10 Tips College Freshmen Should Know

College is an excellent learning and growing experience regardless if you choose to live on campus, commute from home, go away to school, attend an in-state university, or an out-of-state Christian college. You will be exposed to new people, experiences, and academic adventures. However, you will never be fully prepared for the dramatic difference between high school and college. But, here are some of our favorite tips to make the transition more seamless and enjoyable.

10 Tips College Freshmen Should Know1. Always Go To Class
It’s easier to skip class than to take the initiative to show up. For maybe the first time, no one is going to wake you up and force you to go to school. You have to take responsibility for your own actions and show up.

There are many benefits to attending class, the first of which is your professor may consider your presence as part of your final grade. Secondly, even if most material can be learned in a book, you’ll find your professor dropping hints that you’ll want to note for exams and papers. And, if you’re more of a numbers person, with classes costing hundreds of dollars, you are wasting money each time you opt out of attendance.

2. Backup Your Files
We all know we should back up our computer files, but how often do you actually follow this practice? Well, I can almost guarantee you will learn the hard way if you choose not to backup your files in college.

If you are writing your assignments on campus, your college may have an online server where you can save your documents. It’s also recommended to have an email backup, as well as using a portable external hard drive to protect your electronic documents. Do not be the freshman who goes crying to your English 101 professor because your computer crashed the night your paper was due. Take steps now to prevent this disaster.

3. Get Involved
You’ve made friends with your roommates and other people in your hall. You’re actually showing up to every class on time. You finally dedicated some time to do laundry. You’re nailing this college thing! Now, it’s time to have some fun!

Get involved on campus! Join student government or the science club, become a DJ at the local radio station, sign up for a co-ed indoor volleyball team, or take advantage of opting for a Christian college and nourish your faith at the local campus ministry. Getting involved is a great way to meet like-minded people, add activities to your resume, and try new experiences. You’re not taking full advantage of the college experience if you only go to college for class.

4. Get To Know Your Professors
Your professors are way cooler than you’ll expect and a great source of knowledge. They are also just people who have some fun stories to share. Do not be afraid to attend your professors’ office hours. In fact, go even if you don’t have any specific questions. Just show up and tell them you really like the class, ask for a book recommendation, or request study tips. Your professors are there for you, so absorb their knowledge. And, sometimes you’re lucky to find special connections that lead to mentorship and future letters of recommendation.

5. Bring a Small Refrigerator
If you are living in the dorms, coordinate with your roommates and get a small fridge. Yes, the meal plans are excellent and you should definitely use it as you are paying for this service, but there will be late nights, off hours, and random cravings when you will want refrigerated items. Some of the most common items found in freshmen fridges include milk, juice, yogurt, fruit, and deli meat.

6. Live in the Dorms
If you can, live in the dorms for at least one year. Yes, it can be a pricey experience, but it’s unique and can’t be replicated, especially freshman year. Everyone is new freshman year. If you know one other person in your dorm, you’ve hit the jackpot as often everyone is started life with a clean slate. If you want to reinvent yourself, this is the perfect opportunity. If you desire, you can make friends for life.

7. Reinvent Yourself
Maybe you went to high school with the same friends since elementary school. Maybe you switched schools every few years to accommodate a parent’s crazy work schedule. Either way, college is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, as well as your studies.

For maybe the first time, you are forced into responsibility and adult-like situations. You are molding into your future self, building the life you want, but that doesn’t just mean employment. You will change, too. Do you want to learn about art? Do it! Are you looking to develop more spiritual connections and explore the limitations of your faith? This is the time and place to push boundaries. Unlike high school, no one is going to poke fun at your interests. You are free to explore everything without ridicule and are sure to find a group that welcomes you with open arms.

8. Take Advantage of Campus Resources
It’s unfortunate, but you may not even know all your college has to offer until you are walking down the graduation aisle, so do all you can to explore campus resources. Depending on your university, you may have access to free concerts, movies, and comedic performances. You will also have numerous academic tools at your disposal including free tutoring and workshops on how to master excel. Also, reach out to your school’s health center. It’s commonplace to experience stress in college; if you don’t, you’re doing it wrong. However, there are so many ways to alleviate your symptoms and professionals to speak with when the pressure exceeds your personal limitations. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Take advantage of all resources available; they are included in the price of tuition so you might as well.

9. Find a Balance
Finding a balance in life is likely something you will struggle with at various times, and college is no exception. Your life has been uprooted from normalcy and you are forced to adapt to a new place, new people, and rigorous examinations of your studies. However, it’s important to continue to do what you love and experience what the world has to offer beyond campus. Get a part-time job, volunteer in the community, read a book for fun, attend weekly church services, and exercise regularly; your mind and body will thank you.

