Tag Archives: students

Study Tips: Reading Comprehension

Succeed In College: Read To Understand

By SLAC

Try not to be overwhelmed by setting a reading schedule, Bobcats!

Try not to be overwhelmed by setting a reading schedule, Bobcats!

Love it or hate it, you have to get familiar with academic reading in college. Your exams may include questions about readings that professors assigned but never discussed in class, so learn to read to understand. The more active your reading, the better your chance for thorough comprehension. Use a structured reading method involving forethoughtperformance, and reflection.

During the forethought phase, gather and prepare materials, and form a context for what you read before you read it. This helps you connect your thoughts to prior knowledge and builds retention:

  • Spend 5 to 10 minutes on the chapter title, topic outlines, headings, charts, diagrams and illustrations to create familiarity with content.
  • Read the chapter summary twice; think of what you already know about the topic.
  • Ask yourself what question the chapter is answering.
  • Determine how much energy to put into reading based on earlier study and knowledge.
  • Use the Internet if necessary to create another framework in which to put what you read.

Use the performance phase to actively read:

  • Focus attention by following the text with your index finger, a pen or pencil, and a note card with colored edges to keep you on the correct line.
  • Divide the chapter into parts; use a timer and short breaks to question yourself about the material.
  • Read and then mark or highlight primary points and write notes in the margin.
  • Explain to yourself (aloud) what you understand; hearing yourself increases retention.
  • Use headings to formulate questions in the margins and to prep for exams; ask yourself what the primary ideas are in each section.
  • Reread confusing sections and get help from learning centers and classmates if you need it.

Give yourself a reflection phase to review and understand:

  • Review the day of your first read-through to increase retention, and review each day until the exam.
  • Use chapter review cards, mapping, study guides and test preps to organize thoughts.
  • Explain aloud what you’ve understood to others; teaching leads to understanding.
  • Continue building a context from what you know — and connect the text to your class notes. Write the text’s page numbers beside corresponding in-class notes.

Other types of college texts require different reading strategies. Problem-centered texts require that you read and work problems; selected readings require you to use introductions and notes from class lectures; literature requires you to read after gaining a context for the work from prior knowledge or the Internet; research articles require you to read abstracts before starting; and reference works require you to preview structure, use tabs to mark key points, and note other textual facets.

Watch for two common stumbling blocks: an inadequate college-level vocabulary and poor concentration. Electronic or paper vocabulary cards can help tackle the former, as can learning Greek and Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes. Build your concentration by reading through a chapter in smaller increments in a setting that puts demands on your space and time.

Remember that your primary goal for reading is to understand, not simply memorize. You are building a structure upon which your future depends, so make it sturdy.

Source: Adapted from Sellers, D., Dochen, C., & Hodges, R. (In press). Academic Transformation: the Road to College Success. Boston: Pearson.

Exploring Majors: Agriculture

What’s it like to be an agriculture major? Dorothy Bell tells us.

By Brittnie Curtis

Being an outstanding student takes focus and motivation.

Being an outstanding student takes focus and motivation.

Q: What fueled your interest to major in animal science?
A.
I grew up with a golden retriever that was the same age as me. When I was younger, I started volunteering with animals at the rescue organizations that you often see outside of pet stores. I’ve loved animals my entire life and have always wanted to help them.

Q: Why did you decide to attend Texas State?
A.
One of the reasons is that it’s close to home, and it’s a growing school. Another reason is that I want to go the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences after I graduate, and a lot of the curriculum for the animal science major at Texas State is tailored to what A&M wants.

What were you unsure about when you first arrived at Texas State?
A.
College in general really scared me. I thought I was going to fail. I was nervous about taking notes because you never take notes in high school; you just sit there and listen. It’s weird coming from high school where you have four to seven classes a day, then going to college where you have two or three classes a day and it’s not the same every day. I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up and would be overwhelmed. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from an orientation leader – treat your school like your job. You have eight hours every day and you should spend that on school and the rest of the time you can do whatever you want.

Q: What would you tell high school seniors who have the same fears?
A.
Try your hardest, but also have fun. The summer before college I was so scared to leave all of my friends. Then the semester starts and you have to embrace it; just take everything as it comes. Think about your future and what kind of grades you want to make. It’s really important to have a good study space – a spot that means all business. You can’t goof off in the spot that you’re studying in. I guess time management is one of the biggest things that you have to learn to do.

Q: What was your daily schedule like?
A.
My first semester I had a few 8 a.m. classes, and I never missed a class. While in class I would take notes and try to understand everything. I’d go back to my dorm and if I didn’t understand something, I would read about it in the textbook. That way when it came time for testing and we got our reviews, I would be prepared.

