As millions of students head off to college this month, it seems appropriate to create a checklist of things every college student should know and that parents may not have mentioned. This list isn’t a check list of dorm items or hacks for managing college life. It is a practical guide with four important points to maximize short and long term academic and life success.
You’ve got your laptop, tablet and smartphone ready to go. But be forewarned. Not every professor wants to see the top of your head from behind your laptop. Even though you may be entering important dates or reminders into your smartphone, some professors may become irritated and assume you are texting or not paying attention. Instead of relying on your laptop to take notes, bring paper and pen. You may win points with the professor and retain more information.
A recent study found that students who took written notes had greater long-term recall and deeper comprehension of the topic. Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel Oppenheimer of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management studied hundreds of students and found that those who used a laptop took more verbatim notes than students using longhand. But more isn’t necessarily better. The ability to recall information and concepts from lectures was better among students who took handwritten notes.
Privacy And Security
You probably wouldn’t think twice about locking your room or car. Have you locked your computer and mobile devices? Consumer Reports found that only 36 percent of the smartphone users have set a 4-digit PIN to lock their phone. And with an estimated 3.1 million smart phones in 2013, you don’t want to fall victim.
PINs and password are critical to protecting the personal information stored on all your devices. But every day, passwords are hacked because they aren’t complex enough. Longer passwords are stronger and passwords that contain a combination of numbers, letters and characters are even better. It can be challenging to remember all the passwords you’ve created, therefore, you may want to consider using a password manager, such as LastPass, KeePass, or my1login to keep track of and generate new, secure passwords. And remember, never use the same password for different accounts and never share your passwords with anyone.
Practicing safe online behavior on social networks and public forums is equally important. Not only is this a wise practice for your future employment prospects, it is also a tip to keep you protected. From cyber crime to online bullying, there are many ways to get in trouble today. Be sure you have locked down your privacy settings on the social networks you use, such as Facebook or Instagram. Better yet, avoid posting anything you wouldn’t want to see in the headlines of a major news source since what’s said online doesn’t always stay private. One final, lesser known reminder is to use a different email account for your upcoming job search than the one associated with your social networking accounts. This could make it more difficult for future employers to find your personal accounts.
Here’s a helpful infographic on how to set privacy on Facebook, via Facebook.
Etiquette And Manners
Poor manners show disrespect. Start the school year off on the right foot by practicing good etiquette. From cutting in line, to dropping the F bomb, you probably have witnessed rude behavior. Don’t be that person. Remember the lessons you learned as a child- say please and thank you, look people in the eye when you shake hands, and be prompt and attentive.
There are also the less-obvious rules of good manners. Remember, when you RSVP to an event, you are committing yourself, so show up. Respond to emails and text messages, but not while you are driving, in class or in the company of others. And turn off your smartphone ringer. No one wants to hear that beep every time you get a new message, call or update. And the top annoying office behavior, as cited by 65 percent of those surveyed in a Harris Interactive/Jive study…
Having loud or private conversations in public areas.
Work And Ethics
It doesn’t matter if you need money or not, get a job. Any job. 62 percent of business leaders with hiring responsibilities feel someone with no college degree but some work experience would fare better in the workforce than a person who has a diploma but no work on their resume, according to a study by FTI Consulting on behalf of Northeastern University.
Not only will you fare better in the job market post-college, you will also learn many valuable lessons such as how to work with difficult people. Your experience holding a job may teach you customer service or sales skills, which are extremely transferrable to any future role you may have. You’ll also benefit from the less-tangible skills such as time management, interpersonal relations, and good old fashioned work ethic. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll learn how to follow instructions, show up on time and be accountable for doing the grunt work that often needs to be done. While good grades are important, it is your ability to translate what you’ve learned into the world of work that seems to be important to employers.
Originally submitted to USNews & World Report.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.