10. Learn to Budget
Unfortunately, you have probably not developed a budget for yourself yet. No, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have any income, you still need to learn where your money is going, and college is the perfect time to learn if you haven’t yet. Start with the basics. Create an excel spreadsheet and track where each cent of your money is going each month. How much would tuition come out to this month? Did you go out to eat off-campus with friends? Did you pay for transportation to school or maybe a quick visit home? Every dollar adds up, and it adds up quickly. The faster you learn this lesson and get in the habit of tracking your money, the more prepared you will be for the real world and the better saver you will become.



5 Tips for Dealing with “Too Much” Homework

Almost everyone complains that they have too much homework and the excuses for “why” it didn’t get done range from the dog ate it to a faulty printer to a downed internet connection. More often than not, “too much homework” really means “too many commitments took priority,” which can be reasonable – say, if you’re working part-time and are receiving a scholarship for an extra-curricular activity – or it can be unreasonable – bingewatching a TV show.5 Tips for Dealing with “Too Much" Homework

In the case of unreasonable “commitments,” you’re procrastinating doing your homework, but of course, there are people who genuinely are overwhelmed by their homework. With that in mind, how do you manage your time to get it all done? The following are five tips for any student (current or prospective) who’s struggling with getting their workload completed on time.

1. Don’t be a perfectionist

There’s an old principle of Pareto’s that’s been adapted to business (specifically management) called the 80-20 rule. The idea is that 80% of your results, come from 20% of your efforts. Think about that. When you tackle an assignment for school, are you trying to make everything perfect? Remember that you’re a student, no one is expecting you to be perfect, you’re in school to get better; you’re supposed to be a work in progress.

As a result, what may feel like “too much” homework, might really be you tackling assignments “too well.” For instance, there’s a reason “speed reading” is a skill that’s encouraged. A textbook is not a work of literature where every sentence means something, it’s okay to skim or, in some cases, skip whole paragraphs – the last paragraph just recaps what you read anyway.

Moreover, many schools or classes curve their grades. So an 80% could be a 100% in your class.

2. Do your homework as soon as it’s assigned to you

Due to the nature of college schedules, students often have classes MWF and different classes on Tuesday and Thursday. As a result, they do their MWF homework on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in preparation for the following day. Rather than do that. Do your Monday homework, Monday; Tuesday homework, Tuesday; Wednesday homework, Wednesday and so on.

The reason for this is manifold. First of all, the class and the assignment are fresh in your mind – this is especially critical for anything math related to those who are less math-minded. So do the assignment after the class. Chances are, it’ll be much easier to complete.

The second reason is because if you have a question about Monday’s homework and you’re working on it on Monday night, then guess what? You can contact your professor (or a friend) Tuesday for help or clarification. Whereas if you’re completing Monday’s homework on a Tuesday night, you’re out of luck. This can assuage a lot of the stress that comes from too much homework.

This flows into the third reason which is that, rather than having a chunk of homework to do the day before its due, you’re doing a little at a time frequently. This is a basic time management tactic where, if you finish tasks as they’re assigned instead of letting them pile up, you avoid that mental blockade of feeling like there’s “too much” for you to do in the finite amount of time given.

3. Eliminate distractions

All too often, students sit down to do homework and then receive a text, and then another, and then hop on Facebook, and then comment on something, and then take a break. Before they’re aware of it, hours have passed.

The best way to overcome this is to create a workspace. Traditionally, many students go to the library, but there’s no reason you cannot create your own workspace elsewhere. Maybe head to a coffee shop, fold up the backseats of your car, or develop a space in your room for you to specifically to focus on your homework.

If you give your homework 100% of your attention, it’ll pass by more quickly. Regardless of whether you’re writing a paper or working on a math equation, it’s harder to complete any portion of it with interruptions. If you stop writing mid-sentence to answer a text, then you may wonder where you were taking that trail of thought; if you stop a math problem midway through, then you’ll end up going back over the equation, redoing your work, to figure it out.

Eliminating distractions can save you a great deal of time, so find your space.

4. Track your time

Really track it. There are plenty of free sites and apps that will monitor your time. If you can’t (or don’t) eliminate all your distractions, then start clocking where your time is going. Chances are, you’ll be able to cut something that’s draining your hours, out of your schedule.

This is the nature of the internet, social media sites, and games on your phone, usually you use them in micromoments; moments that too small or too insignificant to really be eating up your time, but they do. All too often, students find themselves wondering “where did the time go?” and have difficulty actually placing how much time was spent where or doing what. Time yourself and, more importantly, reserve time to do your homework or reading.

The other benefit of this is that once you start tracking your time, you’ll be able to quantify the problem and manage your time more appropriately. For instance, if a particular class averages 45 minutes of homework, then you know how much time is required to budget into your schedule. Meanwhile, if another class is regularly exceeding three hours, then you may want to consider a tutor or discussing the issue with your professor directly.

5. Accept homework

Homework is a responsibility; it’s a chore. And in the same way that many people don’t take out the trash until it needs to be taken out; many people don’t start homework until it needs to be finished. This is a problem of attitude towards homework more than anything else.

