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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Undecided about your major?

Undecided about your major?

There are students who know exactly what they want to study in college and what their career goal is. However, despite what you may hear from friends or family, many students do not know what major they want. Even 50% those who have selected a major end up changing their major; some students even do so two or three times. 

Many colleges offer the option to enter the college as an "Undecided" or "Undeclared" major. There is no shame in selecting this as your entering "major". Colleges/universities with a wide-range of majors (often called liberal arts colleges), like Kean University,  offer you the opportunity to take time to decide upon with what major you want graduate. There is a core curriculum or general education courses that fulfill the degree requirements of all or most majors. You will therefore have the opportunity to take courses from various discipline, some of which you may have never encountered,  which can help you decide which fields of study you like, find interesting, and in which you can excel. 

Your faculty and/or program academic advisors, the college career office (called Career Development and Advancement at Kean University) can provide you with guidance in deciding with what major you want to graduate. keep in mind that  major could lead you to many possible careers or that a specific career could be attained via a number of majors.

 Here are a few tips to help get you started on your journey to deciding upon a major:

Do take interest inventory test.

Consult with your career center (Career Development and Advancement at Kean University)  to arrange to take any of a number of paper and pencil or computerized tests to help you hone in on where your interests lie and how they match up with professionals in already on the job and for help in interpreting the results.

What’s your passion? 
  • What do you really care about?
  • In what subjects do you excel? 
  • What is more important to you-money or self-fulfillment? 
  • Do you prefer to work with people, data, or things? 
  • How long do you want to be in college or graduate school?
  • Finish this sentence: Others who know you well think you would be successful as a ...
Research majors and careers.
There are many books to review and online sources to research to help you find out more about majors and careers. The College Board is one free online source for information about majors and careers: The Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance (available in college and public libraries) and the Occupational Outlook Handbook are two other worthy resources for your research. 

Research degree requirements. 
Closely review the required courses, especially the major courses,  for degrees in majors in which you find that you have an interest. Your faculty advisor or the Dean's office can direct you to this information or you can probably find this information on the college website (at Kean University, the "curriculum guidesheets" and "four-year plans" will be your resources for this information and can be found online at 

Seek out assistance
  • Visit you college career center (Career Development and Advancement at Kean University.
  • Consult with your favorite faculty and your faculty or academic advisors  
  • Discuss your dreams for your future with your freshman seminar instructor (your T2K instructor at Kean University). 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Be Prepared for What College Brings

Be Prepared for What College Brings 

College brings a higher level of expectations for coursework, more responsibilities,  additional freedom, and increased personal accountability. 

Recently, in an  AskReddit thread, redditor Sic_vita_est asked "What should a high school senior know before going to college?"
200 of the best replies were posted. See below for some of the answers:
You are a different person in college:
"You're not a cool kid anymore. When you go to college, everyone resets to zero..."machinehead933
"Very often High School Superstar turns into College Degenerate, and High School Loser turns into Life Of The Party."Dreadgoat
"The day after you graduate high school, your social standing in the class hierarchy no longer applies. It's a clean slate so don't act like you're the big man on campus." —xeskind30
Be social and make new friends:
"Make some friends. Even if they're just a semester buddy to help you with a class, it'll help. College is something you can do by yourself, but you'll lose a lot of sleep and hair."DolitehGreat

"College classes aren't like high school classes. They can be hard. You need to have friends in your classes to study with and to help you out when you don't know what you're doing. This can be vital." —Crepe_Cod
Attend networking events:
"This is just as important as going to class will be for the rest of your college career. Seriously, friendships are forged and memories are made at these stupid things. You'll still be talking about these events four years later at graduation."
"It is really tempting to settle in and nest when you first get there — unpacking your stuff, sorting out your room, etc. SKIP IT. It can wait a couple days while you run around campus doing random nonsense." —purplepeapod

