As tuition and fees continue to increase, some students wonder if they’re getting the most out of their education. Remember that optimizing the effectiveness of your time and money spent in college is up to you, although UCF has plenty of resources to help out.
When add/drop week rolls around and you’re frantically arranging and rearranging your schedule to try to get the best courses with the best professors, be sure to look at your course load critically. Realize you’re paying for this.
Research findings published in the book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses suggest that students aren’t being challenged during their post-secondary years.
According to the study, 45 percent of students surveyed didn’t experience any significant gains in learning during their first two years of college, and 36 percent didn’t experience any gains during the course of four years.
Although those numbers may be startling, the authors suggest that students can combat this trend by enrolling in more difficult classes. According to the study, students who took classes with higher academic expectations — meaning more than 20 pages of writing assigned during the semester and more than 40 pages of reading assigned per week — and students who study alone for more hours during the week saw the highest gains in learning.
So don’t stray away from a professor just because his or her past students said on RateMyProfessor.com that they had to read the textbook or write papers — these should be the classes you should want to spend your tuition dollars on.
If you do opt for the more challenging courses, know that UCF is here to help. The university offers several resources to help students succeed, and these are all services funded by your tuition and fees.
The Student Academic Resource Center offers free tutoring sessions in some of the more difficult areas of study, and don’t forget about your professor’s office hours. Remember professors hold those office hours to help students who are struggling, and who better to help you with a course than the person who teaches it? Professors want to see their students succeed, so just swing by their offices to get extra study tips or homework help.
Outside of academia, UCF has several resources to help students unwind. We go to school at a beautiful campus in the Sunshine State and there’s almost always something to do.
The university offers several opportunities for students to meet each other, like Pegasus Palooza and Homecoming Week, not to mention concerts, workshops and lectures.
As a UCF student, there’s never any reason to be bored. If so, go take a dip in the Leisure Pool or go kayak out at Lake Claire, you could even rent a DVD from the machine in the Student Union and watch it by the Reflecting Pond.
Getting the most out of your college experience comes from finding the perfect balance between work and play. If you don’t want to view your college years as a waste of thousands of dollars, make sure you’re taking advantage of everything UCF has to offer.