• Set Yourself Ahead by Taking Classes During Summer or Winter Break

    by McKinley Falkowski

    A young Black college professor stands in front of the classroom with his back to a green chalkboard. Several students seated in front of him are raising their hands.

    Let’s be honest, the idea of winter or summer break and schoolwork don’t go together. Summers are supposed to be for the beach, and winter for skiing. But there are numerous advantages to taking courses during the winter or summer break. Taking winter or summer classes can set you ahead and make life easier for you in the fall or spring semesters. I will explore four key reasons why taking winter or summer courses can be advantageous to you.

    1. Fewer classes during the fall or spring semester – Depending on your financial aid circumstances, taking a class or two during the break may help you rebalance how many classes you are taking in the fall or spring semester. This can mean that you don’t need to overload yourself during those semesters by trying to fill your schedule with as many classes as possible. Additionally, it can help you out by allowing you to focus on those harder classes you signed up for. For example, if you know you need to take organic chemistry and calculus, why take those in the same semester when you can take the classes in a longer period you so can have ample time to devote to those two difficult classes.
    2. Knock out a prerequisite course or two and get into the upper-level classes – Taking a winter or summer course will allow you to get into those upper-level classes much faster as usually they offer prerequisite courses during these semesters. Getting into the upper-level classes sooner may be advantageous because it may open up opportunities to internships and future research with professors as they look for students who have taken certain courses and have ample time left during their university studies. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of winter or summer classes is that they often do not take place in a packed lecture hall! This provides a greater opportunity to develop a rapport with a professor or TA.
    3. Keep your mind in the academic groove – I have often found it difficult to transition back into the “academic groove” during the first couple weeks of the fall or spring semester when I had not taken a winter or summer course. Up until that first exam, I wouldn’t devote the necessary time needed to fully grasp material and would in some cases fall behind for the remainder of the semester as I didn’t have complete understanding of material. Taking a winter or summer course has allowed my mind to remain in that groove and I also found it easier to concentrate, and devote the necessary time needed for material during the entirety of fall and spring semesters.
    4. You can still do all the activities you want to do with good time management – With good time management, all the skiing and beach trips are still possible even when you have academic commitments. Unless its an online course, you won’t be able to go away for a weeklong vacation, but it is still possible to do so many thrilling and relaxing activities. My tips for having good time management are to use a calendar, designate time each week to focus on each course, and write down all your assignment due dates together so you see what is coming up.

    Winter and summer classes sound like the worst-case scenario for a break. But they can be worth it and set you ahead for future success!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Major Spotlight: Dietetics

    by Kerri-Ann Henry

    Two college students standing in front of a bookcase with cookbooks and cooking equipment. They are both wearing face masks and the student on the left is also wearing a headscarf.

    A confused look followed by “what is that?” is often the response that I get when I tell others that my major is dietetics. Simply put, dietetics is the profession of nutrition. Dietitians have essential roles in many areas; however, many are unaware that the profession even exists. Dietetics is one example of a “found” major, meaning that many discover the major after entering college and many even discover the profession after graduating and come back for another bachelor’s degree! Dietetics is a unique and rewarding major for anyone interested in helping others to thrive and live better and healthier lives starting from their diet!

    Dietetics and Dietitians Defined

    As previously stated, dietetics is the profession of human nutrition. Dietetics translates and applies the science of food and nutrition to the health and well-being of individuals and groups. Professionals who actively practice dietetics are known as Registered Dietitians (RD), also known as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

    Myth Buster: Registered Dietitian = Nutritionist

    Not at all! Registered Dietitians (RD) should not be confused with nutritionists (or health coaches). A nutritionist does not have accreditation, rather it is a self-proclaimed title, hence they have no legal protection or acceptance as an expert in the field. Often nutritionists will take a certificate course and claim to be an expert which may be detrimental to potential clients with diseases and illnesses who need proper medical nutrition therapy (MNT) that a registered dietitian is qualified and trained to provide.

    RD’s are employed in a variety of settings such as hospitals, health care facilities, government agencies, companies, schools, and universities, and the list continues. The main practice areas that dietitians are often categorized into are clinical, food service, and community.

