Tag Archives: tips

It’s Time for FAFSA!

It’s October 1 and do you know what that means? If you said to yourself, “They are obviously about to talk to me about FAFSA.” you would be correct! That’s right everyone, starting today, you can file your FAFSA and have your information sent to up to 10 colleges! 

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for college is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is an online form you will submit each year that determines your eligibility for student financial aid. 

Be sure to file FAFSA as soon as possible since some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To have your FAFSA information sent to PUC, include PUC’s school code—it’s 001258

FAFSA takes most people less than an hour to complete, which includes taking time to gather the necessary documents, completing and reviewing the application, and reading the important information on the “Confirmation” page you’ll receive after signing and submitting the FAFSA. You can even complete it on your phone! The U.S. Department of Education has created a mobile-friendly version on its website or it can be filled out using its myStudentAid app. Nothing should stop you from taking one hour to do this incredibly important step in the college financial aid process! 

Filing the FAFSA also potentially qualifies you for a Pell Grant, which is a subsidy from the U.S. federal government, and is something you don’t have to pay back. Amounts can change each year, but for the 2019-2020 award year, the maximum Pell Grant award is $6,195!

According to a study by NerdWallet, in 2014 U.S. high school graduates left a whopping $2.9 billion in free federal grant money on the table just by not completing the FAFSA, which made them ineligible for a Pell Grant. In our great state of California, over 100,000 seniors would have qualified for Pell Grants if they had filed their FAFSA, but as a result, they lost $396,401,205. See how critical it can be for you to take the time to do the FAFSA? 

Based on your FAFSA information, our team of financial counselors can determine how much financial aid you are eligible for and create a personalized financial aid estimate for you where you can see how much per month it would cost to attend PUC. It’s an incredibly helpful and absolutely essential thing for you to have when making a decision about where to attend college. 

What are you waiting for? Start your FAFSA now at fafsa.gov!

 

6 Tips for Staying Organized this Fall Quarter

By Sarah Tanner

The beginning of each new school year is a busy time for everyone. The whirlwind of moving into the dorms, figuring out new schedules, and adjusting to new routines can be quite stressful at times, and it is often easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with so many changes after a relaxing summer. However, having more responsibilities does not necessarily equate with more stress! Ease into fall quarter with these quick tips for organization, and start the year with your best foot forward. 

  1. Invest in a daily planner. Nothing is worse than falling behind in assignments early in the quarter. Every Sunday, plan your upcoming week by writing out each day’s assignments. With your week planned, you can avoid being surprised by last-minute tasks, making it easier to schedule in free time for other activities. Take your planning one step further by color-coding each class, so assignments are easily distinguishable. 
  2. Clean up your workspace. A cluttered desk often creates a cluttered mind. Take some time every once in a while to clear up the week’s messiness. Throw out unneeded papers, line up your textbooks and notebooks, and round up your stray pens and pencils. Creativity always flows best in an open space, and a freshened-up work area can do wonders for your studying mentality. 
  3. Highlight, highlight, highlight. As you study, keep a highlighter on-hand and mark what you find important as you read. The bright visual cue combined with the physical act of highlighting the text will help information stick long after the exam. Highlighting also makes studying later easier, as all the significant portions of the text will stand out right away. 
  4. Stick to a routine sleep schedule. Nothing is more important to staying organized than getting a good night’s sleep! College students are notoriously bad at going to bed, much less going to bed at the same time every night. If possible, try to sleep at least eight to nine hours each night. Not only does it improve focus, but it also helps with memory and information retention, as well as simply revving your energy for the day. 
  5. Make time for fun. No one can maintain a study-only lifestyle. One of the most important aspects of staying organized is to build in time for the things you genuinely enjoy. It is much easier to complete a task if it means you can do something you love afterward. Whether it’s working out, grabbing a coffee with friends, or driving into San Francisco for the afternoon, give yourself something to look forward to!
  6. Ask for help. Everyone needs a hand sometimes. Learning to recognize when you need a little help and being willing to ask for it is one of the best ways to keep on top of the demands of busy schedules. Friends, professors, and family are always willing to lend a hand, and reaching out to them when you are feeling pressured can help prevent a downward spiral before it even begins. 

Start the new year with confidence that staying organized is easy to do. Keeping these tips in mind will not only help you transition from summer to school, but they will keep you working smarter, not harder, all quarter long. 

