Videos and Tips

Videos and Tips

  • The Science of Note Taking - Cornell Notes

    Part of the Student Success Center Empowering the Student video series. The Cornell note taking method is featured in this segment of the Empowering the Student segment.
  • Test Anxiety - How to Manage Test Stress

    Part of the Student Success Center Empowering the Student video series. Testing anxiety is very common. Here are some ways to work through the stress of the test
  • Learning Creatively

    How do we learn creatively? This video will help you go beyond the text book or lesson and how we can take the subject and understand it in a different light. How to make it more interesting to you. Part of the Student Success Center Empowering the Student video series.

  • Success Planning

    Sometimes it can be intimidating to take on new projects, such as a research paper or taking a class outside your comfort zone. When these challenges come up, it helps to take them step by step in order to get through them successfully. This video will offer tips on how to tackle success planning. Part of the Student Success Center Empowering the Student video series.
  • How to Communicate with Online Professor

    Developing a relationship with your professor is a key part of your academic life. You may decide to or have to take a second course with them, so the more familiar you are, the better off you will be. The following is a few tips to help you navigate student life.

    Know your professor's name

    Professors will tell you what they want to be called, for example: Dr. Jones, Professor Snape, or some may even invite you to use their first names. This will also help when you look for course materials at the bookstores and at reference desks.

    Review course material

    Know the times and dates of your class(es), they are unique to your specific class and will help professors identify you. Go over your syllabus and website materials. They contain vital information pertaining to your class(es): assignments; due and test dates; attendance and tardy policies.

    Keep noteworthy habits

    • Attend class and be ready to participate with homework and/or reading assignments completed.
    • Keep copies of your work on a thumb drive, in cloud storage, and email yourself your work. Having multiple copies help you succeed in case things are left behind, lost, or stolen.
    • Use your college email. You are more identifiable and your email is less likely to be mistaken for SPAM!
    • Utilize office hours for information to further class discussions or for clarification. Some materials are not talked about in class, but may still be on tests.

    Getting to know your professors takes time and effort on your part. Think of it as an investment in your future. Professors who are familiar with you may give career advice in their field, have contacts - people looking for new talent, and/or write Letters of Recommendations for students. Time well spent on your college life builds the foundations of your future.

    Works consulted

  • How to Budget

    Bill day. The worst day of the month. Possibly! If you don't have an understanding of how to budget. The word budget means to have a plan based on an estimate of income and expenses. What that comes down to is making sure you have enough income to pay for your needs and wants. The following are tips to help you gain control over your finances.

    Where to Start

    Setting up a system that is right for you varies from person to person and their life style. What you need for any budget is a list of all income and expenses. Your goal should be to have revenue that is more or equal to your costs. Know this, your month to month expenses change often due to birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, car repairs, and even monthly or yearly expenses. Financial planning can help you free up money for these expenses and possibly create a buffer. 

    There are many systems and tools out there that can be used to aid you; such as regular pen and paper, spreadsheets, banking tools through your institution, and apps that will track spending habits. The point of all these methods is to figure out where all your money is going and the understanding that this an ongoing process. 

    Setting Priorities 

    Start planning for the month ahead of time. Use a calendar to set up a schedule for your regular payments and arranging your main concerns. Necessities should be on the top of your list: food, shelter, transportation, utility bills and clothing. These should be considered first.  The next tier of payments to focus on could be wants or needs depending on your school and/or work situation; internet and electronic devices, such as computers and phones. These are items that can go up or down if you are willing to look for good deals, better rates, and wait for specials. Then, address your savings for things such as insurance, vacation, tuition, books, or retirement. Determine how much savings is needed for these items and plan accordingly. Your wants, such as entertainment and eating out should be concrete amounts, so consider using cash. By not charging on a debit or credit card while doing this or for shopping for gifts can keep spending under control. What eats into your income most is over spending.


    • Avoid free trials that can lead into additional expenses. The offers may seem irresistible at first, but then it may be really hard to cancel.
    • Don’t compare what you have with friends or neighbors, which used to be called, “Keeping up with the Jones.” Stay focused on your individual goals.
    • Try not to use credit cards. It's easy to charge things and forget it, until the bill comes due.  It's a cycle of charging which causes you to over pay for things you possess and keep paying for with added charges.
    • Avoid late fees, overdraft charges, and putting off payments, all which contribute to you paying out more.