Your professors are not your parents:
"Professors are there to teach the material and help your understanding of the material. They are not there to tell you that you're special, that you can do anything, or spoon feed you answers." —slyscafe
Invest in your professors:
"I think getting to know professors is something most people don't realize is as beneficial as it is. This isn't just a 'know their names' because I had those. But I got close with a few teachers, and even though I wasn't an A student, they gave me good letters of recommendation. And their office was always open to me for advice, chatting, or homework help for other classes." —namer98
Get an internship:
"I interned for three out of my four years and had so many job offers after college it was insane. It gets you knowledgeable in your field, typically gives you money (don't settle on unpaid internships, they're a joke), and can give you 1-4 years of work experience which will influence your paycheck and job offers right out of college."
"I easily made double what my friends made (had 3 years of real experience), and got offers where others were still unemployed trying to desperately break into the mark. For my last year I actually was able to claim my paid internship as credits toward my degree. It's a win-win." —Scyth3
Get hired:
"I studied engineering, but while my other classmates were excelling in class and getting way better grades than me I held a job for 2.5 years (as a videographer), joined a service fraternity, and lead a local volunteer group, and got a 3-month internship."
"I was one of the first of all my graduating classmates to get a job even though others had much higher grades. So hold any type of job, find leadership positions in anything, and have a great time in college." —ivegotagoldenticket
Increase your writing skills:
"A great idea and thesis doesn't mean a thing if you can't communicate the message. Seriously, learn to write well. It will help you the rest of your life for any white collar career." —b_tight
Gain an understanding of student loans and what they mean for your future:
"Student loans are no joke. If someone had impressed upon me the reality of starting my adult life with $100k in debt, and specifically what the monthly cost of that debt vs. what my realistic salary expectations would be, I'd have completely reconsidered how I approached college." —Gingerinthesun
Take your academics seriously:
"If you lose it, you are screwed. I knew exactly what grade number I needed in each class every semester to keep my 3.25 average and not lose my scholarship." —hpstrprgmr
Get up when the alarm rings:
"Put your alarm on the opposite side of the room. It forces you to walk when you wake up in the morning, and by the time you get there you should realize you need to stay awake." —Aptimako
Always go to class:
If you skip a class, is suddenly seems so appealing and easy to skip next class. And next's week's classes. Until you realize you haven't been to class in weeks. Don't skip class the first time." detritusinsideus

"Go to class. This is important for two reasons: (1) Just being there, whether actively participating or not, is half the battle. You will pick up much more than you think just being present. Thus, "cramming" for finals isn't so terrible later. (2) Your professor will know who you are and that you are always in class. This may come in handy if you get sick/have an emergency situation later that prevents attendance when it is mandatory or are late on an assignment. Professors who know you are much more likely to cut you some slack than someone who is just a name on their roster with out a face."labarrister

"Go to class. You have to take responsibility for your own future now. It's up to you whether you want to sleep all day or be successful in life. Make the right choice, even if it's the hard one."
"This is really, really hard to do when you have calculus at 9 a.m., but you just have to do it. Skipping class can be OK sometimes, but you should never make it a habit." —Punksworth

Try something new:
"Do things that you never would have done in high school. Do things that fall way outside your comfort zone. Do it because you can and because you'll never know what you love if you don't find it. And you find it by doing new things. I grew up with a mindset that you either did something perfect or you didn't do it at all. And I was scared to try new things. Go out and do new things. This is very sound advice." — StickleyMan
Adapted from:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Your To-Do List Before You Start College

Your To-Do List Before You Start College

Use your summer months wisely to make the most of college in the fall:

Plan your summer. 
Set your alarm clock every morning, Plan your day. It will be easier to get up for your early morning classes if you didn't sleep in every day during the summer. 

Look for a paying job, a paid or unpaid internship or job shadowing (even high school students can get internships), or volunteer work for the summer Start building your resume now. 


Do some online research into the college major you have chosen and the careers associate with it. Having a goal in sight will keep you motivated during your college studies. Get on the email lists of the professional associations for your field of study. 
Read for both enjoyment and for college. Pick up some interesting books and read for fun   during the summer. Buy your college textbooks for your fall classes and review them. 
Plan your finances. 
You will need to budget your expenses in the fall so start doing it in the summer. Pay attention to what money you have and how you are spending it. 
Live a healthy lifestyle. 
Staying up late at night during each day of the summer, eating junk food, and partying will leave you drained before the semester even starts. Leave late nights for the weekends only. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up the same time every day. Eat healthy foods-you don't want the notorious "Freshman 15" pounds added to your weight before you even start your college classes. 
Spend time with family and friends. 

