Category Archives: Education

How To Ace Group Projects

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Some people love working in groups – it comes naturally to them and they are happy to collaborate with, or manage, a team towards the completion of a common goal. For others, working on group projects can be the most frustrating, infuriating, annoying, and/or confounding principles of higher education. Class assignment groups are mixed with students that have unique points of view and methods to approaching tasks. Often times, people working together in groups (by assignment or even by choice) may not agree on everything and may have difficulty working together as a team.

Here is some advice on how to make the best out of your next team project:

1. Assign Roles

Everyone in the group should do a fair share of the work, but how do you know who should do what? Divide up the project tasks so that each group member has at least one responsibility. I recommend letting everyone choose their own roles since each member will have a better idea of their own strengths and weaknesses, which will result in a happier experience and overall better outcome. If there is a certain task that nobody wants to be assigned to, try breaking that task up into smaller parts for everyone to complete together, or perhaps excuse whoever takes the role from doing as much as everyone else. Assigning group duties will ensure everyone is pulling their own weight and working together towards completion.

Group Project Assigning Roles

Photo © CU NOOZ

2. Coordinate

Conflicts can easily happen when trying to schedule a meeting time between several college students. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to find a time between everyone’s classes, work, activities, and social life (wait, do those exist in college?), but a great way to find out everyone’s availability is to compare schedules on websites such as Doodle. Be sure to schedule at least the next group meeting (if not all of them) before departing, otherwise it will be hard enough just trying to coordinate with everyone not face-to-face. Speaking of coordinating; be sure to establish the most reliable form of communication.

Doodle.com Scheduling Event Group Project Meetings

Photo © learning2gether

3. Communicate

Constant and frequent communication is key. If there isn’t clear communication between team members, problems happen. Once, I ended up researching the same stuff as my group partner and we had to ask for an extension. Another time, a team member didn’t even know he was in our group because he was absent the day groups were assigned and nobody let him know. On more than one occasion, my groups have had fundamental disagreements about the main thesis of our presentation. Get my point? Headaches like these can easily be avoided if communication is kept through each member of the group. Teams cannot function efficiently without communication. Everyone should have a way of contacting each group member (email, phone number, etc.). I suggest creating a contact sheet for everyone to have. Don’t be the group that gets left stranded on presentation day because the team member responsible for bringing in the finished product is nowhere to be found, and no one has his/her phone number.

College Student Team Project Homework Assignment

Photo © quoc anh

 4. Collaborate Online

Collaborate together online outside of meetings to continue working on the project. Email works, but may be the slowest and not the most effective method for group projects. Facebook has become a great place for people to link up and join group pages to share ideas and files. I like to use Google Drive whenever I am working in a group project. Google Drive is just like Microsoft Suite software, except it is all free and stored online in The Cloud.  Google Drive can be used for word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, drawings, maps, and more through downloadable apps. Why use email to send files back and forth when everyone can work remotely on the same file at the same time, live! I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already because you can even see who has contributed to what sections of the file. And this is a perfect way to work on the project without having to have everyone get together. All work can be assessed at any time, from any location with internet.

Google Drive College Project Tip

Photo © wikipedia

Group projects are not always easy, but working together as a team is a life skill necessary for college and beyond.  It will come easier with more practice and with time, you will be an expert on how to work as a team.

What do you do to ace your team projects? Share with us in a comment below!

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5 Tips To Improve Your Writing

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Essays are a huge part of college. No matter what you’re studying, there is bound to be at least one class in which the instructor assigns an essay (sometimes several). If you don’t mind writing, then it may be a piece of cake to crank out a five page paper. However, if you aren’t a big fan of writing and put it off until the last minute, it can be a nightmare. Either way, there are several important tips every college student should know to make your writing the best it can possibly be.

1. Find A Quiet Space

It is more difficult to study, do homework, prepare for exams, or write if you are sitting in a crowded, buzzing Starbucks. I used to bring my laptop there, thinking all of the other writers and readers would inspire me, but I only ended up distracted by the sound of steaming milk, coffee orders, and not-so-quiet conversations. When you’re in a quiet environment, such as the library or a study lounge, you’ll focus better. I also recommend to leave your living space to minimize typical distractions (roommates, television, etc.). If you tell yourself you are physically going somewhere to write, you will take it more seriously and be much more focused when you are in that environment.

