Surviving Your First Academic Year at UC__ (for transfers)!

<p>I emphasize that this is an academic survival post, not pertaining to the social life and extracurricular opportunities. That can consume an entirely different thread; all I can suggest is to take initiative to participate in what you are passionate about and what will help with your post college future (there is no hand holding at UCs)...without forsaking academics.</p>

<p> to study, SMARTER and not harder. (even though you will do both)</p>

<p>Sciences/Math Majors
*do all the homework
*go to lecture
*understand all the material (conceptually)
*ask for help when needed (whether it be study groups, TAs, etc.)
*the midterms and finals will most likely NOT be based on homework be similar to homework. They will not be simple "plug numbers into equations" nor "memorization" exams. Knowing the formulas should be a given, but you should be able to understand the material conceptually and see the BIG PICTURE. even then midterms will be difficult. but if you do not understand the material conceptual and see the BIG PICTURE, you will not get very far. understand WHY and HOW equations work. Understand how concepts tie in to each other, across chapters. Get rid of the high school and CC thinking.</p>

<p>(ex. memorizing the quadratic formula along with plugging in numbers is not the same as understanding how and why the quadratic formula works and how it relates to the rest of algebra)</p>

<p>*exams will be difficult no matter what, but do your best to try to set the curve
* the exception to "memorization" is biological sciences where you are expected to memorize and understand vasts amounts of information
*labs will be time consuming, repetitive and detail oriented
*being a lab assistant (outside of class) often means you'll start off cleaning test tubes and will take time before you progress to anything more serious that will allow your name to be published in research</p>

<p>Humanities and Social Science Majors
*extensive amount of reading
*as you will be going through HUNDREDS of pages of notes, highlight key points and list key ideas from each reading source. this will help save time and keep you organized for papers and exams where bringing in reading source material will get you better grades
*resist temptation and finish your papers at least a day before it is due so you can proofread
*go to class and take copious notes
*actually study those notes from time to time, in between classes
*participate in discussion; if you want "points", say something meaningful on a consistent basis
*if your class has study guides for the exam, do the study guides thoroughly
*if writing is an issue, consult your professor or TAs to get feedback</p>

*your exams will be multiple choice
*material is easy to pick up
*curve is non existent as a result
*you must memorize and understand vasts amount of info (like biological science majors) very well if you plan on getting an A or A- in your psychology classes; there is little room for error</p>

<p>Grad School Bound?
*make sure to take advantage of opportunities to talk to professors and/or TAs. you cannot wait till the last minute to build relationships and get recommendations
*check out professional/student groups and attend seminars pertaining to your academic and career goals
*use the career center
*start looking into the GMAT/GRE/MCAT/LSAT and see what are the BEST materials and ways to prepare for these exams</p>

<p>If you follow all this, this should save you from at least one quarter of disappointing grades.</p>

<p>GOOD LUCK!</p>

<p>mods sticky this! great info good job :]</p>

<p>Thank you so, so much!!</p>

<p>Thank you! This is awesome, especially since you wrote about psych majors!</p>

<p>brian, you have no life.</p>

<p>This. thread. intimidates. me.
how is there even time for a social life? (sorry I know that's on a diff thread!)</p>

<p>@jeremybeach (and anyone else wondering)</p>

<p>it is very possible to have a social life. in fact, for most people college is a time where you have the most freedom in your academic career...</p>

<p>...the challenge is to manage your time and prioritize.</p>

<p>let's take the example of "working out/exercising". most people know it's good to work out and exercise. but most people spend more energy and time to come up with excuses not to work out. those excuses can be very simple or sometimes very elaborate.</p>

<p>my advice: schedule social life into your overall schedule and leave room for "random happenings"...u never know when an unexpected study session or party comes's college, it's life. if you have trouble sticking to a schedule, then find a way to informally make it work (ex. i promise to study on sunday because i'm partying on thursday night and friday night).</p>

<p>if you do this right, you will be busy but balanced with a few extra hours on the side every day to do what you want (yes, you can sleep too)</p>

