Written by Oklahoma DaVinci scholar, Director of Launch Academy, and University Guest Speaker

“OMG, like college is sooooo difficult.”


So many students go through college in a very sudorific manner. All-nighters of study madness and red bull, seemingly endless term papers, and just normal social stuff all combine to create some pretty hectic memories. But it doesn’t have to be so!

These 10 secrets, no, lifesavers, can help make your college years exponentially more enjoyable and definitely more productive.

#1) www.ratemyprofessor.com : This website can be the difference between an amazing class and a terrible one. It archives several professors from universities all over the country and gives you stats and comments about them, ranging from their ease and teaching style, to the difficulty of their tests and homework.

#2) www.wolframalpha.com : The king of math, this website solves almost any math problem. From college algebra to graduate-level mathematics, nothing is too difficult and for several subjects, it even shows the steps for solving the problems. Never get a wrong answer again.

#3) www.khanacademy.org: Does your organic chemistry teacher speak in ancient egyptian? In that case, having a video archive of lessons on everything from US Civics to Economics to Organic Chemistry could be extremely beneficial. This website is totally free and make just be the secret key to unlocking your understanding in that crazy class.

#4) www.bibme.com : There are lots of bibliography sites out there that will create bibliography and reference pages for you but I like this website for 2 reasons: You can download the bibliography as a word document automatically and (the best part) you can simply put a website url/book/magazine article in the page’s search bar and it automatically populates all the relevant information about it! WORK SMARTER!

#5) www.amazon.com : Walk into a college bookstore and the book prices you will see will usually resemble the price of a small country. Alright, maybe not that grandiose but still, would you rather pay $150 for a book or $30 (yes, the difference is
that big)? Stretch those savings to 5 classes per semester for four years and you’re saving a considerable hunk of change. BUT DON’T PUT IT OFF! It usually takes books 2 weeks to get to you, so don’t be at the mercy of the bookstore on the first day of class.

#6) Get your classes early : This is more of a command than a secret. Wonder why you can never get into that super fun class with that super cool teacher? It’s because everybody else wants in to (and they were smart enough to sign up early). Now, when I say early, I don’t mean a month before school starts. I mean, if you can start signing up for classes on June 1st, you are on your computer signing up at 12:01 in the morning. Chances are, you’re probably awake anyways.

#7) Put your money where you need it: Are you an engineering major? Get a TI-89 calculator. Graphic Design major? Buy vectors,brushes, and shapes online (legally, of course). Pre-med, accounting, or other homework-intense majors? Buy the teacher’s edition of your textbook (oops, did I say that out loud?). The goal is to work smarter and harder and, if you’re only taking one math class, borrow a calculator instead of buying one. Use these tools to help you better understand your subject matter, not just weasel your way through a class. If you’re struggling with classes in your major, you might need some tutoring or even a change of majors…

#8) Get a job on-campus: Most campus jobs, while not paying a lot, are extremely flexible to your class schedules and offer you an extra incentive to use your time wisely. While a lot of kids don’t work during school, working actually forces you to study more efficiently and sharpens your global-thinking skills. And, when you need the time off to study, bosses are usually more understanding than other businesses. So, in essence, you’re a better student and you get paid for it.

#9) Get a study buddy: Unless, of course, you learn better alone and are pretty disciplined. Many students learn best by “talking it out” with other students, and having a study buddy or a study group helps everybody to understand the material and be accountable in their study time – cuz nobody wants to be “that guy” that doesn’t show up.

#10) Read ahead: This is the biggest and most unknown secret. Simply reading ahead in your textbook (usually takes all of 15 minutes) for your hardest classes gets you familiar with the upcoming material – bear in mind that you don’t need to understand it. Then your teacher goes over it. Then you’re assigned homework and you do the homework. While everyone else in the class may have only seen the material once then (cuz they don’t do the homework), you’ve had
3x the amount of exposure to it! Amazing what 15 minutes can do.

And this top 10 list continually grows! Feel free to share your own tips that you have found helpful!



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