    Types of Dietitians and Their Scope of Practice

    Clinical dietitians work alongside doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in health care settings serving as the nutrition expert on the team. Clinical dietitians screen and treat malnutrition in patients, order tube feedings (enteral nutrition) for patients unable to eat by mouth. They also specialize in nutrition management of a variety of chronic diseases such as kidney disease, heart disease, and intestinal diseases.

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  • Inclusive Access to Education Impacts Economic Mobility

    by Disha Dave

    Graphic showing raised hands of varying flesh tones. Each has a heart on the palm.

    A great part of how we live our day to day lives is dependent on a number of factors from the area we live in, the schools we go to, to even things like the economy and the opportunities that are present to us. The McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility has published two insightful articles on the great importance and need for inclusive access to education and economic mobility for Black people.

    There is an overdue need for making sure there is equity in the opportunities given to Black people and people of color. Even though there are equal rights policies and changes in our system, it is still not fully equipped to take the people that were once pushed into the endless cycle of disproportional poverty and discrimination for generations.

    In Investing in Black Economic Mobility, Diane Brady and Shelley Stewart have an insightful discussion on racial equity and inclusive growth. With the recovery of the economy and economic mobility post-pandemic, racial equity and inclusive growth of businesses are the key driving factors in this change. This is much easier said than done as there have historically been gaps in Black economic mobility that put people at a disadvantage from the time of slavery to segregation, and to even present day, as mentioned by Stewart.

    Even though there have been changes instilled in our system to bring educational and social gains for Black people, the wealth gaps are still disproportionate as Black families are said to make only one-tenth of what a white family makes. With that being said, it is crucial to invest in Black entrepreneurships and businesses as a way to influence change in economic mobility and also to provide for Black communities as there is inequity in the opportunities presented to them in order to close the racial wealth gap.

    The article How HBCUs Can Accelerate Black Economic Mobility looks at the critical roles HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) play in bringing opportunities of growth for Black Americans, as well as growth it brings to the US economy. According to the article, HBCUs have an average annual attendance of about 300,000 students per year with more than 100 institutions across the nation that identify as an HBCU. Since HBCUs offer an abundance of scholarships and acceptances supporting low-income families, more Black students of all socioeconomic statuses are able to have the opportunities to go to college.

    HBCUs are one of the driving forces that can promote economic growth by expanding opportunities for Black workers, as well as opportunities for Black businesses and entrepreneurships. This connects to the previous article as this is a major way where Black people and communities are able to achieve more economic mobility as well as close the racial wealth gap.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Towards a More Equal World

    by Mariam Ameha

    A graphic with the word ‘inequality’ and a pencil erasing ‘in’.

    Inequality and Injustice in Society 

    No one is a stranger to the constant bombardment of the news on the inequalities and injustices that Black Americans face in our society. These, of course, are not limited to the U.S; but what we often find is that even in these universally experienced issues, there is much left to be done to truly mend them and their causes. They are all issues deeply rooted into the nature of humanity, to the point where no matter what one does to overcome them, they seem to be brought back to life. Surface issues are given surface solutions, but these deep-rooted issues need a more structural approach. 

    A Change to the Better

    Spilled milk is spilled milk, no matter how much you huff and puff about it. The happy news is we seem to be less and less in a position to have to huff and puff. We are experiencing a spontaneous collective movement, no matter how limited in scope, that aims to reduce these inequalities and further a level playing ground for all, regardless of the color of their skin or the tongue they speak in.

    Private and public sectors are slowly but surely dealing with these structural issues. The private industry has recognized the losses caused by underinvesting in the black community, so there are now firms that have started utilizing the talent members of the community provide which uplift the black population in the U.S. Needless to say, education is at the core for these inequalities. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been playing a crucial role in improving the wellbeing of Black Americans.

    Uplift one, uplift all.

    Shelley Stewart from McKinsey and Company, one of many private companies joining the fight against inequality, beautifully put the value of this fight by framing the issue regardless of economic or ideological background. “No matter what your school of economic thought, everyone agrees that fostering human capital and investing in people to unlock productivity is one of the most available levers we have” noted Stewart. And it is that lever that makes all the difference for everyone. 

    Reference: How HBCUs can accelerate Black economic mobility

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Haven’t We All Been Home-Schooled?

    by Ana Cooper

    Two girls sit on a front porch bench holding first day of school signs. The front girl holds a Kindergarten sign and the older girl holds a Freshman sign. There is a tall stack of books between them.

