In their role as advisors, Lizbeth Marquez and Nick Malos help hundreds of students in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science navigate their way through college. Their goal is to help students succeed and ultimately earn their Oregon State degrees. According to a recent report from the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education, only 60 percent of college freshmen get a bachelor’s degree within six years. While there are many reasons students don’t complete their degrees, Lizbeth and Nick have some advice to offer to help you succeed.
- Get Organized
College can be different from high school in that high school teachers tend to lead you through all the homework and due dates. In college, the professors post the assignments — often for the entire semester — and expect you to be prepared. Get a planner, use a smart phone app, or get a wall calendar — whatever it takes for you to know when assignments are due.
- Find the right place to study
It may be your dorm room or a cozy corner of the library, but find a place that works best for you to get your work done — while avoiding as many distractions as possible. There are many places to go such as the MU, the Valley Library, your residence hall, or most buildings on campus!
- Seek a balance
College life can be chaotic with various academic and social events. Make sure you stay balanced and don’t overload yourself. One way you can do this is by visiting OSU’s Mind Spa.
- Get involved
You may feel overwhelmed with being homesick or feeling like you don’t belong. We encourage you to consider joining a student group (and be careful not to go overboard), whether it’s academic, religious, athletic, cultural, or social. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to OSU.
- Take advantage of the academic resources
Most schools and colleges offer study tables or have tutors available. If you’re having difficulty, these resources are another tool available to you. Another idea: Talk to your classmates about getting a group together to study.
- Explore your major and career options
It is important to remember there is no one “right” or “best” major. You should select a major that aligns with your skills, interests, and goals. Talking with a career counselor in the Career Development Center can help you explore the options. Don’t be afraid to change your major. It is estimated that about 80% of undergraduate students across the United States change their major at least once (National Center for Education Statistics, n.d.).
- Get to know your fellow students
It can feel intimidating at first, but it is important to get to know your fellow students because they can be a great resource. What better way to find others who share your same interests?
- Get to know your professors
Talk to your professors and attend their office hours. I promise they are not as scary as you might think. Professors are here to help you learn the material, challenge you to think outside the box, and further your understanding of the subject. They are also a great resource when you need letters of recommendation for scholarships, internships, or graduate school. Just remember, the better they know you, the easier it is for them to write a quality letter.
- Put in the time & effort
Some of the easiest ways to succeed include:
- Attend class
- Read the textbook and course material
- Give yourself enough time to study for exams
- Attend office hours when you need help
- Take advantage of campus resources such as the Engineering HUB, Mole Hole (Chemistry), Worm Hole (Physics), Math Learning Center, Writing Center, etc.
- Meet with your advisor
It is important to speak with your advisor early and often. They are the ones who will provide you with your registration pin number. But more than that, they can assist with course selection and planning; registration; understanding major and degree requirements; and navigating the processes to find extracurricular opportunities, internships, jobs, and more.