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Fall into a Successful School Year

Fall 2008 | Archives

New academic years know no bounds; learners of every age and level are gearing up for a new year of knowledge, relationships and yes, homework. Each year of education presents its own challenges and triumphs, from navigating the world of insects in a College 4 Kids class to a dual enrollment English course to the final math class before graduation.

"Being prepared, whether it´s for the new school year or for a big test, is really important for any student," said Russ Lane, dean of students. "Although our average credit hour load per student continues to increase, many of our students are in school part-time or are juggling school with work and a family, so being ready from day one is a must."

It takes more than a class schedule and sharpened pencil to start any school year; being prepared for what the new year may hold is crucial to being—and staying—at the top of your educational game. Lane and his team of recruiters have some tips for making sure every student gets off on the right foot this year.

students Make sure that all necessary paperwork is done. This includes double-checking that financial aid forms are filled out and submitted by deadlines and that registration is 100 percent complete. Be sure to open and check all the mail that comes in your name; it could be important information about your student account or enrollment. The first day of class is way too late to learn you still have steps left in the registration and payment process.

Chances are that you´ve already selected your courses for the fall, but it´s not rare to change your course sections or even pick up an extra class. So be reasonable about your class schedule. If you aren´t a morning person, an 8 a.m. class may not be the best choice. Once your schedule is set, know it front and back: know when and where your classes are, if you have to travel to another campus and who your instructor is. Not only will this help you show up at the right place and time, you´ll be able to identify any alterations you may need to make to your routine. For example, if you have a class until noon at the Fort Omaha Campus and then a class at the South Omaha Campus at 2 p.m., you can plan to use that free time for meeting with instructors, visiting the Academic Resource Center or preparing for a student club event.

That means you need to know your campus—more than just where your classrooms are. Explore the buildings and become familiar with the location of student services, the library, Academic Resource Centers and, of course, restrooms and food areas! Take the time to know people in the different student-oriented areas. You never know when you'll need to know someone in financial aid or the writing center in a pinch.

A successful school year is one where expectations are met and exceeded, so set goals for yourself! If you do not have goals, it´s harder to measure how successful you are and will be. Some goals to consider include the grades you'd like to earn, how involved you'd like to be and how many connections you´d like to make.

"Goal-setting is essential for success. Students who get in the habit of making and meeting goals in school are really putting themselves in a good place for the post-graduation world," Lane said.

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