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The Blue Blog: supporting student success with strategies, resources, and updates.

Supporting Student Success with Strategies, Resources, and Updates from Boise State eCampus.

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HOW TO BE AWESOME: CHEAT SHEET FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

 It seems like just yesterday we were starting college, back when Facebook was as new, awkward, and hard to monetize as the college freshmen it catered to. And as the years went on, we learned. With every seminar, crazy weekend, internship, summer break, we learned. And we emerged approximately 112% more awesome than we began. Now, we want to pass those hard-won lessons on to you.

Most of our students taking online classes are on campus or live in the Treasure Valley. For students who cannot take advantage of many of these tips, we still have lots of tips for you and will post more here.

Here are top tips for kicking a$$ and taking names in college, from the academic to the social and everything in between!

Academics

  • Work with your professors.
    Two words, one concept, you need to commit to memory: office hours. Visit your professors during these assigned periods to ask for help when you need it. The key is going at the first sign of trouble—not two weeks before the end of the semester with a string of failing grades in your wake. Professors will appreciate your effort, and don’t forget: they want you to succeed!
  • Visit the academic center. Whether it’s a one-time visit to master an especially tough concept or you have regular tutoring sessions, your school’s academic counseling office is an invaluable resource. You should also meet with your academic advisor to ensure you’re on the path to an on-time, successful graduation—absolutely necessary if you’re a transfer student.
  • Explore your major options. And don’t be afraid to be “undecided,” take classes and participate in activities that allow you to explore majors that interest you (Talk to your advisor). You just need to be strategic, having some idea, however vague, of what major(s) you might pursue and working closely with your academic advisor along the way. One caveat: if you’re considering an industry-specific major like engineering or nursing, you probably want to start in that program, as they tend to be focused from the very beginning. It’s easier to leave the program if you change your mind than it is to join late in the game.
  • Get a study buddy. Or several. You can quiz each other before midterms and finals, you’ll have someone to rely on for notes if you miss class (due to legit reasons like sickness, not skipping! C’mon now!), and you may just bond over your shared love for the class . . .
  • Budget your time. Use a calendar (online or paper)to map out everything you have going on. And we mean everything: classes, exams and projects, part-time work, vacations and school breaks, extracurricular meetings, and more. That way you’ll know exactly how much time you have to study and be social. Time management is a hard skill to master, but it makes life so easy once you do that it’s totally worth it.
  • Sit up front. It’s a simple but effective trick. You’ll be right under the professor’s nose and close to the action, which can help hold your attention. It’s especially helpful if the class is in a large lecture hall. It’ll also show the professor that you’re in it to win it—and they really do notice.
  • Don’t get sucked into the Interwebs. First of all, it’s just rude to text or surf the Web in class—and professors can see you—so even if you use your laptop to take notes, avoid the Internet. And if you don’t think you’ll be able to resist checking your e-mail or the pull of Twitter’s siren song, try using an application to restrict your online activity for that time period. Second, eliminating distractions should help you focus on the material and ultimately do better in the class.
  • Get your money’s worth. Don’t forget that you’re shelling out hundreds of dollars per credit hour just to be in your classes (or study online). You’re paying for it whether you use it or not. Take advantage and stay engaged in your classes. Do your best to participate in your learning and make the most of your investment, because there is no hand holding- it’s all on you while at university or college.