It’s what makes many students feel like there’s “too much” homework, when in actuality, they feel that way because they put off doing it until they absolutely need to do it. As a result, try to change your mode of thinking. Instead of thinking about the volume of reading and writing, accept that it needs to get done. This way, you’re less concerned with the consequences of not doing homework, and more willing to actually get it done.

Hopefully, these five tips will help you in your academic career. Time management is not an easy skill to learn, but once you’ve established it in your life, it will help immensely.



10 Reasons to Attend a Christian University

When the time comes to make a decision about where you’ll attend college, it can be difficult to choose! There are so many great schools, many of which offer programs that you can’t wait to learn more about. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to choose a Christian university for the most exciting, growth-filled four years of your life, there are several reasons why you should seriously pursue that choice for your education.

10 Reasons to Attend a Christian University1. You’ll be surrounded by people who share your faith, and when the going gets tough, they’ll help you turn back to it. Instead of constantly feeling like everyone is encouraging you to give up on what you believe whenever things don’t go your way, from a bad test score to a family event that’s difficult to process, you’ll be with people who will encourage you to trust God and wait for his timing.

2. You’ll receive support for your faith, rather than having it torn down by professors who fail to understand the relevance and importance of the Christian faith to today’s students. At secular colleges and universities, many Christian students are forced to actively defend their faith any time an issue comes up in the classroom. When you choose a Christian college, on the other hand, you can rest assured that your professors will support your faith: your Bible is a valid reference for your papers and debates, and the words of Jesus matter when defending your positions.

3. You’ll work with professors who accept the Bible as truth and adapt their instruction accordingly. That doesn’t just mean that you’ll never have to defend your faith to them; it also means that when you have those deep, burning questions, someone will be on hand to help you answer them. Your class debates on homosexuality, abortion, and other topics will have a decidedly biblical slant–and you can rest assured that no one is going to start casting stones because you pointed to a Bible verse as a reason behind your argument. Even better, your professors will be able to guide you to deeper understanding of your faith, helping to further your understanding of biblical principles as they apply to your major field.

4. You won’t ever feel like the odd man out when you pray before a meal, take Sunday off to attend church, or complete a devotional at the beginning or end of the day. Instead, you’ll be surrounded by a caring group of friends for whom these things are utterly normal and expected.

5. Christian colleges offer a wider range of volunteer opportunities. They partner with local churches and organizations to present opportunities for their students to work in a variety of different positions in their effort to give back to the community. In many cases, these volunteer opportunities can be your foot in the door or the additional experience your resume needs to showcase exactly how capable you are in your chosen field. Volunteer opportunities are your chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and Christian colleges provide more of those opportunities for their students.

6. You’ll get an amazing, high-quality education. There’s a certain myth in many high schools that private Christian schools don’t provide the same quality education that you’ll find in a secular university. Thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Many Christian colleges offer great educational opportunities for their students, providing them with not just knowledge that could be learned out of a book, but also a deep wisdom and spiritual guidance that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

7. There’s a greater sense of community in many Christian colleges. Because many of them are smaller than their publicly funded secular counterparts, Christian colleges are able to encourage every student to develop a peer group, encourage interaction, and create a sense of family within their graduating class. Community-building doesn’t just take place in the classroom. It’s found all over the campus–and many of those relationships and their impact on your life will endure long after you leave college behind.

8. Honor Christ through the available activities. Secular colleges and universities will often include activities that simply don’t fit with your worldview. Marches, protests, and rallies will be dedicated to causes that you don’t support or don’t understand. By standing apart from them, you’ll be labeled an outcast or fail to fit in. When you attend a Christian university, on the other hand, all of the available activities will fit in perfectly with your faith.

9. Use your faith to shape your view of the world. Christian universities aren’t out to create a flat worldview that only includes elements of the Christian faith. Rather, they aim to better prepare you for what you’ll see as part of the world while still filtering that experience through the lens of Christianity. Explore, debate, and discuss different happenings across the world while keeping your faith at the forefront. As a result, you’ll be able to broaden your mind without feeling pulled to decide between the world and your faith.

10. Use your college years to grow in wisdom and spiritual maturity. When you attend a secular school, it’s easy to get caught up in the other activities and pursuits and set your faith to the side. While juggling internships, classes, exams, work responsibilities, and more, it doesn’t take much for you to decide that your faith isn’t the centerpiece of your life during this season–especially if you’re surrounded by people who don’t support your faith. When you choose a Christian college, however, you’ll be surrounded by people who do support your faith and will encourage you to grow in it over the next four years.

Your choice of college won’t just determine where you spend the next four years. It will also help shape the rest of your life, guiding you through many transitions and opening doors to future opportunities. By choosing a Christian college, you can rest assured that you’ll have the guidance you need to make the most of those years for your faith, your education, and your future.