    Before starting college, I was homeschooled my whole life. I sometimes feel homeschooled students face unfair stereotypes. However, that seemed to change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since almost every student and teacher in the world had to shift to remote learning, they got a taste of being “homeschooled”. Even then, some still have misconceptions concerning homeschoolers and homeschooling itself, so I’d like to share my experience.

    Homeschool is Not a Solitary Learning Experience

    On the contrary, homeschoolers get to spend more time with friends that they choose while doing recreational activities. Many local homeschooling communities provide field trips to museums, parks, historical sites, have yearbook committees, various clubs, and hold dances. Homeschoolers are very social and involved in their communities. Because homeschoolers are not age segregated, they often deal with multiple ages and personalities and have great interpersonal skills.

    Many Influential Figures Were Homeschooled

    Did you know that many of the U.S. Presidents and founding fathers were homeschooled? They have contributed extensively to society and put together the greatest country in the world. Thomas Edison’s mother homeschooled him because his schoolteacher said that Thomas was “addled”. Check out this list of other famous authors and scientists who were homeschooled: C.S. Lewis, Winston Churchill, J. R. R. Tolkien, the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, G. W. Carver, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, and Louisa May Alcott.

    Independent Learning is Embraced

    Homeschoolers are trained to be independent and active learners from an early age. Because they have to work independently, they develop the good study habits which carry them through college and beyond. In general, college freshmen can struggle with time management during their first semester, but many homeschoolers tend to have an easier transition because of their established habits. Many colleges these days seek homeschooled students because they know they can be successful. These same skills and qualities of active learners are carried into the workforce as well.

    Did I ‘Miss Out’ on a Traditional High School Experience?

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  • Discovering Your Best Learning Techniques Leads to Academic Success

    by Kaitlin Hung

    A close-up of a student’s study area including an iPad, highlighters, and note paper with math problems.

    Growing up, I was always surrounded by smart friends who continuously scored full marks on assignments and exams. I, on the other hand, scored average or below and constantly felt at a loss when I used the same learning and studying techniques as my peers, but didn’t score as well as them. It wasn’t until late in my high school career that I figured out how to do just as well as others by using a different learning technique.

    Out with the old….

    During one of my biology classes, I noticed that even though I was listening to everything the teacher was saying, my brain lagged like an old laptop running low on battery. By the time I processed the first topic, the teacher was already discussing content from three topics later. I felt I needed a way to have more time to process new information, so I started playing around with learning techniques.

    ….in with the new

    I’d always thought that learning all the material consecutively, or in one sitting, was the best way to learn. But this study method made me less likely to pay attention or remember the content. In exploring alternative methods, I figured out I could find YouTube videos on the topic area I was studying, and I could pause or adjust the speed, plus read the captions. This allowed me to learn the same material, but at my own pace. I would never be “behind”.

    I also learned that taking short breaks in between videos or study sessions seemed to “recharge” my learning capability. Instead of beating myself up over not remembering everything during a long study session, I would reward myself for what I could remember with a break for as long as I deemed necessary.

    Putting it all together

    I later found out that there are different learning styles, such as auditory, spatial, and linguistic, for each person. I researched more about it, took a few online tests, and decided to pick up more techniques that catered towards my specific learning style.

    Since I am not an auditory learner, it was hard for me to retain everything a teacher said in class. But I could spend more time reading the provided textbook to fill in information I missed in a lecture. If I couldn’t properly visualize a concept, I would look up videos or images to help me do so. Instead of continuing to feel like a failure for not understanding things when others around me could, I found ways that worked best for me.

    Although it was sometimes tedious, investing time in discovering how I learn and retain information helped me build confidence as a student and achieve academic success.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us - click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • The Benefits of Taking Summer Classes

    by Kiara Lozano

    An open laptop sitting on a table beside an iced coffee drink, writing pads and pens.

    After freshman year, I was so excited to finally have a break. No classes and no responsibilities. I mean who doesn’t want to enjoy their summer after a year of hard work?

