Most colleges and universities operate on a semester or term system. As a Stevens-Henager College student, you’re on the fast track to graduation by starting new courses every 28 days. We call each four-week period a module or “mod.”
This system works for our students for several reasons. They typically take one or two courses each mod, allowing them to better focus their energy on one or two courses at a time. Because our degree programs are strictly career-focused, students take only subjects relevant to their career, so they can begin a better career sooner.
Here are five things successful students do at the beginning of each mod to make a fresh start and finish strong:
Write down important dates
With the craziness of family life, work, and school, it’s easy for course assignments to fall through the cracks. Oftentimes, making a mental note of an important task or due date isn’t enough.
To set yourself up for success and avoid last-minute scrambles, look over your course syllabi at the beginning of each mod and mark the important dates using some kind of calendar system. This could be a Google calendar, a calendar app on your smartphone, or a planner with sticky notes. Find what works best for you. By marking important dates ahead of time, you can look ahead at each upcoming week and prioritize your time.
Introduce yourself to the instructor
Many instructors begin each mod with a “get to know you” exercise. For those who don’t, make an effort to introduce yourself to your instructor. You could send a short email with a brief mention of something you’d like the instructor to know about you, or briefly stay after class and introduce yourself.
Your instructors are eager to help you, so don’t be afraid to get to know them. If you’re taking a course from an instructor you’ve had before, it doesn’t hurt to let them know you’re excited to continue learning from them.
Set SMART goals
We all start a new mod hoping to earn straight A’s. By setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound), you’ll find it’s much easier to end the mod on a high note and avoid playing catch-up later.
Maybe your goal is to turn in every assignment the evening before it’s due or to spend 30 minutes a day keeping up on required reading. Maybe your goal is to go to bed a half-hour earlier each night to catch up on precious sleep. Whatever you’d like to achieve during this mod, make it happen by setting goals early.
Not sure where to start? Mind Tools has a great video and walk-through on goal-setting.
Apply for scholarships
A study by NerdScholar found that over $2.9 billion in scholarship and grant money goes unclaimed each year. So, why wouldn’t you try to bring in as much as you can? The beginning of a new mod is a great time to explore scholarship opportunities. Start your search with your financial planner and ask about new offerings they might be aware of. Then, expand your search using legitimate and verified online resources; Craig Wallace, senior director of admissions for Stevens-Henager College, recommends sites such as Fastweb and Scholly.
Schedule time for school, work, and play
When life pulls us in many different directions, it can seem as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. But being a busy student doesn’t have to prevent you from being an efficient employee, a good friend, or an active parent.
It’s all about striking a balance. One way to do this is by scheduling your day or week. Schedule blocks of time throughout the week when you can focus primarily on school work. For example, maybe an 8:00-9:00 p.m. study session every day works best for you. If you’re easily overwhelmed, schedule a 30-minute break to take a bath or a power nap to help you recover.
Your schedule is likely to change day to day, so you’ll need to make adjustments. Be sure to make time for the important things. (Hint: The Week shows us what a successful person’s day looks like).
What do you do to prepare for a successful new mod? Tell us in the comments below, or share with us on Facebook!