Q: What would you tell prospective students about the department of agriculture?
A.
All of the people are friendly and have the biggest hearts. They really care about the Earth and how you can use it in positive ways, like agribusiness. It’s a way of using the Earth’s resources to further your business without being detrimental to the environment.

Q: Were you involved in any extra-curricular activities?
A.
I was involved in the pre-vet society. It’s all pre-vet students who need good grades for veterinarian school, so it’s like a support group. Whenever we’d go to the meetings, they were always informational. They give you tips on what you need to prepare to go to vet school. They also told us about the GRE test that we would need to take to get into vet school. Even as a freshman, it was nice to get a chance to see what was ahead.

Q: What are your goals as you continue on your college education?
A.
I want to make a lot of connections and friends that are more like me and can relate. I want to be confident in myself, and I want to know what I want to do, even if it isn’t being a vet; I just want to love what I do. I also want to try to make the Dean’s List most semesters.

Q: You won the Outstanding Freshman Student award from the Department of Agriculture. What advice would you give incoming freshman who are striving to do the same?
A.
It’s all about motivation. You need to be motivated to reach your goals. When your professors tell you what they think you should do to get a good grade, do it. Also, don’t be afraid to go to office hours because that’s their time dedicated to help you. At the same time, don’t just kill yourself with all academics. Try to have fun, go to the river and experience San Marcos and even Austin. Get the college experience, but stay focused, because you only have four years to build yourself up. Either you or your parents are paying for your education, so you should strive to make the best out of it.

Rising Stars – SioTeX™ Team

Texas State team advances to ACS GCI Business Plan Competition

SioTeX has a 1-in-5 chance of taking top honors! Show this green company your support.

by Brittnie Curtis and Mary-Love Bigony

Four Texas State graduate students and one recent Ph.D graduate left Houston in April with a $125,000 prize from the Texas HALO Fund. When they arrived back in San Marcos, they were ready to build their business.

The prize came from the SioTeX™ team’s participation in the Rice Business Plan Competition, the first time a Texas State University team had competed in the prestigious event, which attracts graduate students from around the world.

The competition allowed its participants a unique lesson in the importance of teamwork. “I was interested in starting a company based on my Ph.D. work and participating in the Rice Business Plan Competition,” says Dr. Haoran Chen, the first graduate of Texas States Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) doctorial program. “But I realized that an individual effort was far from sufficient. All kinds of things needed to be done quickly and in high quality.”

Chen talked to Dr. Gary Beall, associate director of the MSEC program, who quickly assembled a team:

  • Dr. Haoran Chen
  • Marcus Goss, MSEC doctoral student
  • Ash Kotwal, MSEC doctoral student
  • Cesar Rivera, master’s student in Texas State’s communication design program
  • Lisa Taylor, M.B.A. student in the McCoy College of Business Administration

For Lisa Taylor, the support of Texas State faculty members was a key component to the group’s success. “The Texas State Faculty has been so dedicated and helpful to our team during this process. Each of our department’s professors, deans and directors committed so much of their time, knowledge and expertise,” she says. “Dr. Beall recognized the benefits of constructing a team of students with varying expertise, and acted as our lead advisor. None of this would be possible without him.”

SioTeX™ will produce and distribute Eco-Sil™, an environmentally friendly alternative to fumed silica. It’s manufactured from rice hulls and is a renewable source. Target markets include paint, fiberglass-reinforced plastic and tires. These markets currently account for $1.5 billion in sales annually.

SioTeX™ will soon compete as a finalist in the 2014 ACS GCI Green Chemistry and Engineering Business Plan Competition. The competition will take place at the American Chemical Society GCI meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, on June 18. This business plan competition is dedicated to green chemistry and engineering and focuses on sustainability-oriented entrepreneurship. The competition allows the general public to vote for best technology. Donations and voting will be accepted through June 13. The votes will count towards the individual overall score for each competitor and the funds raised will be awarded to the grand prize winner of the competition.

Support your fellow Bobcats! Make a contribution of $5 or more and use your votes to support SioTeX. Go, Cats, go!

 

Student Life: The Job Hunt

Bobcats find job-search assistance through Career Services

By Brittnie Curtis

Finding a job is easier with the help of Career Services.

Finding a job is easier with the help of Career Services.

The spring semester is finally over. Some students will be soaking up the sun this summer at Sewell Park, but others may want to find a job. Now is a good time to do that. With students graduating, traveling and going home, many employers need to hire new staff to fill newly empty positions.