    The truth is even though you need a break, taking one or two additional classes during the summer isn’t a bad idea. It can be manageable and very rewarding. I will admit at first I was not easily persuaded, but after my first summer class I was astonished at how easy, convenient, and beneficial it really was. In fact, the summer after my sophomore year I ended up taking four classes over the summer and am now on the path to graduating a semester early.

    Taking summer classes has been one of the most beneficial decisions I have made throughout my college career. Here are some of the reasons why I believe it is a great idea to take a few extra classes whenever you can.

    Save Money

    Summer session courses typically cost less than if you were to take them during the regular school semester and community college courses cost even less. There are also many scholarships available for students interested in taking summer classes that you can apply for.

    Graduate Early

    Taking summer classes do not need to take up all your time. Even just taking one or two every summer can help you graduate early. I recommend taking one in both June and July or doing an intersession to get ahead and not get burned out. By graduating early, not only are you saving money, but you have more time to get ahead in your career or have some off time before you start your job post college.

    Add Credentials

    A different benefit summer classes provide is allowing you to fit more credentials into your college career without adding extra years. Taking some classes during the summer could free up space in your schedule during the regular semesters to add a minor or even a double major.

    Shorter Duration

    Most summer classes are 5 weeks long and the intersessions classes around 2 weeks. Since you are most likely not taking a semester worth of courses, you have more time to focus on the given subject. You can finish classes faster, while still having time to do all the fun things summer has to offer. Sounds like a good deal to me!

    Flexibility

    Finding the format that’s best for you is important. Classes are offered various times throughout the summer, and you can take them in person, online, or asynchronous. Classes also don’t necessarily have to be with your university so if you find one at another university or local community college that fits your needs, get it approved and take it! Having different options is beneficial especially if you are planning a summer trip, work certain times, or simply prefer having more flexibility with your classes.

    Complete Harder Courses

    Finally, summer semesters or intersessions are a great way to tackle your more difficult courses. This allows you to have more time to focus on the subject without having to balance all the other aspects of a regular college semester. It is also a great opportunity to take the classes that are hard to get into, making sure that you get all the credits you need stress free.

    Taking summer classes is a great way to get those tough classes out of the way, get ahead, and save money while still having the flexibility and time to do all the fun summer activities! Don’t be afraid to utilize your time off to get ahead!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

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  • Planning the Perfect Schedule

    by Sydnie Ho

    A college student desk with laptop, notebook, planner, and an iced coffee.

    Have you registered for your classes next semester yet? If you are lucky, you will get all the classes you planned for. Other times, things might not go as planned. Here are some tips on how to plan the perfect schedule you might not have thought of before!

    Select class times that set you up for success

    People think that since they were able to wake up at 6am for high school, college will be the same. Let me tell you, it’s not! For some reason, waking up early in college is so much harder, so if you are genuinely not a morning person, do not register for 7am classes! Even if it is only 2x a week, you will regret it. Take into consideration when a good start time for your day is and build your schedule off of that.

    Plan for lunch breaks

    I like to register for classes that are back-to-back because I like getting all my classes out of the way, but I often forget about lunch! When this happens, I start losing focus and get hangry during classes. If this sounds like you, be sure to plan accordingly.

    Have backup classes

    Of course, we all hope to get our perfect schedule, but that does not always happen. There are 70k students at my school, so classes are bound to fill up fast! Sometimes you won’t get the section you want. Depending on your school, you might have a waitlist or be able to periodically check to see if someone dropped the class. Make sure you know the process and continually checking for updates. If you can’t get the class, have a backup plan for a class you can substitute in.

    Vary subjects and/or level of difficulty

    You don’t want to load all your challenging major classes in one semester. Mix it up with some of the hard classes and some of your easier classes or electives. If you are adding a minor or certificate, try to mix in some of those classes. You will be thankful to have some variance in what you are studying each week.

    Set an alarm for registration

    Make sure you set 1 or 2 or even 3 alarms before your registration time! One time I was out grocery shopping when my registration time came, and I had to do it from my phone. That caused me so much unnecessary stress. Make sure you are prepared to click that enroll button the second it’s time. You know everyone is doing the same so get ready!

    By keeping these things in mind, registration can be made easier and less stressful. Research your classes, plan well ahead of time, and have a backup plan. If you do not get all of your first-choice classes, know it will be okay. Sometimes the unexpected can be better than what you had planned! Good luck!

     

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