Expectations in college or
university differ from those in high school; students
can use this
knowledge to plan for success in college.
A FREE Online Guide to College Success
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Professor of Geography
Bridgewater State University
Revised: August 26, 2011
In promoting universal higher education, former President Bill Clinton suggested that college should be thought of as the "thirteenth grade." His desire to be inclusive is admirable, but unfortunately his phrasing perpetuates a view of education that is at odds with the mission of higher education.
looking for a degree and I walked away with a life.
~~ Lauren Carter
BSC Class of 2004
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
~~ William Butler YeatsThis ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
~~ The Talking Heads ("Life During Wartime ")
~~ Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!
Percentage of U.S. employers who say
that a high-school
graduate "has at least learned the basics:"
~~ Harper's, September 2001
|IT IS TIME TO DEFEND STATE UNIVERSITIES|
| The Essentials
All of my students must read these!
|Hidden Gems|| This NPR story
explains why "it doesn't matter where you go
to college, only what you do there." My students need
to read this
because it puts
the responsibility for college success squarely where
it belongs -- not
on the choice of schools, but on the work and attitude
|Detailed discussion of how to read assignments, study for exams, and locate on-campus resources for help.|
|This page details 40 things I expect of students.|
|General discussion of how to become a more effective writer and detailed discussion of how to correct common writing mistakes. Read the peeves section of this page to avoid writing all your papers twice!|
|This page explains what I mean by "A," "B," and so on.|
|How to find or contact professor Hayes-Bohanan. When I was late to a computer class once, students Asked Jeeves where I was, and this page gave them a pretty good idea!|
|In this page, I describe in detail some of what makes the college experience qualitatively different from high school. (Includes new material about the training of professors.)|
penalties for plagiarism, often because they do not
know what it is. This site from Indiana University
explains exactly how
to stay out of this kind of trouble. One related
problem that is NOT
on the IU site is that of a student submitting
essentially the same
to fulfill requirements in two different courses. As a
student of mine
once learned from unhappy experience, this is only
acceptable by prior
arrangement with both professors.
| Campus Events
opportunities to learn outside of the classroom.
Bridgewater State University is increasingly committed
to bringing a
of lectures, plays, and other learning opportunities
by nationally and internationally known artists and
in my classes can earn extra credit by attending such
me that they have done so, using the form on this
this web site, it was a single page that I could
easily. Because of varied interests, I have expanded
the site to
hundred pages and several thousands of links. In order
to maintain the
accuracy of these pages, I encourage students and
other visitors to
me of any problems and to suggest any new items.
Students who do so may
eligible for extra credit. Non-students who do so will
earn my sincere
More ideas about college success and education in general
|Foreign Language Study|
is not a requirement at Bridgewater State
University, but it should be. As the world becomes
interconnected, those who study only in their own
comfort zone are not
really getting a complete education.
there is no excuse to do all of your coursework in the
The barriers to studying abroad are language learning, family resistance, time, short-term job commitments, fear. I have helped students overcome each of these obstacles, and I have had the honor of being with abroad with students in Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Cape Verde, and Brazil. See my international page for stories and photos. My BSC colleagues have taken or sent students to Japan, China, India, Morocco, Italy, Peru, Jordan, and many other locations.
Planning ahead can help to overcome many of the obstacles: take foreign language courses as soon and as often as you can, and look into financial aid, loans, and grants. Get to know international students and local students who have been abroad. Have a meal at an ethnic restaurant. Try asking Grandma for $50 toward a trip instead of another sweater for your birthday.
|Geography||is a great way to learn about the
world and it is
excellent preparation for general business, public
teaching as well as specialized work in the
environment, planning, or a
host of other fields.
Hayes-Bohanan, has prepared a simple guide to
success in college. I highly recommend it!
standardized testing increases, in the
guise of "accountability." High-stakes tests are known
discrimination. More importantly, high-stakes testing
as frightened educators cave in to political pressures
and "teach to
the test." This harms both K-12 and higher education,
but the mis-named
No Child Left Behind Act ensures that the damage will
least until sensible people get organized!
The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.
|The 'copters|| This article
from the Washington
Post helps faculty members, students, and
a new cultural collision: that among
parents, and college faculty members. Parents who
think they are "just
helping" combine with students who are used to being
"taken care of"
bump up against a very different culture in higher
education, in which
expect students to be much more independent.
The article refers to a meeting in Phoenix that I happened to attend! I have tried to incorporate those lessons in my teaching and advising, the mentoring of my peers, and -- most especially -- my parenting. After all, I don't want some professor calling me a "helicopter parent" ten years from now!
|The subtitle of this engaging book is 40 Schools You Should Know About Even If You're Not a Straight-A Student. Author Loren Pope describes innovative approaches to higher education that are as varied as they are successful. This is the best book I know of for exploring the purposes of a liberal-arts education. Students, faculty, and administrators in any institution will be challenged by the ideas presented here.|
|Costly Cars||Writing for
Cars.com, Renee Krejci advises students of the
costs and hassles of keeping cars on campus. Of course
cars are needed
by some students, but it is also easy for students to
get caught in a
cycle of working to support a car, rather than having
a car to support
their work. It is worth doing some careful calculation
to see if a
campus-bound lifestyle is more practical. I recall
that during my
freshman year, I spent two months without going more
than a mile from
my dorm -- for work, school, parties, everything.