 

Imparting Bits of Wisdom

Last week I was scrolling through Twitter and came across an interesting post thread. A woman, a wife and mother, decided to go back to school and get her college degree and was asking for advice for an incoming college freshman. After spending nearly ten minutes reading through the replies, some great, (actually attend your classes) and some a little less great, (don’t date the first attractive person you meet), I realized the faculty and staff at PUC have dedicated their careers to helping students reach their full potential and would likely love to impart some wisdom on this year’s incoming class! 

So here it is! Have some free advice from college professionals! 

“1) Talk to a teacher or staff member. Even if it is just a few words before or after class. Make contact more than once. We think you are interesting and want to get to know you! That is why we choose to work at PUC. 2) Get involved in something outside your department. Join a club, participate in a music ensemble, show up at SA events, make time to cheer for the Pioneers at home games, volunteer to help out with dorm worship, homeless ministries, vespers, The Twelve, Sabbath school, etc.” – Rachelle Davis, professor of music

“If you are interested in someday being a leader, find opportunities to serve today. Come see me and I can help!” – Kent Rufo, chaplain 

“My advice is to ask students! Other students are more than happy to help you out, so just ask! Who knows, you might even make some new friends.” – Jenn Tyner, vice president for student life

“I wish I had taken the time to learn about how the brain stores complex information. If Google had existed, I’d have researched “sleep and learning” and then proceeded to get way more guilt-free sleep than I did. You may also be surprised to find that time spent zoning out in PUC’s Back 40 (without a phone!) also helps your brain to solidify information that you have been studying.” – Maria Rankin-Brown, associate academic dean 

“Don’t let finances be a roadblock! Mark the finance deadlines on your calendar: Sep 15, 2019, for Fall, Dec 15, 2019, for Winter and Mar 15, 2020, for Spring. Plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute to make sure you are financially cleared.” – Brandon Parker, vice president of financial administration (Of course the school’s CFO would give advice about finances!)

“Technology is an important resource but it’s not always easy to know how to use it most effectively for your studies. Talk to your professor about what they recommend. Practice unplugging from your phone and social media while you study until you can sustain 30 or 40 minutes of undistracted work followed by a 5 or a 10-minute break.” – Chantel Blackburn, professor of mathematics 

“It’s a fresh start. Reach outside your comfort zone to say hi to someone and meet new friends.” – J.R. Rogers, associate vice president of student life

 “Get Organized! In college, your success is up to you (not your parents or teachers any longer). This means you need to develop a study plan, be aware of homework/paper/finals deadlines, and communicate effectively/timely with your professor. Knowing, Who, What, When, Where, and How is invaluable!!!” – Stacy Nelson, associate vice president of human resources 

“It’s helpful to get into a mindset of being excited or at least curiously inquisitive about learning new material from every course you take.” – Elaine Neudeck, assistant professor of physical science 

“Your college years are when you are the freest you will ever be. Take advantage of this! Try new hobbies. Travel. Visit museums and attend events while you can still get student discounts. Ask lots of questions. Study abroad. Explore different ways of doing things. Take elective courses just to learn something new and fun. Be a student missionary. Say yes when new friends invite you out, or when your professor has a student dinner at their home. Whatever it looks like for you, don’t miss the plethora of opportunities to explore new aspects of life during college; it sets the tone for the rest of your life.” – Becky St. Clair, department of music office manager, PR writer

Keep these tips in mind as you begin your first quarter of college and remember, great advice is just a question away, so ask! 

 

10 Ways to Make Your Dorm Room Feel Like Home

When I walked into my freshman dorm room with my arms full of my very favorite and prized possessions, I was a little apprehensive. I remember taking a moment to look around the room and noticing the horrible wallpaper covering every available surface. (Do not place wallpaper all over your dorm room. Just don’t do it!) My wonderful mother immediately jumped into action, forming a plan to remove it all. I remember feeling unsettled until that wallpaper was gone and my things were neatly placed where they would forever reside, my room started to feel more like home. 

So before you get here, before you even start packing, here is a list of 10 ways to make your dorm room feel more like home, and guess what? You can find all these things at Target, which happens to be just a short ride from campus, just in case you forget something! *praise hands* 

Photographs

The best and fastest way to make your room feel more like home is to put up photos of your family and friends. Seeing familiar faces every day can give you the boost you need to make your day great. Frame them, hang them, display them however you’d like! 

Throw pillows and blankets! 

Not only are throw pillows and blankets incredibly comfortable, since they come in so many different shapes, colors, and fabrics, they will also help make your dorm room look better. Toss them on your chair, over the bed, everywhere! You’re about to start college, you know how great pillows and blankets are, I don’t need to convince you! 