    The word ‘budget’ has a bad reputation. When it comes down to it, all it really means is you making sure that you are not living so far over your means that you feel like you’re drowning. Your main goal should be to keep as much of your income for your essentials and avoid over paying for things in the name of instant gratification.

    Read the following articles used as source material

    In Charge Debt Solutions Blog. (n.d.). How to Create a Successful Budget.

    Rachel Cruze. (n.d.). 15 Practical Budgeting Tips. Dave Ramsey Solutions.

    Jeremy Vohwinkle. (June 15, 2020). Basic Budgeting Tips Everyone Should Know. The Balance.

  • How to be a Successful Online Student

    Taking online classes requires a style of learning where you, the student, must create your own environment. A structured routine to complete assignments, study, and participate in classroom endeavors. The following are tips to help you along. 

    Organization and Routine.

    Successful online learning starts with structure and routine that you will need to be able to manage. Once you have a syllabus for each class and are clear of what’s expected of you, make a study schedule for each course. Include blocks of time for regular study and reading, as well as extra time to prepare for tests and projects such as research papers.

    Use an old-school paper planner if that works best for you or utilize Canvas, which lets you store your schedule in the cloud so you can access it from all your devices.

    Plan ahead.

    Your hectic schedule, combined with daily distractions, can easily get in the way of finishing tasks. The best online students know how to set aside time to focus. This includes having a consistent time and workspace, tuning out those distractions, and avoiding surfing the Internet.

    Despite the flexibility in being an online student, it’s important to have frequent engagement with your studies throughout the week. Provide plenty of time to space out your required readings, assignments, and online discussions.

    Consider purchasing a calendar you can use to plan your daily and weekly assignments, highlighting:

    • Assignments due, including drafts and final submissions;
    • Activities related to your program, such as study group meetups or on-campus networking events;
    • Virtual or in-person office hours with professors and advisors;
    • If you need a place to study, Wi-Fi is offered in the Del Mar College parking lots on each campus;
    • Aim for work to be done early just in case there are technical problems. You never know when the Internet's going to go out, a computer is going to need updates, or you accidentally delete your paper (it happens);
    • If Internet surfing is a problem, consider installing website blockers. 

    Don’t multitask.

    Avoid multitasking—which can actually decrease your productivity. Focus on one assignment at a time and zero in on the specific task at hand, whether that’s studying for an exam, reading a textbook, emailing a professor, or participating in an online forum. Arrange your tasks in order of importance and pay attention to the three or four crucial tasks that require the most effort.

    Block out distractions. 

    Make sure to avoid surfing the web excessively. It’s easy to become distracted by the news or your favorite celebrity gossip site. Stay focused, and avoid Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools when you need to concentrate on your studies. Do searches on your library Networks. Not only will the source material be more factual, it may keep you from getting interested in news feed or the latest trends. If Internet surfing is a problem, consider installing website blockers. 

    If you’re struggling to stay focused, then consider the Pomodoro Method. This technique helps with productivity by arranging how you work to increase efficiency. The tool builds on 25-minute work sessions, optimizing your time to focus on your online studies.

    The best way to use this method is to:

    • set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted for the scheduled period;
    • sake a five-minute break to grab a coffee, check emails, or do something else;
    • once you’ve completed four work sessions, treat yourself to a longer, 15-minute break.

    Know your resources.

    Utilize college resources that can help you. Your tuition pays for more than just your classes such as cloud storage in Outlook, IT help from the Viking Help Desk, 24/7 tutoring from on Canvas, math help from the Math Learning Center, written work help from the Stone Writing Center, life skills from our Success Coach, and the counseling center just to name a few. Life happens to all of us. Know there are places to turn with people who want to help you succeed, all you need to do is ask.

    Stay Connected.

    Depending on your professor you may need to interact with your classmates by doing projects or class discussions. You might want to further communicate with classmates to help with reminders, collaborations and to check in with if you missed a session. Just remember to keep a respectful, courteous tone, because we still have a code of conduct.

    What’s your style of learning?

    Auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learning are the three basic styles of learning. Being aware of how you learn can help you absorb the material better. You may decide that taking notes while reading or reading aloud will improve how you process your material. Understanding how you process information best will aid you in concentrating on the material. Discover your learning style and find out how it influences the way you understand information and solve problems.

    Limit Distractions. 

    While you are studying and participating in class, disconnect as much as possible. Turn off your cell phone, TV and other electronic devices to limit interruptions. In order to avoid or be tempted by news feeds utilize the library Networks. The source material will be more factual and may help you from being distracted.

    Create a balance.

    It’s important to find a balance between coursework and your other obligations, especially if you’re juggling school and work. 

    To help create an effective balance and avoid burning out, be sure to prioritize your time in a way that allows you to focus on school, work, and your personal life. Creating a predictable schedule can help you get into a routine that works for your lifestyle and allows you to dedicate your full attention to each aspect of your life at a given time.

    Get a good night’s sleep.

    Sleep is essential to rest your body and keep your mind fresh for the next day. Try to get seven to eight hours of rest a night. Pulling all-nighters is less productive than studying consistently. Include sleep in your schedule, and you can reap huge rewards.

    For more information on these topics see the following references:

    Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. (n.d.). What Makes a Successful Online Learner.

    The Library Network. (n.d.). New user tutorial for people who are lacking in computer skills

    Kelsey Miller. (April 28, 2020). 7 Time Management Tips for Online Students. Northeastern University.

    The University of Texas at El Paso. (n.d.). 7 Ways to Organize Your Study Space for Success.

  • How to Manage Your Time

    As a Del Mar College student, you will be faced with many challenges, but the one that seems to be most universal is that of time management. Finding the balance between school, work and personal time is a must for successful students. Here are some tips to get you started on the path of success.

    What are your goals?

    Before leaving on a trip you need to know where you are going. It’s the same idea when trying to organize your day, ask yourself where you want to be at the end of the day. So, in the context of classwork, the things at that you need to take care of for class are as follows: homework, study and exam preparation.

    What time do you have available?

    Time is finite, you only have 24 hours in a day, so in order to maximize the time you have, you first need to do an inventory of what you have already allotted. The best way to do this is to map out your average week on a spreadsheet. It’s best to increment time into thirty-minute chunks, you should list things like what time you wake up, when you eat and when you work or travel. The more detailed you get, the better it helps you to really plan out what you can shift around. 

    How do you rank the importance of your other daily tasks?

    Once you have listed out what your daily tasks are, it’s a good idea to rank them on a scale of 1 to 3, with 1 being most important and 3 least. An example would of a rank 1 would be dropping off children at school, while an example of a rank 3 would be watching a movie.  Think about what you are putting your time towards and what you can trim or move around. Remember that context is king and in some situations ranks may change, such as with deadlines and birthdays. Be sure to adjust as you get closer to exam times

    How much time do you need?

    Study, homework and exam preparation all take different amounts of time to do effectively.  You also need to understand that they do not come up as tasks at the same rate, as in, generally, you will need to study much more often than you will need to do exam prep, though that is on a class by class basis. 2 hours for every 1 hour of class is recommended for study. Once you have calculated how much time you need, see if you can fit it onto the spreadsheet. Also exam prep time may have greater weights at different times, such as when you need to study for a more heavily weighted mid-term. Set a time limit for your tasks to help make more time for what you need to accomplish and to keep you on pace.

    Avoid all-nighters.

    Cramming for an exam is one of the worst things you can do.  Materials absorbed in that time are very unlikely to be retained and focusing becomes extremely difficult the following day.  All of this is primarily caused by lack of sleep. SLEEP IS VERY IMPORTANT.  Study and exam prepare days in advance so you don’t have to panic and lose sleep.

    It’s okay to rest and relax.

    Don’t be afraid to invest time in yourself and your friends and family.  All work and no relaxation can cause burnout.  Just remember that you have to plan ahead to not put yourself in a situation from which you won’t get to relax.

    Works Consulted:

    Purdue Global University. (n.d.). Time Management Tips for Busy College Students.

  • 8-Weeks' Courses Student Tips

    Are you ready for an 8-weeks' course? This video will let you know how to prepare for an 8-weeks' course.

Page last updated July 17, 2023.

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