Health and wellness

  • Visit the health center. You’re almost guaranteed to have a health center on campus, and it should be your first stop for run-of-the-mill wellness issues: persistent low-grade fever, cold and flu symptoms, possibly women’s wellness visits, etc. Visits are generally covered by your existing insurance, school-mandated insurance, and/or tuition, so don’t be afraid to go if you’re not feeling well. Health center practitioners can also refer you to an outside doctor or specialist as needed.
  • Know what’s around. In addition to your campus health resources, you should have a general idea of the hospitals, clinics, and other wellness centers around you for after-hours issues or other health situations that do not require an ambulance.
  • Keep stress in check. Sometimes stress is good, like when it fuels your super-productive study session. But too much stress can lead to mental, emotional, and even physical burnout. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed, it’s time for a self-assessment. Ask for help from your advisors, professors, friends, and family, whether it’s to rearrange your schedule or just blow off some steam.
  • Know thyself. By this we mean you must know when to seek help should you need it, particularly if you’re under emotional duress. If you’ve felt sad for an extended period of time, have lost interest in things you used to love, and/or have trouble sleeping or eating, it may be signs of a more serious depression. Your above-mentioned campus health center is a good place to start; if they don’t have a therapist on staff, they can certainly refer you to someone nearby. Bottom line: don’t delay getting help and remember that you are never—ever—alone.
  • Eat well. The cafeteria may offer unlimited options and servings, but all-you-can-eat isn’t all you should eat. Limit yourself to smaller servings when partaking in the buffet line, bulk up on healthier options, and try to avoid going back for seconds—setting rules and getting into a routine will be very helpful. To stop yourself from overindulging, keep healthy snacks in your dorm room like nuts, granola bars, or fruit. Lastly, drink plenty of water!
  • Exercise. In the school gym or outside. With a friend or on your own. Intramural or varsity. Do it a little or do it a lot, just do it.

Finances

  • File the FAFSA. AKA the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. We’ve said this many times, but it bears repeating: you have absolutely nothing to lose by filing the FAFSA. Just remember to apply every year, as soon as possible after January 1. And, again, it’s free, so don’t be duped by FAFSA services that charge a fee. Apply via www.fafsa.ed.gov and ask college financial aid officers for help if you need it.
  • Pursue scholarships. Pursue scholarships tenaciously, even after you’ve enrolled. Seriously, hound them like a wild animal. If you have gaps in your school and/or government aid, you may be able to fill them with scholarships, but they’re not going to fall in your lap. You need to do research and apply for each one you’re eligible for, especially awards offered directly by your college. Scholarships go unused each year just because no one applied!
  • Make a budget. Do we sound like your mother yet? Well, it’s perennial advice for a reason. Whether it’s on paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or an online tool like Mint, keep track of what you’re spending and where.
  • Avoid debt. Credit card debt, in particular. It’s pretty tempting to just “charge it” with the intent of paying off that balance with your first fat postgrad paycheck, but that’s not a smart strategy. When it comes to regular purchases, from books and supplies to late-night pizzas, be careful not to overspend. You should be able to pay off your credit card, if you have one, every month. Otherwise, use cash or debit. Not only will this help you build a good credit score, but you won’t be stuck paying for all those late-night pizzas three years down the road.
  • Pay down what you can. With inflated tuition and pretty stagnant minimum wage jobs amongst college students, it’s harder to pay one’s way through school. But it is possible. And if you have loans, you may be able to start paying them off while still enrolled, if just the interest, which can save you money in the long run.
  • Do your research. You can find consumer reports and online reviews for every service and product imaginable, so before you buy anything of significance (or even less-than-significant things), learn as much as you can about it so you get the best deal. This certainly applies to those wallet-depleting textbooks; can you rent or buy pre-owned textbooks or use the library’s copy? Yes? Yes!!!

Career

  • Visit the career center. Campus career offices are staffed with full-time pros there to help students connect with alumni, polish their résumés and cover letters, and target career paths that fit. All those services and more are included in your tuition and usually available after you graduate—sometimes for life. Take advantage.
  • Talk to people. Your college years will be full of opportunities to meet remarkable people, and you should chat them up not just to get an “in” at that company you love, but to learn more about fields that interest you, to gain an insider’s perspective and more. Of course, don’t discount the networking aspect. If the importance of networking has yet to be impressed upon you, consider that an estimated 65%–85% of jobs are attained via networking!
  • Get work experience. The ideal is a paid position in a field of interest, but any work experience is better than no experience at all. And you’re sure to find plenty of positions on and around campus, maybe even abroad, from unpaid internships and co-ops to work-study and local volunteering. Even the part-time job(s) you’re holding down to make ends meet has value in the postgrad job search.
  • Join all the things. They say you learn more from your extracurricular activities than you do your college classes, and though that value lies in the eye of the beholder, you do have an incredible opportunity to experience new things and meet like-minded (or totally different) people through campus activities. Scope out the fall and/or spring activities fair and sign up for everything that interests you—you can commit once you learn more about the group and its time obligations. It’s a great way to explore interests outside of your major and gain job-related skills.