Succulents 

Succulents are all the rage, partially because they are cute and partially because they are so low maintenance. In fact, my trusty succulent Rufus is sitting next to me as I type. Basically, all you need is some sunshine and a little water from time to time and you’re set! 

Floor rugs

Some dorm rooms have tile floors. Who wants to get up in the middle of the night and walk on the cold tile? Not only are rugs cozy, they also will help make your room look nicer. 

Lighting

There’s nothing worse than harsh overhead lighting to cause a headache during an important study session or ruin a great selfie situation. Take your lighting into your own hands by bringing lamps for your desk or maybe a hanging lantern. A string or two of Christmas lights are also a popular addition to a lot of dorm rooms. 

Essential oils

People use essential oils to help with all sorts of things from sleep to anxiety, if I’m being honest, I just like my room smelling nice. Diffusers come in various sizes and designs and don’t cost a lot plus you can get essential oils in a huge variety of scents. My go-tos are rose and lavender. 

Favorite snack foods

What are your favorite snack foods? Candy? Chips? I personally love them all lol. Be sure to stock up on snacks! Always have your favorites handy! 

Floor cushions/ottomans  

You can never have too much extra seating in your room. For study groups or movie nights, it will always be helpful. What’s fantastic about many of them is that they open up for built-in storage, perfect for all those throw blankets you’re going to end up buying!

Organizers 

It’s important to keep organized. There are tons of options from ways to keep your desk in order to bathroom and closet organizers. My favorite thing to have were hanging shoe racks cause you can never have too many shoes! 

Your favorite movie and some microwavable popcorn

Nothing screams relaxation like a good movie and some popcorn. Bring a stack of your favorite Blu-rays with you. Pop some popcorn and enjoy. 

What’s great about your dorm room is … it’s yours! While these ten things seem like great additions to anyone’s room, they might not be for you, so make your own list! Did you know right now Target has a great College Checklist you can use to help you track the things you need! Check it out and get packing! 

 

Finish In Four: Stay On Track

Getting accepted into college is a great accomplishment! Now, you will want to have a plan to stay on track and graduate in four years. While that’s not always possible (lots of people take five!), here are some things you can do to ensure you stay on track.

 Meet Regularly With Your Academic Advisor

Your academic advisor is one of the most important individuals on your academic journey. They will help you plan your schedule each quarter and can walk you through your curriculum guidesheet and track your academic progress using the Student Planning tool to assure you’re registered for the right classes at the right time.

 Complete An Average of 16 Credits Per Quarter

To earn a baccalaureate degree in four years, you need to complete at least 192 college-level credits, which is about 48 credits per year, and an average of 16 credits per quarter. That means you should plan for 16 credits a quarter. If you get behind, don’t worry; your advisor can assist you in figuring out how to fit in some extra credits or apply for summer classes! 

 Follow Your Curriculum Guidesheets

Every program has what’s called a curriculum guidesheet, which lists the classes needed to complete the program and contains a sample four-year schedule you can refer to when planning your schedule each quarter. Visit puc.edu/academics/degrees-programs for a complete list of programs and the accompanying guidesheet. 

Note: Undeclared students can still plan to finish in four years if they take an average of 16 well-chosen credits per quarter! You may refer to the “Information for Undeclared Majors” guidesheet for a sample first-year schedule for deciding students.

Track Your Progress with the Student Planning Tool

This helpful tool (available through WebAdvisor) shows you which courses you will need to take to complete your degree. If you’re considering changing your major, you can also run a comparison for a new degree to see which requirements you have already met and how many credits you still need to complete. The Student Planning tool is available through your WebAdvisor account in the Academic Profile section (click on “Student Planning” and select “My Progress”).

 Avoid Transferring Schools

Don’t leave! Since different schools offer varying degrees and requirements, earning a chosen degree on time means committing to a school’s program and tenaciously working toward completing requirements. Plus, we’d miss you.

 Take Your Classes Seriously 

Attend your classes and take them seriously. Did you know if your cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation? That could seriously slow you down. But not to worry, if you are struggling, we encourage you to seek help from your academic advisor and the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). There are multiple resources available to you helping establish academic success. 

Just remember, while stressful at times, your years in college are going to be some of the greatest! By keeping the above steps in mind and accepting the support your Pioneers family offers, you’re setting yourself up for a successful and meaningful scholastic quest.