is a listing of all ASU VUB classes available across the Valley:

Image of ASU VUB schedule.  For a text version, call PHONE: (480) 965-3944 or E-MAIL: VUB@ASU.EDU

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rio Honors Boys & Girls Clubs of East Valley

photo of Rio Salado staff with Ny'Quenta Strong

Rio Salado Student Affairs staff attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley 23rd Annual Youth of the Year Banquet to honor and recognize high school students who have emerged as outstanding members of their individual branches, including Ny'Quenta Strong of the Boys & Girls Ladmo Branch in Tempe.

Rio Salado staff presented Strong with a $1,000 scholarship for the 2015-16 academic year at last night's gathering.

Strong is a senior at Tempe High School and an ACE student at Mesa Community College who plans to transfer to Arizona State University to study engineering, psychology and sociology with the goal of working in law enforcement. Read her bio.

We congratulate Strong and all of the students who took part in last night's celebration.

We encourage you to learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley and their efforts to help teens realize their potential and dreams. 

Pictured above: Rio Salado Director of Student Services Richard Conchos, Rio Salado Director of Advisement David Hall, NyQuenta Strong and Rio Salado Community Outreach Specialist Laura Miquirray.

Friday, January 16, 2015

It Pays to Investigate Nina Mason Scholarship

Photo of Patrick Andrew, Psychology Major, cohort 11.  Quote: Because of the generosity of the Nina Scholars Program, I am extremely grateful to not feel the added pressure of financial burden.  The staff is alwys helpful and available to answer questions, so I can focus on my classes.

Scholarships are one of the best ways to cover expenses because you don’t have to pay them back, yet so many students don’t take advantage of them, leaving thousands of dollars unclaimed. Why? 

There seem to be a few misconceptions about scholarships. Among the most common is that you need to have a 4.0 GPA and a long list of achievements. Think again.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholarship Program is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 academic year. The program covers full tuition, fees and books, while providing each student with an academic advisor and mentor. It also includes a $2,750 annual living allowance.

It is available to all Maricopa Community Colleges students who meet one of these criteria:

  • Adults 25 years or older with dependents
  • College-age youth and adults living with physical disabilities
  • Incoming freshmen ages 18-25, raised through the child welfare system and have no form of financial support

Visit the application page for additional requirements. The deadline is March 1.

Need help applying? Visit this Maricopa Colleges web page to watch a video tutorial about successful tips and strategies to consider in all of your scholarship applications. You can also call on our counseling services team for help.

Get a start on your application now.