Social

  • Consider Greek life. And we mean really give it thought. Fraternities and sororities vary almost as widely as the students who join them, ranging from service-oriented to honors to predominantly social groups. You can forge lifelong friendships and join a network that may help you in your future career. Or you may discover that it’s not your scene, for whatever reason. Either way, it’s okay. Suspend your disbelief but also stick to your convictions—and never compromise yourself for the sake of a rush.
  • Post thoughtfully. You probably have no less than a dozen social media channels through which to post your thoughts, pictures, videos, and more. That’s a dozen ways to stick your foot in your mouth, so to speak. Remember that college admission officers, scholarship administrators, and job recruiters (not to mention friends and classmates) will scope out your online presence. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t want your mama to see it, you probably don’t want to post it to the World Wide Web.
  • Love where you live. Oh, dorms. Where you spend the most time but have the least space. Be sure to make the space you do have work in your favor: Communicate with your roommate so you can coexist peacefully. Keep your room clean and organized. And take advantage of the events and programs your RAs and residence halls offer. Your dorm or apartment doesn’t have to be dull; make it your sanctuary.
  • Get off campus. Take advantage of public transportation to visit recreational areas, explore the surrounding city, or simply run to the grocery store. Also, don’t be afraid to leave the country too: studying abroad is a great way to see the world, earn some credits, meet new people, and gain valuable experience for the life ahead of you.
  • Make new friends but keep the old. Whether it’s through classes, dorm activities, or extracurricular events, you’ll meet a ton of people at college. Enjoy hanging out with your new friends, but don’t forget the ones that got you through childhood and high school. Stay in touch via a Facebook group, e-mail chains, video chatting, or scheduled phone dates. It may feel like a lot of effort, but it’s worth it in the end.

Above all, remember that college is what you make of it. You can join the clubs, get the internships, front the band, go to the parties, and more, all while rocking a hard-won stellar GPA, but it’s not going to happen on its own. Get out there and make the most of your college years so you can look back and think, “I rock!” instead of “I wish . . .”

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GOOGLE RESOURCES: TAKE A CLOSER LOOK

Sometimes information overload is the condition students face, Google is in this category. However, it is well worth it to check out the amazing tools free to users. Start with just a few that will save time and boost your skills in research, time scheduling, also share data and research for student projects. You can connect mobile, and use reader resources anywhere you have WiFi. Check out these great tips for making the most out of your online searching. May come in handy for that final paper! Visit Google Resource pages to learn more about free tools!

Google Resources fo students - tips and tricks Source: Mashable

DON’T VENTURE INTO ONLINE LEARNING ALONE…BE SOCIAL!

Avoid feeling isolated or alone by connecting with others.

b-socialLook for opportunities to connect with your academic department or program through social networking sites like Facebook or online communities like LinkedIn or join the eCampus Student Support Facebook Group.

Find ways to connect with the University…

If you live close by, attend extracurricular activities or join a student club. The Boise State B Social website provides easy ways to connect with a variety of services, offices, clubs, and organizations.

Connect to the course content by applying what you learn to real life situations by asking yourself…

  • Is there a way illustrate a point or concept from a past experience?
  • Is there something from a previous class that is relevant and helpful for your current class?
  • Connecting what you learn to your own experiences makes the time spent in class more relevant and lasting.

Connecting what you learn to your own experiences makes the time spent in class more relevant and lasting.