Be thankful for the friends and family you have and express your appreciation. You may need to seek out support from them during your first semester or two at college. T

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I didn't get into any four-year college! What do I do now?

I didn't get into any four-year college! What do I do now? 

It is not the end of the world if you are not admitted into a four-year college straight out of high school, although you may think it is. Many students find themselves in this situation. However, there is an alternative if you are determined to go to college. 

Here are some reason why starting college at a community college may make sense for you: 
  1. In New Jersey, community colleges have "open admission". The fact that you perhaps need more time to become a great student is recognized by community colleges. You will be admitted into the college even if your cumulative GPA and SAT and/or ACT scores were not the greatest. 
  2. Compared to a public four-year New Jersey college, you can cut college tuition almost in half or even more if you attend a community college for two years. You can also live at home, cutting your costs for room and board. 
  3. If you are not sure what specific major you might want to have, going to a community college gives you the time to explore your interests and passion. You can then select what college you want to transfer to by selecting a college that has the major, internships, co-operative education, etc. that you want during your college studies. 
  4. You may find that community college class sizes may be smaller providing more individual attention to students. 
  5. You will have proven yourself academically at the community college, thereby making you a student who will be more likely to graduate and therefore, more desirable to four-year colleges.  
  6. If you attend a New Jersey community college and transfer to a four-year New Jersey college, you can be assured that your courses will be accepted for transfer to your four-year degree. Check out below what it says on the the website and the website: 

Students can now seamlessly transfer their academic credits from a completed community college Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program to a Bachelor’s degree program at New Jersey’s public four-year colleges and universities. Associate in Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) degrees, which typically prepare students to enter a career, are not covered by the new transfer law with one exception. Due to an amendment passed in January 2010, participants of the New Jersey Pathways Leading to a College Education (NJ PLACE) program who graduate with an A.A.S. in Technical Studies are covered under the transfer law as of January 2011.
While the law does not cover New Jersey’s private colleges and universities, many of those institutions have established similar policies that allow community college graduates to transfer with full junior standing.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Oh, No! I didn't get into my college of choice! Now what do I do?

Oh, No! I am a good student 
and I didn't get into my college of choice! 

You achieved high GPA and good SAT or ACT scores. You applied to the colleges you most wanted to attend. Unfortunately, you then got the bad news that you were not admitted into your college of first choice, or perhaps you were not admitted into any of the colleges you selected. Now what do you do?

First, be aware of some general reasons why you may not have been admitted. While these reasons may not specifically apply to you or the colleges you want to attend, they may have had an impact on your admission: 
  1. The pool of high school graduates is growing larger. According to the National Center for Education Statistics. in Fall 2013, a record 21.8 million students attended American colleges and universities which was an increase of about 6.5 million since Fall 2000.
  2. Colleges are also becoming more selective. College and university officials tend to be pleased when their institution's ranking makes it appear to be more selective and therefore, more appealing, than ever. The trend for colleges to become increasingly selective appears to hold true whether or not the college received increasing numbers of applications or not. 
  3. Students tend to be selected for admission if they seem more likely to actually enroll in classes after being admitted. 
  4. The large numbers of applications requires rejections from admission; there simply aren't enough classroom seats to admit every good student who applies. 
  5. Colleges are being  pressured to increase the numbers of students who remain in  and who graduate from college. Because student loan debt has become so large, nationwide, legislators are pressuring colleges to be accountable for student loan debt. In New Jersey,  a comprehensive package of bills was introduced to reduce the number of students who go into debt due to student loans, but who may not even complete their college degree. Colleges are being pushed to improve graduation rates and therefore, are being more careful in the admission of students who appear to be more likely to remain in college to graduation .   

