5 mind tricks to boost productivity for today’s college student

February 16th, 2012 by admin

Every college student knows the feeling of fatigue that can set in after writing a few too many papers or reading a few too many chapters for class. The good news is that it doesn’t take major life changes to break out of this funk. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity – and a little trickery. Here are five ways to dupe your brain into becoming more productive.

Reboot your morning routine to boost productivity

Sometimes a few extra minutes of sleep is the best gift you can give yourself. But if you have things to do in the morning, you’re better off waking up your mind and setting the tone for a productive day. But that doesn’t mean you have to rush in the morning. Author Anne Murphy Paul suggests actually slowing down your morning routine. Set your alarm a few minutes early and lie in bed, letting your thoughts flow. Stand in the shower a little longer and dismiss any task-oriented thoughts such a,s “I need to return all of my emails by 10 a.m.” Instead, continue to let your mind wander. Take deep breaths in between sips of your morning coffee. When you’re ready to sit down and get to work, try checking out a funny Internet video before you get down to the nitty gritty. These exercises will help turn your brain on in the morning – or at least start your day off with a laugh.

Dress the part when studying from home

Whether you’re taking an online class or simply studying for one of your classes, doing schoolwork at home can be a tricky task. It might be tempting to flip on the TV for “just a few minutes,” do a little housework, or maybe even make a batch of cookies. To get in the right state of mind for studying, simply dress as though you’re headed to class or to the office. That means no pajamas or sweatpants. Putting on a button-up shirt and a nice pair of pants could help keep you focused on the task at hand – just imagine how nice it will be to change into your comfortable clothes when you’re finished.

Change your workspace when you switch tasks

Certain places in your life often trigger an emotional response. Stepping into your kitchen might put you in the mood to cook. Plopping down on a comfy couch might help you relax. With this in mind, creativity blog The 99 Percent recommends setting up specific work zones in your house for accomplishing important tasks. For example, if you have an L-shaped desk, you might use one section for studying or doing schoolwork and the other for paying bills or surfing the internet. Even if you have a limited amount of space available, simple physical cues like sliding your chair to a different part of your work surface or standing up to work can send a signal to your brain that it’s time to refocus on a new task.

Train yourself to fall asleep faster

Nothing prepares the mind for learning like a night of solid sleep. Unfortunately, your busy schedule may leave you tossing and turning each night, fretting about tomorrow’s responsibilities. If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep after 10 minutes of lying down, get up and go into another room. Stay as long as you wish and then return to your bedroom to sleep. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until you fall asleep. By following this tip from psychology website PsyBlog, you can train your mind to associate your bed with sleep, not active thinking.

Plan a reward before you start a project

Can’t seem to motivate yourself to start writing that 10-page paper for class? Try giving yourself an extra incentive to finish by building a reward into your deadline. While you work, imagine how great that new pair of shoes will look on your feet or how sweet that gourmet cupcake will taste. Even the smallest rewards can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel and keep working when you might not feel like it.

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5 tips for buying a computer on a student budget

February 7th, 2012 by admin

buying-a-student-computer-ts2118No matter what you’re studying, it’s important to find the right computer for your educational needs – and one you can afford. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the options, but remember: There are deals to be had. Here are a few tips that can help you save big when shopping for a computer.

Shop online and in store

Shopping around is the easiest and most important step you can take to save money when shopping for a computer. Start online with retailers like Amazon.com or Newegg.com to get an idea of what you might expect to pay for a particular computer, and then head to a retailer near you to try it out for yourself. Once you’ve found the computer you want, check as many sources as possible to find the best price.

Take advantage of specials

Computer shopping can also be a bit like car shopping: You can save a lot of money if you don’t necessarily need the newest model. Shop after the latest (and most expensive) computers are released, then look for an older model that still meets your needs. But before you buy, check with your college or university – many offer special discounts for students. Some retailers do the same, so don’t hesitate to ask when you find the computer you want.