Get Social and Connect with eCampus!

REGISTRATION FOR SUMMER CLASSES BEGINS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21st

2017 summer.boisestate.edu

Why Take Summer Classes?

  • Graduate faster
  • Lower per-credit fees than fall and spring
  • Complete a full semester class in a quarter of the time
  • Flexibility — take an online class from anywhere
  • Enjoy summer in Boise and stay on campus
  • Take a prerequisite for fall semester
  • Get on track to Finish in 4
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Take a full course sequence in one term

Summer classes will fast-track your degree and give you an edge over your fellow classmates. There are hundreds of classes available this summer, so check them out and see if there are any that you’d like to take! Registration opens Tuesday, February 21st.

 

Information and photo from Extended Studies

GET YOUR STUDY ON: DEAD WEEK IS AWAY

It’s Thanksgiving break week and if your time is already obligated, or you plan holiday travel, you need some quality study time before upcoming finals!Rich orange pumpkin growing in a field

Dead week is December 6th to 12th, then Finals week. We all need breaks and want to do things we enjoy, but study can be enjoyable too. You simply find something of interest and set a goal to impress. It’s fun to become an expert in a field of interest or study, give it a try.

 

This time of year is very enjoyable, the weather is nice for evening walks and bicycle rides. Summer was lovely, long and very warm. The cool nights are great for enjoying a good sleep. Get plenty of rest too.

Take advantage of this time to read your texts without feeling anxiety. Daydream, imagine how you can apply what you are learning. It is meaningful study when you are planning a career and learning what most people never know, amazing stuff! We can waste a lot of time on meaningless activities and ignore priorities. You must put effort into study because that makes what you are doing worthy of your goals.

Norman Painting of traditional Thanksgiving gatheringEven when you have responsibilities there is no reason to avoid the pleasure of a family gathering. Tradition is a fine thing and we don’t really invest much time in it from the generations in college and young families. Keep the traditions your family shared, you will want to share them with future generations so they know the same feeling of family pride and togetherness you knew. They will pass this tradition of sharing to their own family of generations.Meanwhile, below is a little college humor for when you return home.

Family can stretch your patience, but remember, your family will always love you, even when they don’t like you or you don’t like them.

We were not able to choose our family, but some of us were chosen, which is awesome! Love those closest to you no matter what!

Enjoy your week away for the Thanksgiving Holiday, but keep up on the study time to ace your exams.

Small image with caption in everything give thanks

 

THE BOISE STATE WRITING CENTER

Image of Writing Center

The Writing Center is open to all members of the Boise State community. We offer one-on-one consultations to support your work on any writing project. Our philosophy is a basic one: writers need readers. And this is exactly the service we provide—our consultants are trained readers who are prepared to respond to any piece of writing at any stage of the writing process.

The Writing Center is open to any member of the Boise State community, from students to faculty.

We will work with you at any stage of the writing process—planning, revising, editing. We are an active, collaborative learning center; we work with you, looking for ways to help you become the best writer possible. Our goal is to engage in conversations about your writing by asking questions we have as readers.

Each consultation is geared toward the individual needs of the writer and is a collaborative effort between writer and consultant.

Writers can come in for face-to-face consultations, or they may submit their writing via our email consultation service for a written response from one of our trained consultants.

Together the writer and consultant:
  • Discuss and brainstorm topics
  • Review drafts and talk about revision
  • Develop writing strategies
  • Identify and discuss writing difficulties
  • Build perspective on the writing process
  • Learn proofreading techniques

Our philosophy is a basic one: writers need readers. And this is exactly the service we provide.

Our email consultation service is designed to allow writers greater flexibility in receiving feedback from the Writing Center.

To request an email consultation, go to our website and select “Email Consultation” from the appointment options.

