09/04/2012

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Some Advice About Your First College Term You've been accepted, and you've got a start date in September or October. Right now is a great time to get your first term in order. Here are a few suggestions to help make that first term go well. If you're not already registered, get your ducks in a row to register as soon as possible. Classes fill up quickly. If you've got responsibilities like a job or a family, those present scheduling challenges. You'll want to register early so you can can fit your classes to your schedule. Be reasonable about your time and what you'll be able to accomplish. Create a schedule that includes your classes, your commute time, meals, work, family responsibilities, laundry, study and sleep, as well as regular breaks. Don't schedule more than ninety minutes of study without at least a 15 minute break where you get up and move around. If you can get the list of textbooks for your classes early, do it. Try to get an ISBN number from the instructor for textbooks so you can check prices online at Amazon and other retailers; they may be cheaper. Don't forget about the possibilities of renting a textbook, either. Make a note of those office hours; try to visit every instructor at least twice during the terms during office hours. Have some questions prepared in advance. Don't skip classes if you can possibly avoid it—but don't sleep through them either. That's possibly even worse. If you find yourself falling asleep, as quietly as possible, get up and take a short ten minute break; get a drink of water, and make yourself wake up. If you didn't do as well as you wanted on a placement exam, find out if you can re-take it, and when. In the meantime, if you've got three days or more, cram like you've never crammed before. You might just pass. On the other hand, if you think you could take the class and do really well, take the class. A good grade is a good grade. [Originally written for College Adviser]
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Things to Think About Regarding Ebook Textbooks Many colleges and universities are switching to ebooks for textbooks. These digital versions of printed textbooks typically have all the content of the printed textbook, with extra materials or tools. At some schools, the switch to digital textbooks is a matter of policy; students are required to have a compatible computer or tablet and digital textbooks are given preference in ordering and selecting textbooks for student use. At other schools, the decision to use or not use ebooks is left up to the individual faculty member, or sometimes, the department. There are a number of advantages to digital textbooks. They weigh less, they often include tools to highlight passage and take notes, or create flashcards for study or export passages for use in a research paper. In some cases, they cost less; a popular college biology text is almost 200.00 as a printed textbook, but only $80.00 as a digital textbook to be used on a computer or tablet or Kindle ereader. Before you buy that digital textbook at your campus bookstore, you might want to think about the following points: Make sure that the ebook in question is compatible with your hardware and software. In many cases you are not buying the ebook you are borrowing, renting, or leasing it. In other words, it will disappear or cease to function at some point. Make sure you’ll have access to the ebook as long as you need it. Keep in mind that you may want to consult this year’s Chemistry (or French or any other subject) text book next year when you take the next class in the sequence. Check prices; is the same digital ebook available off campus for less? If you aren’t going to need the book in the future, look into renting or borrowing the digital book; many campus libraries will let students borrow digital textbooks. If your instructor isn’t requiring the ebook version of the textbook, and the printed book covers the same material, you might want to check the price on the printed book. If the book as been used on the campus before, you may be able to buy a used copy very cheaply. Make a note of any special registration codes or passwords you need to use the ebook. Keep in mind that even if you are buying the ebook, it may no longer function at some point in the future, especially if you change computers or upgrade to a new version of the operating system. The key thing to remember about using digital textbooks is that if the book isn’t an effective study tool, no matter how convenient or interactive it is, it’s not going to help you master the material you need to pass the course. Always keep in mind the point of any book is to enhance your learning. (Originally written for College Adviser)