How is college different from high school?
This is an important question! Knowing the answer will be very helpful as you prepare for college. Mindquest Academy does not offer instruction to students but instead commits its efforts to providing resources to ABE programs and community/technical colleges.
- College work requires lots of reading. Depending upon the course you're taking, you may be assigned anywhere from 50 to 100 pages a week to read. If you're taking more than one course, you can see that this is a substantial amount of reading. You'll often have a text book plus other required reading from journals, newspapers, and other books.
- College work requires many types of writing: essays, papers, reports, summaries and other forms.
- The rule of thumb is that for every hour of class, you need to put in two hours of study outside of class. If your class meets three hours a week, you need to study six hours outside of class.
- College instructors will expect you to turn in assignments on time, to follow their directions, and to take responsibility for your own learning. They will be happy to help and support you but how much and how well you learn is really up to you. In college, you will be much more independent as a learner.
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What are College Placement Tests?
The Accuplacer tests assess your reading comprehension, writing skills, and math skills. They are used to help determine if you are ready for college level work. Every student who wants to enroll in a Minnesota community/technical college must take these tests. Students whose scores fall below a certain number will be advised to take developmental courses to help them prepare for college work. In the Mindquest Academy/College Prep program, we use the test scores to create your Learning Plan.
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How important are my computer skills?
Very important! In nearly all cases, college instructors will expect you to turn in assignments that have been written on the computer. They will also want you to use the Internet for research and study. The computer skills you'll gain in Mindquest Academy/College Prep courses will help you throughout your semesters of college study.
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What are college support services and are they available to every student?
- Orientation for new students: Do not skip this service! You may not realize how complex a college can be. In an Orientation session for new students, you will learn important information about your college's rules and regulations, as well as help selecting your first college courses.
- Advising and counseling: All colleges have advisors and counselors, whose job it is to make sure you set career, academic, and personal goals – and set up an educational plan to reach those goals. Counselors, in addition to doing advising, can help students deal with personal issues and make referrals to other services off campus.
- Financial aid planning: Each year you're in college, you'll need to apply for Financial Aid to document that you need financial assistance to pay for tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. If you have any difficulty during your application, financial aid workers are available to help you. (See below for more information about Financial Aid.)
- Scholarships: Many colleges have foundations that fund scholarships for students. Find out what scholarships you might be eligible for.
- Many scholarships are given for reasons other than academic excellence. Many colleges have scholarships for adults who are returning to college after being out of school for many years. Others provide scholarships to students who enroll in occupational programs where there is a great need for workers in an area: e.g., health-related fields.
- First Year Experience coursework: Many colleges offer courses or packages of courses specifically for new college students. These courses are a way of stretching your orientation to college out over a longer period of time than is possible during orientation. Look for opportunities such as
- Learning communities – two or more courses taken by a single group of students. You get to know more people, make new friends, and usually get better grades! The courses are often taught by a team of faculty, making learning interesting.
- First Year Seminars – These courses have many different names, depending on where you go to college. They are designed to give you an in-depth orientation to your college and to help you learn college success skills in a supportive environment.
- Career exploration courses – You may have done some career exploration in your Mindquest or College Prep program, but as you move into college more fully, you may want to spend some time really researching a variety of careers, and make sure you're working toward a career that really matches your skills, interests, and values.
- Office hours: Visit your instructors during their office hours. You can use this time to ask questions in a private setting, or to ask for additional explanation of assignments or course lectures. Many students don't realize how much most instructors like to work with their students this way – but they do!
- Student life activities: Colleges offer a wide variety of activities outside the classroom in which you can be involved. Finding even an hour a week in your schedule to take part in a student life activity will help you get a bigger picture of what college is about. Students who do this tend to make better progress in college than students who don't.
- Peer tutors: In college, students who use peer tutors get better grades than those who don't. In fact, many "B" students use tutors to help them get "A's".
- Library services: The library is a central place on campus. College librarians give workshops and one-on-one help with using library resources. Teachers will often bring classes to the library to learn the specific research tools and skills needed to complete assignments.
These services are usually available to all students enrolled in a college.