Here are a few things to consider before requesting an email consultation:

  • Writers may submit two pieces of writing per week, but only one submission per day.
  • Only 7 pages of double-spaced writing will be accepted per session. If you would like to submit a longer paper, submit portions of it over a period of time. Another option is to submit the portion that you have the most questions about.
  • If your main concern is with grammar, we can only respond to 3 double-spaced pages per session. Rather than edit papers, we pinpoint patterns of errors and show you how to fix them. Writers should be aware that some grammar questions are best addressed in face-to-face consultations.
  • Expect to receive a written, 1-2 page response to your paper addressing a few areas for growth and improvement.
  • Since it can take anywhere from 24-72 hours (excluding weekends) to receive a response, please plan accordingly.
  • We respond to e-mails on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have an approaching due date, be sure to submit your draft to us several days before the deadline—this allows writers the opportunity to revise their work before submitting it to their instructors. Please keep in mind that we get a high volume of e-mail consultations during finals week, so it is wise to plan ahead.

If you would like to visit us in The Writing Center

Boise State Writing Center We are located in the Liberal Arts Building in Room 200 (across from the Albertsons Library and next to the Administration Building).

You can schedule an appointment using our online scheduler on our website (writingcenter.boisestate.edu), or you can come into the Writing Center in person. If you have any questions, you can email us at writing@boisestate.edu.

ALBERTSONS LIBRARY

Albertsons Library

Question: Can you graduate from college without using the library? Maybe, but why would you want to?

The Boise State Albertsons Library has a wide variety of resources available to help you succeed. Best of all, many of these resources and services can be accessed remotely, no need to even step foot inside the building. This is especially great for eCampus students because they may live quite a distance from the physical building.

What kinds of resources are available from a distance you ask?

  • Online access to academic articles and databases
  • Research assistance from genuine reference librarians
  • Check out a variety of eBooks
  • View Streaming videos and music

  • Watch “how-to” instructional videos
  • Citation assistance and tutorials
  • Dedicated subject guides and distance services
  • and much much more!

If you’re looking to learn even more about the library and want to earn an elective credit in the process, check out the online course UNIV 106:Library Research. This course is an introduction to the library research process and to the basic tools a student needs to succeed in coursework at Boise State University and beyond. Through this course you will gain proficiency using electronic and print library resources and learn about information in a societal context.

So there you have it, there a lots of ways the Boise State Albertsons Library can help you succeed. But don’t just take our word for it, check out the Albertsons Library today!

BE ALERT, INFORMED, AND PREPARED WITH BRONCOALERT

Storms, power outages, campus closures; these are just a few of the emergencies that can impact day-to-day life on a university campus. You may think that as an eCampus student, an emergency on the main Boise State campus doesn’t impact you but this would be a mistake.

Events that impact the day-to-day operations of campus staff and faculty will indirectly impact you as a student. A power outage will make some transactions difficult, and others impossible. If a server is down, you might not be able to access your online class, turn in assignments, view grades, or contact your instructor.

Luckily, the BroncoAlert system exists to notify you of emergencies that impact campus operations (like campus closures or power outages) and situations that pose a threat to your well-being (such as extreme weather conditions).

So don’t delay, opt-in to BroncoAlert today!

“BroncoAlert subscribers can expect timely warnings upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus. Notifications may include important, up to the minute information on where to go, where not to go, and what actions to take.”
Boise State Emergency Alert System

RESUMES, INTERVIEWS, AND JOBS – OH MY!

Career Center Staff

Boise State is here to support you from admission through graduation and beyond! How’s that you ask? Simple, the Career Center! With the support of the staff at the Career Center you can have a ticket to success.

Boise State Career Center

Career Center services are available to enrolled students and alumni of Boise State University. The Career Center’s purpose is to help you create an intentional college experience to successfully transition from college to career. To accomplish this staff focus on these four services:

  1. Career decision making and planning
  2. Part-time on- and off-campus job search (including work study)
  3. Internship advising
  4. Career job search or graduate school process

Let the Career Center help you find the career of your dreams!