Factor accessories into your budget

If you have $800 to spend on a computer, it’s probably not a good idea to purchase a $799 model. Consider the accessories and peripherals you’ll need for school and budget for those. Will you need a printer? What about a word processing program? You might consider buying an external hard drive for more storage or a locking security cable to keep your laptop from getting stolen.

Don’t pay for extras you don’t need

It might be nice to have a Blu-ray burner on your new computer, but would you really use it enough to justify the cost? Don’t get hung up on the extras like a premium sound system, unnecessary software or advanced graphics, particularly if you plan to use your computer for simpler functions, like writing and researching for school.

Consider a refurbished model

Refurbished computers often perform just as well as new computers – and at a drastically lower price. Some refurbished models have minor cosmetic flaws that you may be able to overlook. Others might have simply needed a faulty part repaired. Talk to the sales associate to find out what repairs or improvements were made and whether a refurbished model would be right for you. You might find a great deal.

Explore all of your options to find the best bargain on a computer and you’ll be ready to conquer even your most difficult classes. Just don’t spend all of your time browsing Facebook on your new toy.

Ready to begin your online college search? Get started with US College Search today, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Balancing Studying and Fun: 5 Tips for College Students

June 24th, 2011 by megana

A few of the most memorable tips from a college student to a college student

1. Don’t Slack

Time management is one of the hardest things to do when transitioning from non-college life to that of a part-time or full-time student. When transitioning into college, there are a million and one more things to do. From going shopping after a class with your roommate to going out on a Tuesday night, the ultimate test to a collegiate is how to manage time correctly. The average student, traditional and non-traditional, has a job outside of their schooling. The lack of balance between work and study has been one of the leading causes of reduction in the college retention rates across the U.S. Make sure to know what exams or projects and assignments with due dates are approaching, so you can schedule in a planner or phone of designated times to buckle down and get it done. Trust me; you’ll thank your responsible self when you graduate.

2. Take Notes

Take notes! Take notes! Take notes! Get the idea? With all the extracurricular activities there is do take part in, it’s expected that you won’t retain everything your 60 year old professor has to say about Accounting 101. But when exam time approaches sooner rather than later, notes either by laptop or notebook will become your best friend. Plus, many professors will test over material from your notes—not just the textbook. This is a good way to show that you’re paying attention and stand out to your professors.

3. Office Hours

Take advantage of your professors’ office hours. Many professors are required to set a certain amount of time aside for students who may need extra help and/or advice on career development. However, many students do not take advantage of this opportunity. By attending office hours, you are making your face known to your professor, and you might even get some helpful hints on class assignments just for taking the time to ask. Don’t forget, he/she may just be a great reference or candidate for a letter of recommendation in the near future.

4. Network

If one thing is remembered from this article. It’s all about WHO you know. Some say your connections are almost more important than your resume. In some cases this is true, but do not go and drop out of college—your connections wouldn’t like that. Building a network of people to seek life advice from, study with, or to become life-long friends, all of these are intangible benefits of a college career. Calculus derivatives may or may not be remembered in upcoming years, but connections last a lifetime. So get involved. Make friends with at least one or two people in class. Campus will seem much smaller and confidence for tests will be noticed with increased test scores from late night study sessions. Plus, this will help with communication and social skills. That’s definitely a go-to skill for employers!

5. 3 Letters—F.U.N.

Forty years from now what are you going to remember about college? “Oh I remember that Accounting 101 exam. It really kicked my butt with debits and credits.” Maybe. But you’re more likely to remember all the fun times you had with friends when you shouldn’t have stayed up so late on a weeknight going to Taco Bell. You’re going to remember the semester when you met your best friend in the dorms or nearby apartment or even the small, random events that have shaped you into the well seasoned adult you are today. Memories like these are lessons learned outside of the classroom that will be stories to tell for years to come when someone asks “What tips can you give me before heading off to college?”

Start your college search at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter as well as searching by zip code.

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