Does higher education seem like a foreign culture to you?
You have expectations
as you register for and take classes,
as well as work through your program in higher education.
Higher education also has expectations of you!
It has its own rules, patterns, and culture. There are important differences between private and public schools, community colleges and universities, liberal arts and research institutions, graduate schools, etc.
Key concepts in higher education
include disciplines/departments, scholarship, research, verbal orientation, tenure, collegiality, academic freedom, etc. Take time to understand the culture of higher education.
Significant groups include faculty and students,
administrators and trustees, alumni, and even larger communities and legislators. They all are important resources. Staff also are there to help you, and wait for you to appear so that their services and centers can help you succeed.
Do you wonder about your skills
in finding your way around this strange land of higher education?
As an adult learner, you
Adult learners, as they return to, and progress through their
often question and reevaluate their original assumptions and motivation
as they use education to re-create their lives.
As such, your learning will be more successful if you
Shared responsibility for learning objectives;
Continuous negotiation or openness to renegotiation;
Open to change;
Problem-centered rather than content oriented;
Demand mutual respect & equality for learners;
Incorporate, promote dialogue & openness;
Recognizes the value of experience in contributing to learning;
Includes projects and/or active learning (as opposed to lectures and/or passive learning);
Built in monitor for feedback and evaluation
Applies learning to practical applications;
Multiple/diverse sources of information
Variety of format
Write out your goals and expected time commitments.
This will be helpful in avoiding stress and over-scheduling yourself.
Refer to the Guide on Setting goals/making a schedule
Establish a good rapport with your instructors/professors
in the classes you take.
This will be helpful in negotiating optional learning projects
that have more relevance to your situation and goals.
Refer to the Guide on Influencing teachers.
Develop an awareness of how you learn,
or have learned best in the past;
This will help you focus your energies in the most productive way,
and alert you to areas where you may need help
(i.e. speaking, writing, math, testing, etc.)
Your learning style defines how you acquire and process information
and has nothing to do with being "smart." You could refer to it as to how your brain works, or the parts of your brain work. Each person has a very particular way of learning. Research has identified many "learner characteristics" and ways of typing them.
Your academic counseling center or study skills center
is a good place to begin. They not only have testing instruments to help you, but also the professionals who are able to interpret and apply the results.
Self-assessment web sites on learning styles:
Resources for learners in higher education:
Academic counseling centers
Reading and/or study skills centers
Women's study centers
Academic dean's offices and services
Dean of students offices and services
Instructor/professor of a course you are taking!