Monday, April 7, 2014

Registering for your first college classes

Registering for your first college classes
You were admitted to college, already took the placement test, and submitted your tuition deposit. What about registering for your courses?
  • Some colleges register you for your first courses based on your placement test results and your major, so you need do nothing in terms of registration, except, of course, pay your tuition bill. 
  • If you are a student in a "Bridge" program or one that begins in the Summer, you may also be registered for your first courses for the summer, without any effort on your end. For example, students admitted into Kean University's EEO/EOF Program will have their courses registered for them already before they attend the required EEO/EOF Orientation on June 26, 4:00-8:00 p.m., to begin those courses during the Pre-Freshman Summer Academy, which will run Monday-Thursday, July 1-August 12th, 2014. 
  • You will receive an invitation to register for your Fall classes at college. At some colleges, this is before a required Orientation and at others, it is after Orientation or perhaps even during Orientation. No matter the method, you will either be invited to register for your courses online or in-person. At Kean university, our students register in-person before Orientation. 
  • For the best selection of courses, try to register as early as you can. Even so, you will be registering after current students have registered, so the availability of courses will already be somewhat limited.
  • During registration advisement. you will be assisted by a professional or a peer student in selecting your classes and schedule. 
  • Be aware that the first courses for which you will register will be either developmental courses that count as a credit during the semester you are taking them, or college-level classes that do count towards your degree requirements, or a combination of both. It all depends on how well you did on the placement test or if you were waived from placement testing due to your SAT/ACT scores. 
  • Just like that old saying, "too many cooks spoil the broth", it is in your best interest to be without parents when you register for your courses. Your parents have good intentions in advising you to take certain courses, but probably do not know all the ins and outs of course registration and degree requirements. Sometimes there are family meetings or orientations that your parents can attend instead. 
  • Plan to attend classes Monday through Friday. Most freshman, and in fact most students, find it difficult, if not impossible, to try to register for class sections that would allow one or more days off during the week. 
  • Try to have down time in between classes so that you have time for studying, researching, eating meals, or just relaxing in between your classes. Unlike high school, your days will be intense and some break in between classes will help you limit your stress. 
  • If you will be living on campus, consider taking one or two classes at night. This may allow you to block some studying, researching, mealtimes, or just time for a breather into your daily schedule. You are on campus anyway, so make good use of your time. 
  • If you are not alert in the morning, try not to register for classes with the earliest morning start time (usually 8:00 or 8:30 a.m.). Why set your self up for trouble? Of course, if your get tired in the evening, try to avoid evening classes for the same reasons. 
  • Be aware that you may have no choice and may be forced to take courses during a time that is not ideal for you. You will have the summer to train yourself to wake up earlier or stay up later (although the latter is usually not a problem for most teenagers). You can set your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier each day during the summer until you reach the time you will need to wake up to get to your classes on time; then wake up every morning at that time. Some people find that drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning can help you be more alert.
  • After registration, make sure that you pay your tuition bill on time and have all your paperwork straight with the Financial Aid office so that your courses are not deleted. 
  • Check with your college to see which books you will need for your classes. At Kean University, you can do this through the Kean Wise system. You can then order your books from an online source where you might find that they are less costly than those you can order through the campus bookstore. However, take note that purchasing books online will probably not allow for them to be paid with financial aid monies. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

To commute or not to commute...that is the question!

To commute or not to commute...that is the question!
It is a fact that the majority of students who go to college in New Jersey commute to college. If you are thinking of living on campus, consider the facts: 
  • Be aware! The cost of living on campus can almost double your cost of attending college. This is important to remember. Although most college students want to experience what it's like to have more independence and live away from home, think about whether it  will be worth living away from home if you have to take student loans to do so. The four years spent at college pass very quickly, but student loans must be paid off for 10 or more years. It may be more valuable to you to exert your independence by spending a lot of time at college while commuting there, instead of living at college. 
  • On the other hand, most commuters find that they need to travel to campus early to get a parking space before classes, since parking is limited at just about all colleges. 
  • If you decide that you do want to live on campus, you need to apply for on-campus housing early. At all the New Jersey campuses, on-campus housing is limited, since most to the students are commuters. If you are thinking of living on campus, your best bet is to apply for housing early, before you miss out. 
  • However, be aware that most colleges have a non-refundable housing deposit. At Kean University, the deadline date for applying for and submitting your deposit for on-campus housing is May 1, 2014. 
  • If you want more detailed information about on-campus housing for the Fall and Spring semesters at Kean University, visit the webpage for the Office of Residence Life