College Library Writing Computer

Photo © College Library Services

2. Review, Review, Review

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen friends and fellow students make, is that they don’t take the time to re-read what they wrote when they have finished. However, reviewing your writing is so important! Avoid yourself the embarrassment of turning in a paper with simple mistakes (spelling, punctuation, and grammar). A lot of professors actually dock points for simple mistakes such as these. Reviewing it can also ensure that you have covered everything you wanted to in your paper and that it all makes sense. This is also the chance to read it aloud to hear how it will sound to your reader. Keep in mind who your reader is (your professor), and write it for them.

College Paper Essay Writing Editing Review

Photo © Go College

3. Remove Unnecessary Words

People sometimes add filler words to their writing to make it longer, which is clever (and I’ve done it too), but it’ll only make your writing sound immature. When you edit, delete these filler words, including “that,” “so,” “and,” etc. Sometimes you may not even realize these writing habits until you review your writing. Also, search your paper for repetitive words. Trying replacing words used often in your paper with synonyms to still explain your point without sounding redundant.

Word Filler Writing Editing

Photo

4. Add Detail

Depending on what class and topic your essay is for, it might be a good idea to spice it up a bit with some added detail. It’s good to be informative in your writing, but to really grab a reader’s attention, add some adjectives to make your writing descriptive and easy to visualize.  Write everything as if you’re really seeing it in front of you as it happens. J.K. Rowling and Tolkien had great success because their visions translated so well to paper with their descriptions.

College Student Writing Laptop

Photo © Instructional Tech Talk

5. Use Another Pair Of Eyes

Whether it’s a friend, classmate, or your instructor, have someone else read your writing. If they’re confused about something, that’s cue that revisions need to be made. Ask them for their honest feedback and to get out their pen to provide editing suggestions. You could even take it one step further and have them write down what they think the main idea of each paragraph is. If they have a different idea of what you were going for, it’s your chance to fix it.

Worst Thing I've Ever Read New Girl Writing Paper Editing GIF

Photo © Miss Bizz

Look for inspiration by taking a closer look at some of your favorite author’s writing. What in particular do you like about it? When you find the answer, learn to incorporate that into your own writing. The more you practice and try to improve your writing, the easier it will become to write. This skill will be helpful not just for college, but for any career as well.

How have you improved your writing skills? Share with us in a comment below!

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Preparing For A New Semester

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Winter break for most college students marks the epitome of vacation. Winter break also marks the half-way point of the school year. You most likely have already chosen your classes for this upcoming semester, so now all you have to do is prepare for them.

Here are a few ways to prepare for the upcoming semester:

1. Check The Readings

The first thing I do to prepare for the new semester is check to see what the readings will be like. I do a lot of reading and writing for my communication major, so I like to get an idea of which classes will have the heaviest work load. Doing this will help you learn where to allocate the most of your time and resources. Also, some professors assign readings even before the first day of class. It is good to be aware of this so you are not the only one not hanging in an essay on the first day of class.

College Student Reading Course Syllabus Class Description For New Semester

Photo © QACPS

2. Pre-Order Materials In Advance

The second thing I do is pre-order all books and supplies I might need. This assures me that I will have everything ready to go when the first day back to classes comes. I would rather have what I could need and not need them, than need them and not have them. You can always return something if it is not needed. Also take stock of your class supplies. If you need more notebooks, then go buy some more. Or you could take the high-tech, tree-saving route, and get a tablet to take all your notes on. Pens are also nice, as well as pencils for when the professor breaks out a surprise Scantron. Want to gain popularity among your peers? Be the only one in class with pencils during a pop quiz.

BookRenter College Textbook Rental

Photo © BookRenter

 3. Learn Your New Schedule

Thirdly, it might be sensible to memorize your new schedule. You should print/draw your schedule on a piece of paper or put it all in a day planner. Do whatever you have to do to learn what your new schedule will be, so adjusting to it will be a lot easier. I had a roommate who wrote where he had to be every day for a whole month on a calendar on the first of each month. It took him maybe twenty minutes at the most and kept him well organized and on time for the whole month. Meanwhile, I lounged on our snack littered couch playing Skyrim and was late to class about 80% of the time because I didn’t do the same.