College campuses have
a lot to offer, and although finding a job on campus
difficult, without a car to support, a student might
be able to
|Dr. Mom||What would your mom tell you as you went off to college, if your mom were a college professor. Visit Dr. Mom's Guide to College to find out. A biology professor has created this site, building on the advice she gave her own daughter when it was that time in her life. She confirms much of what I offer on this site, and adds many things I had not thought of. Please have a look!|
this page, I draw on an oft-repeated joke about higher
make some serious points about the value of a
sensational stories, and one of the most common is the
story about skyrocketing college costs. The result of
on this subject is that most families overestimate
the cost of
perhaps giving up on the idea even though help could
The FinAid site explains financial aid programs and
to estimate costs and available aid. Of course, it is
also important to
aid offices of colleges in which you are
interested. They often
have campus-specific sources of aid!
|The Environmental & Resource Studies Program at Trent University in Canada has prepared this fantastic set of resources for its students. It goes far beyond my Not-the-13th-Grade site to provide specific guidance that can make students in any discipline more effective learners. If you are paying tens of thousands of dollars on learning, it is a good idea to do so as effectively as possible. This site could change your life!|
human civilization has figured out how to ferment
something pretty soon
after figuring out how to eat. In other words, alcohol
is part of most
human cultures. Norms and laws about its use vary
widely, even within a
single society. Unfortunately, a lot of confusion,
stupidity and even
death surround alcohol use in college settings. I
created this page
after a former student of mine was killed by a drunk
and I updated it when more than 100 college presidents
idea of renewed debate on this important topic.
We need to get serious about this problem.
|Non-traditional Students||In my experience,
students who return to college a few
years -- or decades -- after the traditional 18-22 age
bracket have a
lot to gain from college and a lot to offer in and out
classroom. This Pagewise document
provides some help for those entering this sometimes
by learning more about the world around you
and beyond. This site will soon have a special portal
Meanwhile, the main site is an excellent way for
students to find out
about organizations that share their vision for
change. This is also a
great place to explore careers in the area of social
|Satirical guide to college success, posted by my colleague Prof. Robert Sutherland.|
nothing. If you miss class and ask this question,
consider Tom Wayman's
poem the answer.
PLEASE NOTE: Some version of this poem circulates among faculty throughout the country. I am posting it here so that students can have an idea what professors are thinking when we hear this question.
|| Professor Steve
Dutch's page goes beyond Tom Wayman's
single question, to answer a range of questions
professors hear far too
often. If answers like these seem harsh, it is time
for the student to
think more seriously about the reasons they are in
college. It turns
out that most professors share Assumption #4 on my
|To be fair,
page details what I expect of myself! My colleague Ted
Vanderbilt University once told an audience of
"Society pays us to make a difference." College
professors are paid
moderately well and enjoy the ability to spend a
lifetime in the world
of ideas, paid for by society as a whole through a
tuition, fees, taxes, and foundation money. Fischer
argued that society
does not do this for US. Rather, society does this in
exchange for what
we do in the lives of other people.
|For those intending to have a professional life after college, the standards and expectations in Dr. Vernon Domingo's senior seminar are a valuable reality check. (Dr. Sandra Clark has emphasized the same themes in her offering of the seminar in 2002!) Picture yourself in just a few months or years in a professional setting, and the standards he has set will make a lot of sense.|
|Guidelines for rating language and math skills from the U.S. Department of Labor.|
|This page presents some of Edward Tufte's ideas for giving excellent presentations. This is useful advice for professors, other professionals, and students who need to give presentations.|
|I want students to know that I know what it is like to work through college (ask around: most of your other professors worked through school, too!) I therefore prepared this unofficial resume, which includes all of the jobs I can remember having.|
comes this list of ten rules of life that are not
Danica McKellar has two messages
women): You can
do math, and smart is
We bought her second book for our daughter, to help counteract all the stupid messages our culture sends about smart girls (and women). She loves the book!
You can listen to McKellar's interview with Scott Simon on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. (This link provides links to additional NPR stories on math and learning.)
You can also learn more at her web site or buy her books: Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss. The Amazon link for the second book includes video in which McKellar explains how she came to write the books.
|This article considers the purposes of higher education in an age of increasing pressure to provide vocational training in the academy.|
|Beloit College in Wisconsin releases an annual list of cultural touchstones that differentiate freshmen/women from older people, such as professors. I recommend this list both to professors -- so they can know what NOT to assume about their younger students -- and to students -- so they can know what kinds of things professors may taking for granted if they have not read the list. If you think of New Kids on the Block as new, you need this list!|
|Educating yourself may be a subversive act. In his essay "School Bells," Lewis H. Lapham argues that mainstream politicians pay only lipservice to improving education.|
|Read what one experienced educator has to say on the pros and cons of using computers in higher education.|
|From "keep an open mind" to "you can't know everything" to "don't follow the crowd, lead the crowd," journalist Leonard Boasberg offers a lot of wisdom about learning in a three-minute essay he presented on Morning Edition, March 25, 2002 .|
of the goals of higher education is to make better
is particularly true for students in the U.S., who are
citizens of the
world's only superpower, but are not generally taught
to think of
in such terms. I created the Pax Mundo site to help
how we are perceived by those in the rest of the
|Eighty-eight tips on how you can take advantage of all that college has to offer.|
||Note to educators: Thanks to all of you who have commented on this site. I am glad you have found it useful for your students. Please feel free to refer your students to it in whatever way you deem appropriate. The Not-the-13th-Grade icon is easy to add to your own web page, should you so choose.||
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