Career Decision Making and Planning

Take advantage of these services to:

  • Talk with a Career Counselor to explore values, interests, abilities, and skills. If you are out of the area, you can schedule a phone appointment.
  • Take a career self-assessment online to determine potential career choices. A Career Counselor will give you log-in information during your first appointment and then interpret for you and discuss next steps during your follow-up appointment.
  • Conduct online research on potential careers to determine job outlook, job descriptions, salary information and educational requirements, etc.
  • Work with a Career Counselor to develop an action plan to meet your career goals.

Part-time on/off-campus job search

Or you can:

  • Find part-time job opportunities either on- or off-campus on BroncoJobs, the online job posting system for Boise State students and alumni. Log in or register for an account here online at https://boisestate-csm.symplicity.com/students/ or visit http://career.boisestate.edu/ and select the BroncoJobs logo.
  • But before you apply, make yourself a more competitive candidate by meeting with a Career Counselor for assistance with the job search process, resume and cover letter writing, and interviewing practice.

Internship Advising

An internship is an opportunity to receive academic credit for practical work experience in a chosen field of study and provides hands-on learning outside of the classroom.

  • Search for internship openings through BroncoJobs.
  • For information regarding internships, the registration process, a list of department internship coordinators, and to search past internships Visit the Career Center Internships web page.
  • You can also meet with a Career Counselor for advice on finding an internship and for assistance with your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills.

Career Job Search

At the Career Center you can:

  • Receive assistance in developing your resume and cover letter.
  • Hone your interviewing skills through a video-recorded mock interview.
  • Refine your job search skills, locate job listings, and discuss employment opportunities.
  • Learn how to use social media to establish an effective online presence. Develop a plan to network your way to success.
  • Use BroncoJobs to locate job listings and on-campus interviewing opportunities.
  • Attend Career Fairs and other Career Center events that connect you with employers.

Graduate School

Career Counselors are available for you to discuss the decision to attend graduate school and to learn about application tips and strategies.

For more information or to make an appointment with the Career Center call 208.426.1747

Phone appointments are available to students who live out of the area.

How else can you get in touch?

Email: career@boisestate.edu
Location: 1464 University Dr, Room 111 (east of the Student Union Building across from Campus Recreation)
Website: http://career.boisestate.edu/

Connect with the Career Center on Social Media!

STUDENTS CONNECT TO BOISE STATE WITH TECHNOLOGY

Connect, Learn, Succeed at Boise State  with technology

At Boise State University, students are surrounded by opportunities to connect through technology both in and out of the classroom.

Boise State offers fully online courses and programs, but also integrates technology into the more traditional classroom setting, in addition to a variety of student supports.

Gone are the days of waiting in long lines to submit applications, register for classes, apply for financial aid, or pay a bill.

The myBoiseState Students Center gives students the power to maintain practically every aspect of their student account from accepting financial aid and registering for classes to tracking degree progress and applying for graduation.

Have a group project? Use one of the many collaboration tools available in the Google Apps for Education suite to create documents and presentations in real-time. Need to do some research but can’t make it to the library? The Albertsons Library staff has you covered! Access a variety of collections, databases, and journals all online. Boise State even offers free access to online tutoring in a variety of subjects.

Learn more about how Boise State uses technology to help students connect, learn, and succeed during National Distance Learning Week!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014: Connect, Learn, Succeed! Student Open House
  • 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. in Student Union Building Atrium, join us and learn about all the ways students can connect to classes, resources, and support through technology. There will be demonstrations and information from the Albertsons Library, Advising & Academic Enhancement, Office of Information Technology, Career Center, eCampus Center, Registrar’s Office, Student Media and more!
Thursday, November 13, 2014: Connecting Veterans to Career and Community
  • 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the Student Union Building Simplot Rooms BD, Boise State representatives will be available to connect potential and current veteran students to all the resources available at Boise State including admission, academic advising, major and career selection, resume building, the job search process, and online resources. Students can contact Lori Sprague in Veteran Services at 426-3744 for questions or more information.