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Success in College Guide: Step 7 of 9

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Ask for advice

Having trouble with a class? Having second thoughts about your major? Having problems with your roommate? Sympathetic advice from your best friend, or your grandparents may be helpful, but sometimes advice from an expert can help solve the problem.

Administrators at your school want to see you succeed in college and have the knowledge to show you how it's done. Probably the best place to start is with your own Resident Advisor (or RA). If your RA isn't sure who to contact, then call your Academic Advisor. These two people on campus can assist with almost any question or problem you may encounter while attending school.

Major course of study


  1. Academic Advisor: Your academic advisor may be able to offer the following suggestions:
    • Classes that may not be as strenuous
    • Recommendations of a professor whose personality may be a better match for you.
    • Plan your classes for next year.
    • Help schedule for a job with your academic schedule.
    Can't remember who your advisor is? Don't worry: just go to your Academic Dean or the Department Chair for your major to find out who your advisor is.
  2. Career Planning Center: Explore your career options. Stop by the career planning office. People there will be able to share information about opportunities for graduates with your major, offer some suggestions for majors that might suit you better, and discuss career options for various majors.

Housing


  1. Resident Advisor (RA): Having roommate trouble? Is your dorm too noisy? Talk to your RA. He or she may be able to help you switch roommates or offer suggestions on how to find some quiet so you can get your studying done. RAs are usually students in their junior or senior year who've lived at your college for a few years and know the ins and outs of dorm life. It may pay off to stop and chat.
  2. Dean of Housing: Want to relocate? If you don't like where your dorm is located or, for some reason, you just don't like your dorm, ask the Dean of Housing to help you find a new place. If you're ready to move out of the dorms and into an apartment off-campus, ask for suggestions on apartment buildings nearby or rental agents who have rental information.

Trouble paying college expenses


  1. Financial Aid Office: If you're having a hard time paying your tuition or education-related expenses, stop by the Financial Aid Office on campus and speak to a counselor. If you haven't filled out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), be sure to do so! Ask the financial aid counselor about scholarships and websites that may help.
  2. Part-time jobs: Need extra money for school? Depending on your major, a part-time job can relieve some of the worries about having enough money to stay in school. If you have transportation, you could look at off-campus options (though you may prefer to stick by the campus so you can get back to studying as soon as you're done with work).

    Your school's Career Development Office probably has a continual up-to-date listing of part-time jobs available to students. Also check the classified ads in the campus newspaper, local newspapers, or online job postings.

Graduate early with summer school or extra credits


  1. Academic Advisor: If you want to accelerate or attend summer school, think ahead. Will all the courses you want to take be offered during the terms you want to take them? What are particular classes like when condensed into a summer term? What would the workload be like with that extra class? Your advisor can help answer all of these questions.
  2. Bursar's/Business Office: Contact the Bursar's or Business Office and find out what tuition and fees would be if you took more than the standard course load. Some schools charge more if you take more than the standard credits per semester. If you're considering summer courses, find out what the per-credit charge would be. Some colleges charge more for summer classes than they do for classes during the academic year.
  3. Financial Aid Office: If you take summer courses, how will that affect your financial aid eligibility for the academic year? What financial aid is available during the summer? Check with the Financial Aid Office.

Study-abroad and/or internship programs

Ask your academic advisor whether the study-abroad or internship program will count towards your degree requirements. Check with the Bursar's or Business Office to find out how much the study-abroad or internship program will cost. Is there any financial aid available while you're studying abroad or doing your internship? Be sure to talk with someone in the Financial Aid Office.

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