Hacking college is just the smart thing to do. Anything that can make your education easier to get, whether it’s more efficient studying, less cost, or a better social experience, will be important. Here are some get hacks to get the most out of your college experience.
Getting into a Top-Name School
This may not be important to some, but to others, going to a school that is recognized as one of the “upper tier” is important. And admissions guidelines in those schools are tight. The hack is to apply to schools that are known for academic areas that you are not going to major in. Are you a social sciences person? You might try applying to Dartmouth, which is known for its math and science programs. Fewer liberal arts students apply, and you increase your odds.
Get a Bunch of Credits on the Cheap
One of the best college tricks out there and one that will save you a lot of money is to get many credits on the cheap as possible before you ever set foot on campus. Take all of the AP courses you can get in high school, so you have as many college credits going in as possible. Also, explore other sources of credits before you enter that 4-year institution at all. Everyone knows that doing the first two years at a community college is a lot cheaper. But how many students know about the program set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that provides online coursework either at minimal cost or free? 40 colleges and universities around the country have agreed to accept up to 60 credit hours from this program – that is virtually ½ of your degree credits. You can even take these courses while you are in college, reducing your semester load and racking up those credits during the summers.
Getting the Most Compatible Roommate in Advance
Studies do show that a mismatch of roommates can negatively impact academic performance. Why take the chance? A lot of colleges still assign roommates randomly or ask just a few cursory questions before making those assignments. One of the best college dorm tips and tricks is to find your roommate in advance, and both of you request each other. You can do this by getting on sites such as Roomsurf.com. It’s like a dating service for roommates. Find yours!
Consider Entrepreneurship on the Side
While this may be thought of as geek tricks, because that is how Gates and Zuckerberg started, do not let a good idea for making money go wasted. Thousands of college students have begun businesses with the environment of academia and have ended up with thriving businesses by the end of their four years. If you need some inspiration, read the story of Jessica Eckstrom, who created “Headbands for Hope” while in college – yes, headbands. She now runs a multi-million dollar company that sells headbands and other gear for profit, but also for supporting cancer research and providing cute headbands for girls with cancer. Just an idea that determined the rest of her life.
Find “Open Textbooks”
Texts are horribly expensive. Instead of paying the price, here are a couple of search tips and tricks for finding the books you need or can use as alternatives. Check out the site, OpenStax, or Boundless. They have free digital copies of a huge number of titles that your professors may be requiring. And, in some instances, you can plug in the name of the text and get suggestions for free equivalents that cover the same content.
Struggling with Essays and Papers?
Every student does at some point. And most frustrating is spending time writing a paper on Shakespeare when you are a biology major and have written assignments in those courses. Find a good, professional online writing service that can take some of this load from you. Finding a good one is getting much easier because there are now websites dedicated to review of these companies, and you can find one that will not scam you.
Get as many devices as you can to assist with your studying. Take your devices to class and get pictures of what is on the board; if you are good at keyboarding, type rather than write your notes; use a digital highlighter. Get online and find free sites that will let you create flashcards – a much easier way to learn factual information, and you can create them on a daily basis after each lecture. And just the act of creating them cements that information a bit. Join study groups, wither on campus, or online. Misery loves company, and many students learn better in group settings.
So, there you have it – 7 hacks that will make college life easier. You’ll probably find many more once you get within those “hallowed halls,” but here’s a start.