To help with your job search, take advantage of the resources available at Career Services. Among the services you’ll find there are résumé review, career counselors and advisors, and Jobs4Cats, a real-time list that allows students and alumni to create an on-line profile. Having a Jobs4Cats profile gives you easy access to on- and off-campus jobs and internships around the world.

“Our goal is to assist students with any part of their job-search process,” says Allison Birk, career advisor and liaison to the College of Fine Arts and Communications. “That could be sophomore or juniors looking for internships, seniors preparing their first full-time position or alumni considering transitioning to a new position.”

How do you maximize your chances of getting called for an interview? Birk suggests having someone review your résumé before sending it out to potential employers. You can schedule an appointment with her or any other of the career advisors and counselors at 512.245.2645, or you use the online 48-hour résumé critique site.

Birk also recommends paying close attention to the details listed in the job description. “Review job requirements and applications instructions because each may be different. Always include your summer class schedule when applying to jobs for scheduling purposes.”

Career Services is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the summer. Make an appointment by calling 512,245,2645.

With all of this information, you should be ready to start your job hunt. Good luck, Bobcats!

Alumni: Mike Kickirillo

Director of Spurs Broadcasting visits Texas State, advises future graduates

By Andrew Osegi

Spurs basketball

Spurs Basketball

Excitement was buzzing all around the classroom. Students in Larry Carlson’s Sports As News class gathered their note-taking materials as the instructor and his anticipated guest chatted near the entrance.

In an effort to examine the challenges of media coverage in sports, Mike Kickirillo, director of broadcasting for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and a Texas State alumnus, visited his alma mater Tuesday, Jan. 29, to answer questions from aspiring mass communication professionals.

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Study Tips: Get Out

Get Up! Get Out! Do Something!

By Texas State SLAC

Texas State students enjoying the Homecoming Soap Box Derby

Get out there and get involved with the Texas State community.

College is all about balance! Just like you can’t have all play and no work, you can’t have all work and no play. So get involved. As a Texas State Bobcat, this is your Lair—and you have to make it your home.

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Spotlight: Marissa Martinez

As agriculture student seeks vet
career, USDA gives support

Marissa Martinez photo

Marissa Martinez

By Billi London-Gray

Marissa Martinez says she has “always, always” loved animals. From raising chicks in her bedroom as a child to tending animals at Freeman Ranch during her first class at Texas State University, she has followed a path to make creature care her life’s work.

Added to her enjoyment of this work — and her dean’s list-worthy grades — as evidence that she’s found her calling, last week the federal government gave her its endorsement: she was selected as one of only 24 students nationwide to attend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual conference, the 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum.

The second-year animal science major, on track to become a veterinarian, says the recognition is exciting. But, she adds, she wouldn’t have found the opportunities without the support of Texas State’s Agriculture Department.

“My time at Texas State, the short two years that I have been here, has been nothing but great,” she says. “The atmosphere is amazing, everyone is so friendly, and my professors actually care about me as a person.” Continue reading

Happenings: Fall Job and Internship Fair

Job and Internship Fair offers students chance to meet employers

By Mary KincyA logo for Texas State University.

The Fall Job and Internship Fair, taking place Oct. 5 at Texas State University, offers students the opportunity to visit with employers about future careers, full- and part-time jobs, and internships.

The Texas State Division of Student Affairs’ Career Services has produced a series of presentations to help students prepare to attend the fair, from 2-5:30 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom.
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Around Campus: Fashion Merchandising Association

Fashion merchandising students combine style with business savvy

Members of the Fashion Merchandising Association on campus.

By Catherine Harper

From dealing with designers to negotiating with wholesale retailers, fashion merchandising requires knowledge of the industry and a passion for fashion. For more than 30 years, the Texas State University Fashion Merchandising Association has taken stylized dedication to the forefront of campus, community and beyond.

FMA is a university-supported student organization within the College of Applied Arts and the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, encompassing the field of fashion merchandising. As a professional and service-based organization at Texas State, FMA provides members with an in-depth view of both the fashion world and the industry of fashion merchandising.

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Study Tips: Finals

Final approach: Don’t hit the wall,
climb over it

By Texas State SLAC

Many students find their anxiety level at an all-time high by the end of the semester. Is this you during finals?

  • Feel like you go blank?
  • Become frustrated?
  • Find yourself thinking, “I can’t do this,” or “I am stupid”?
  • Feel your heart racing or find it difficult to breathe?
  • Suddenly remember the answers after turning in a test?
  • Score much lower on exams than on homework or papers?

Pressure can come from many directions. Maybe you just want to do as well on your final exam as you have during the semester. Maybe you must do well on your final to pull up your grade. Reacting to performance pressure, anxiety and stress can challenge even the best students, but you can take control by “preparing to succeed.” Continue reading