College Class Schedule Planner Organization

Photo © Sam’s Noggin

Don’t be that student that gets back to campus and realizes they are not ready. Do not wait last minute to scramble for supplies, be unprepared for your first assignment, or have no idea where your class is. Get a head start now to avoid any potential embarrassment!

What is the one thing you make sure to prepare for to start a new semester?

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Test Taking Tips

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia Baran

Tests are a dreaded, but necessary part of college. They are the cause of countless sleepless nights and stressful breakouts, but they don’t have to be. Feeling fully prepared for a test can take a lot of that stress away. Here are a few ways to make the process a bit more bearable:

1. Use Your Notes

The notes you take in class are probably your best tool when it comes to studying. Simply re-reading your notes may not be enough though – instead, rewrite your notes. This may seem too time consuming, however I’ve found it to be much more effective when trying to remember the material. It may also allow you to re-organize the material in a way that may make more sense. I’ve also found that rewriting them by hand is more effective than typing the notes out, but you have to find what works best for you.

Studying Notes For College Test Exam

Photo © Cardigans & Chai

2. Explain The Material To Someone Else

This is a trick I’ve used for years. After studying the material, do your best of discussing it with another person, or try to teach them the material. Sometimes just saying the words out loud and hearing the material can help you soak it up. If you can’t teach it, you don’t know it. During this process, you can realize which material you need to study more.

College Tutoring Teaching Studying For Exam

Photo © My Guru

3. Eat Before Your Test

Nothing is more distracting than trying to silence the growls coming from your stomach in a silent room. Never go into a test hungry! Instead of focusing on your test, you’ll be thinking about the embarrassing noises coming from your stomach that are causing your classmates to give you funny looks. Keep a granola bar in your bag for such emergencies so as to avoid this unnecessary distraction. Also, fueling your stomach fuels your brain!

Breakfast Before College Exam

Photo © Her Campus

4. It’s Just A Test

Tell yourself those four words. After all, it IS just a test. This may seem like the easiest thing to do but actually letting go of the stress and pressure of a test is very difficult for most of us. No matter how important the test is, once you’ve already sat down to take it it’s time to relax and just do the best you can.

Taking Test In College

Photo © Frank Walton

Do you have any tips for improving test-taking? Share with us in a comment below. Good luck and remember, it’s just a test!

 

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Fresh Start To A Great Year

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia Baran Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

“This year I’ll do better.” These 5 words, and similar variations of them, are probably the most common words uttered by students all across the globe. It’s what we tell ourselves at the beginning of every school year and yet 3 or 4 weeks into the semester we realize we’re not exactly living up to it. But have no fear! This year WILL be better if you just follow these 3 rules and stick to them!

1. Don’t Procrastinate

We all fall victim to procrastination at one point or another but you must fight the urge! As soon as an assignment is handed out, start working on it. Now, I’m not saying to complete a 10 page paper the day your professor announces it, but each day take some time to work on it. Not only will your course load seem lighter when you do this, but it will also take a huge amount of stress out of your daily life which will lead to an overall better college experience.

Doing Homework

Photo © Broadband Social Justice

2. Forget the Past

If your previous semesters didn’t go so great, don’t let that put a damper on your present and your future. It’s important to start every semester with a clean slate, that means no pouting over that Math class you failed last year! If you go into each school year with a negative outlook, you’re more likely to get negative outcomes. It may seem difficult, but try to forget the bad of the past and focus only on the possibilities of the future.

Grateful For A New Day

Photo © Shine On Raw

3. Set New Goals

College is about challenging yourself. Start each semester with some short-term personal goals for yourself – whether it be to get better grades, to meet new people, join a club, party less, party more, find an internship, etc. Whatever it may be, make a list of a couple of things you’d like to have done by the end of the semester and actually do them. This way you’ll feel more accomplished as you cross off each goal, but you’ll also be creating more memories and hopefully be bettering yourself.

College Soccer Goal

Photo © Student Life

If you remember these three rules, this could be your best year yet! What short term goals do you want to accomplish this year? Tell us in a comment below!

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