<p>i suppose the main point of my post was to make sure you are efficient in college so you can enjoy it all and minimize the post college regrets (ex. "if only i studied more"..."if only i prepared for my job search"..."if only i had more time to socialize AND do academics") there's a reason why some people refer to college as "some of the best years of their lives".</p>

<p>A couple of additions to the Math/Science sections that I feel are pretty important:</p>

<p>*There's a big difference between seeing how a problem is done, and problem solving yourself. Seeing professors/TAs work out problems is never a substitute for working out problems yourself.
*In addition, I'd recommend at least attempting the "Challenge" problems that are (usually) not assigned for homework. Although they are unlikely to be on the test, they really see if you understand what is going on conceptually.
*Get used to no calculators. My physics professors make us solve everything in terms of variables. Math also normally doesn't like calculators as they can pretty much solve anything nowadays.</p>

<p>to sum this all up: work hard</p>

<p>work hard can be surprisingly hard</p>


<p>This post makes me wish I was a psych major instead of social sciences. Not only do they get multiple choice exams, they get special mention in survival guides. Boo.</p>

<p>I will add two comments:</p>

<p>1) If you did not already know that you need to do what was mentioned above, then you should probably leave school immediately.</p>

<p>2) If you were not already required to do what was mentioned above in order to succeed at your junior college, then you should go and get your money back.</p>


<p>How does Econ fit in there?</p>

<p>As a poly sci major, I just hope that there are enough discussion opportunities to satisfy my appetite for debate. I would die if I had to listen to a professor talk all day...</p>

<p>to give you all hope, i've met many people who have gone to high paying jobs and top grad/professional schools while having a great college experience. it really comes down to, can you study smart? can you TIME MANAGE? can you be proactive? can you come up with a plan, revise the plan if necessary and stick to the plan? sadly as easy as this advice sounds, many students avoid this.</p>

<p>now, in every class there's that one genius who puts in the minimal effort in the material and aces. if you're like me who is part of "everyone else", you study smart. you don't want to be the person who studies 10 hours everyday and still fails. that's not effective. and trust me, it happens to more people than you think because they refuse to think smart about getting good grades. you want to be that person who studies hard, but knows how to be effective in studying.</p>

<p>granted, my advice is generalized but it works out well for most students...and people usually make minor modifications to best suit themselves. after all, sometimes old exams help. sometimes you do get a professor who really sucks at teaching (teaching is generally better at CCs). but you adapt.</p>

<p>@Cali Trumpet: with econ, it does get quantitative so i would apply similar strategies as employed by science/math majors. the science/math majors often say that econ is easier than their respective majors but nevertheless, do not take econ lightly as many econ majors are competitive. they want to become analysts, i-bankers, consultants, accountants, etc.</p>

<p>outside of getting great grades, finding jobs/internships or participating in career related activities will help your resume in this economy.</p>

<p>@darkstorn: having been a poli sci major, if your poli sci department is decent you definitely will have opportunities for debate. if you want to go beyond discussion (as not everyone may be as passionate as you), try the republican/democrat/green/etc. party clubs on campus. again, the beauty of a UC is that they have just have to find them. i've had friends be assistants for lawyers, done UCDC, assisted Sen. Barbara Boxer and Feinstein. </p>

<p>@mroblivious: i had to give a special mention to psych as it has a different strategy than the other categories. and again multiple choice might seem fun, but it can be your nightmare too.</p>

<p>@uccasualty: you make some good points. if it makes you all feel better, transfer students are known to work really hard and that's admirable. you know what it took to get where you are and you'll do fine if you continue chugging along.</p>

<p>if you love your subject, it makes it that much easier. if you do not, it makes it that much harder.</p>

<p>i had to mention all this because should any of you take a science or math midterm for the first time, getting a 60% is realistic for any UC's fine if the curve is set at 65%, not so good if the curve is set at 85%</p>

<p>and for those reading intensive majors...yeah a lot of fluff, so get good at understanding the key points of each reading source (aka. the meat)</p>