Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Day in the Life of a CollegePlus! Student

Required reading, Exam breakdown and my hastily written notes.
I'm sure the excitement is overwhelming you :) 

One common misconception that I face as a student who is doing college differently is the fact that many people don’t believe that I am really doing college at all. Though I know that this is something that many other people who choose alternative colleges, either small local schools or online courses face, with the way that I am doing school even more people look at me as being less educated and certainly not degree bound. My goal with this post is to try and dispel some of those faulty notions by explaining what school is like for me.

On days when I’m not working I usually spend about six to eight hours a day working on school, work days average about three to four hours a day. These aren't hard fast norms, it will vary depending on how many courses I take and how hard the courses are. From what I understand this is the case for most students regardless of where they are currently attending school. 

Today I have a day off from work so I’m focusing on the two courses that I’m working on right now. One is an online course, Leadership and Management Communication, through Bryan College. This course is set up like any other college course, I have a syllabus, weekly papers that have to be written and books that have to be read. However because it is online, I do have some flexibility with my schedule. I listen to each weeks lectures when I have time to do it rather than having to be on the computer at a given point in time. Today I’m working on writing papers in response to what I had to read this week and preparing a rough draft for a larger writing assignment.

The other course that I’m working on right now is a DSST exam, Introduction to World Religions. The ways DSST, CLEP or other credit by examinations work are very different from an online course. I have a break down of each test, what subjects will be covered and how much of the test they make up. For example the world religions exam covers all sorts of different religions, but 18% of the test covers Christianity, its historical development, traditions, etc.  Using the break down I know roughly what the test will look like and how to make the most of my study time. I then round up resources that cover this material. Once I’m prepared I schedule my exam at a college that proctors these tests. Super easy! Today I’m working on Hinduism, and studying the different aspects of its terminology and beliefs.

I should also add that every two weeks I talk to my CP! coach, who helps me to plan what my next steps are. During the call she helps me to figure out where I’m at in respect to where I need to be, gives me pointers about the courses I’m taking and generally speaking is my outside academic accountability. More than that though, she helps me to pull back and look at what I’ve learned over the last two weeks, not just from and academic perspective, and what my biggest take away from that has been.

Well this has been roughly what my school days look like, granted it is extremely condensed. Each day of my college experience is about learning and growing. It’s not about the social life or prestige, it’s about growing what I already know and developing new understanding.

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