What are 10 tips for bachelor’s degree success?
This is the third and final chapter about Bachelor’s Degrees. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Discuss the importance of success in bachelor’s degrees
– Introduce ten useful tips for succeeding in a first degree
– Provide activities to check progress and understanding
The journey leading up to a bachelor’s degree may feel long and stressful for some. A combination of university-entrance examinations and the pressure of choosing the right programme can cause anxiety in the months preceding a course. Saying goodbye to friends and family, potentially moving far away from home, making new friends, and perhaps learning to live independently for the first time – all of these factors can be distracting and can make focusing on your studies somewhat challenging at first. To make starting your degree a little easier, we’ve identified ten pieces of advice that should help to keep your mind and body focused on success, helping you to gain the most from this valuable life-learning experience.
Tip 1: Know Your Schedule
At first, simply knowing classroom locations and making sure you’re punctual for class are important habits to form. Once settled into a pattern, it’s then a good idea to decide when the most effective time is for study and when the best time is to relax and enjoy other experiences. Because university will likely coincide with a decrease in the number of hours spent in class, there will be a lot of free time in which students are accountable for their scheduling.
Deciding when you’re most productive to work on assignments and then sticking to that schedule throughout the semester will likely ensure that your work is done on time and that you still have space for social activities.
Tip 2: Read Read Read
Because there’s a lot to learn about any given subject, much more than can be delivered in limited lectures, it’s important that students do their assigned readings and go beyond these reading lists too. It may in fact be worth spending some of the weeks leading up to a course doing background reading on the core ideas of a module to make studying those concepts easier in the future. Students that fall behind on their readings may quickly find that they are unable to participate in seminars or that they find lectures difficult to understand, while those who engage fully with the concepts of a course are usually those who graduate more successfully.
Tip 3: Start Assignments Immediately
When starting a module, it may seem as though assignment deadlines are many weeks away and can be started at a later date. However, such thinking inevitably leads to increased levels of student stress, with some students staying up all night to finish assessments that are ultimately neither properly edited or proofread. By starting an assignment as early as possible, you will have much more time to find effective and convincing source evidence and to critically analyse your ideas. A student that does at least some work on their assignment every day will likely have ample time to check for typos, presentation formatting and missing elements such as citations and references, and may find themselves comfortably finished with their assignment a week before the deadline.
Tip 4: Improve Study Skills
Being a successful student can also depend on the successful development of autonomous study skills, such as critical thinking, mind mapping, notetaking, planning and drafting, and avoiding plagiarism and collusion. To improve these skills effectively will likely involve practice, self-reflection, and a good knowledge of the resources available to assist you. Students may also wish to set-up informal study groups with their peers throughout the term to ensure they have properly understood the topics and are exposing themselves to a variety of perspectives.
Tip 5: Participate in Discussions
For many universities, seminars are where concepts and ideas are developed and better understood. Tutors expect students to come to class fully prepared to share their opinions and knowledge about that week’s topics. Seminar-based interactions are where students can learn from their peers, ensure they have properly understood their field of study, and practice life-long conversation skills such as persuasion, negotiation and asking for clarification.
By remaining quiet during seminar discussions, you are not taking the opportunity to become a more competent and articulated speaker, nor are you demonstrating to your professors that you are fully engaged with their course.
Tip 6: Know the Availability of Resources
Universities usually have an extensive variety of services available to their students, investing in subscriptions to the latest published research or for the latest computer-software tools. Perhaps there are purpose-built study zones for students to use, recording studios that can be booked out, or items of technology that can be borrowed for projects. By paying careful attention to emails and on-campus posters, and by visiting any dedicated student-support offices, you can quickly become aware of the variety of beneficial resources that your institution offers you.
Tip 7: Engage in Extracurricular Opportunities
In addition to study resources, universities usually also offer a wide range of extra-curricular programmes for students to participate in. From debate and chess clubs to student unions and LGBT societies, these can vary greatly. There are also often student-led publications, exhibitions, talks, performances and awareness days that you may wish to get involved with. Furthermore, outside of the campus, there could also be volunteer projects, exchange programmes abroad, and opportunities for employment-focused internships. When combined, these opportunities provide important and useful ways of developing knowledge and skills and may provide exposure to experiences that a degree alone could never offer.
Tip 8: Research the Job Market
The skills learned and acquired throughout most degree programmes are generally considered transferable to a variety of different job sectors. However, knowing which jobs exist and how previous students have managed to succeed in obtaining them can help to guide your choices throughout the semesters – and might encourage you to participate in extracurricular opportunities that focus on building your CV in ways a degree can not. Obtaining job-market knowledge through research and by speaking with careers advisors may also contribute to decisions such as seeking internships in the summers or taking sabbatical years, or perhaps even to pursuing a master’s degree. Those students that research future career possibilities are usually more likely to succeed at achieving the career they most desire.
Tip 9: Enjoy a Rich Social Life
Because universities have a diverse collection of individuals, getting to know them is a great way of developing our appreciation for people and their personalities, and for learning about others’ customs, cultures and experiences. These people may also provide you with opportunities later in life or simply provide lifelong friendships that you’ll never forget. What’s more, university towns and cities often tailor events to a student market – affording the most inexpensive time in your life to attend music gigs, dance clubs, restaurants, or even to use public transportation. Ultimately, students who have a rich social life usually reflect more fondly on their university experiences, later claiming that those years were some of their best.
Tip 10: Maintain Your Health
Finally, one aspect that can be overlooked by many students is the maintenance of health, both in body and mind. Between deadlines for assignments, socialising, and part-time jobs, it may feel as though there is simply not enough time to consider eating healthily or to exercise often. Nevertheless, the brain performs best when it is well nourished and well rested, and there is now ample research to indicate how and why regular exercise and nutritious food keeps the immune system strong.
Stay up all night playing computer games and eating pot noodles is a sure way of having unhealthy skin, a tired mind, and an increased chance of coming down with the flu.
Good work on finishing our short reader about bachelor’s degrees. Consider completing our Chapter 3 activities about this topic, and then perhaps continue to study with our readers about getting qualified.
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