Monday, October 12, 2009

Advice for undergraduate students

I recently re-wrote last year's "Advice for Undergraduate Students" document on helpful tips and advice about University life because the transition from high school to university can be a challenging experience. It's amazing how much more I have to say after only one year of CU-WISE and grad school. I included a few snippets from the document below and I strongly encourage you to check out the entire document. It can be found on our website under "Planet WISE" here.

The Carleton Student Academic Success Center (SASC) stated that the number one academic problem students face is procrastination. I am not surprised at all as I’ve been there and so has everyone else I studied with.

Attending class is important (and please remember to put your cell phone on silent and don’t answer it in class!). A survey done by engineers concluded that there is a direct correlation between the DFW (Drop Failure Withdrawal) rate and low class attendance.

There are plenty of ways to get help in your courses other than using the Internet or relying on your notes and textbooks. Talking to your classmates, your professor, your TA, etc. is very important as well. I don’t know how I would have survived university if it wasn’t for these resources and, many times, I felt I learned the most by discussing course material with my classmates.

Many students make the mistake of putting very little effort into their assignments. They copy some, they don’t do others, and when they do them and get a poor mark, they never look at them again. This is a big mistake. Someone once told me that by not doing your homework, you effectively lower your GPA by 7.

Getting involved is something I didn’t do in my undergrad and I thoroughly regret it. It would have made my university experience fuller and much more rewarding. I know it might seem like between classes and assignments there isn’t much time for anything else, but it’s worth it to make time for activities outside of classes. Not to mention the energy you get from being involved in extracurricular activities that you love will make you more productive!

There is one textbook I would recommend for every engineering student. It basically has all the mathematical relations you will need in undergrad in one book. It’s called “Schaum’s Outlines: Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables”. Mine is a second edition by Murray Spiegel and John Liu, and I still use it to this day.

Be sure to apply to all the scholarships you can. There are often scholarships designed to encourage women to continue pursuing science or engineering. Check out the list of scholarships available on the CU-WISE website.

Take advantage of the services at Carleton University. Honestly, I wish I had taken even more advantage of them.

On behalf of CU-WISE, I wish you all the best of luck in your studies and don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Feel free to leave comments below.


Gail Carmichael said...

Regarding seeing TA's/profs: Take advantage! You usually end up getting pretty much one on one tutoring for free, since very few people bother to attend office hours.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points Barb.. I blogged about this here: