Monday, November 5, 2018

Become a Lobo. Check!

Are you thinking of college, but just do not know where to begin? It is easier than you might think, and student support staff at UNM-Gallup can help you get started on what could be the most exciting journey of your life. There are a number of early activities you can do now to get yourself ready to jump into college life. If you are currently a high school student, finish strong. Do not get too comfortable in your final semesters. Finishing big and pushing hard to the end will help you enter college prepared for anything. Stay in touch with your guidance counselor to make sure you have completed everything you need to smoothly transition into college-level coursework.

Although many two-year institutions like UNM-Gallup do not require the ACT or SAT for admission, these scores can be used for placement purposes. Study and prepare for these tests and remember your highest scores are the ones that count.

Now you are ready to launch your college plan!  Your first step should be to apply at to submit an online application. You can also complete a paper application and submit it in-person or through the mail. Request that your transcripts be sent to UNM-Gallup and complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will determine your eligibility for student financial aid. If you have not taken the SAT or ACT, stop by campus to take a placement test- no appointment is needed.

Your next step is to see an advisor to plan your schedule and register for New Student Orientation where you will become familiar with the campus and meet a lot of other new students. Now you are ready to become a Lobo!

Once you have gotten this far and are excited for classes to start, there are a number of things you can do on your own to lay the groundwork for student success. Using some of the following strategies can help you hit the ground running as a strong and prepared college student.

  1. Read, read and read some more: You should know that most college classes will require a lot of reading. Taking time to strengthen your reading skills and capacity ahead of time can help you get used to the workload and can often help you grow interest in a degree, certificate or career choice.
  2. Sharpen your technical skill set: Whether it is researching and typing a paper or participating in an online course, the ability to comfortably use technology can really help you be ready for classes, homework and projects.
  3. Practice your social and people skills: College is a great place to develop and practice communication skills.  Polished leadership and people skills will also help as you graduate and enter the job market.
  4. Develop strong time management skills:  Being able to effectively manage your time can help balance the multiple demands of your new life as a college student. It is very important to find that balance between social and academic needs. Be aware of resources available to you such as the gymnasium and student life center.
  5. Plan to get involved: Learning does not just happen in the classroom. Look for a club or activity to add meaning to your life and to round out your education.
  6. Navigate your major: Check in with your advisor to talk about academic and career interests. Your advisor can also help you make an academic plan and track your progress.
  7.  Use New Student Orientation to your benefit: Become familiar with campus resources available to help you be successful and ask a lot of questions. Everyone at orientation is a new student and probably has many of the same questions as you.
  8. Know where to go for assistance: Introduce yourself to your professors and get a schedule of their office hours. Check out on-campus resources such as the library, tutoring centers, scholarship office, and student affairs specialists.

Meet some of our student services experts who share their best advice for new students.

Kimmila Simms, Director of TRIO/Student Support Services
“When you come to college know that you are welcomed and wanted. Ask questions of the students, staff, and faculty and be open-minded and respectful at all times. Work hard but know that GPA isn’t the only driving force; get involved in clubs, on campus jobs, welcome events, and workshops to gain a holistic experience and find mentors to help you through your college life. Don’t forget where you’ve come from and the people who helped you along the way and don’t forget why you are in college because that will give the confidence boost that is needed when things get tough.”

Michelle Lee, Student Success Manager
“Look up as much background information as you can for deadlines, processes and expectations. Go in with the mentality that you can do it, you belong here and ask questions. Make sure you engage, get involved, and commit to completing. Knowledge and skills gained, hard skills and soft skills, will help you to navigate life with greater confidence and could open more opportunities over time. This journey will take a lot of patience, self- determination and effort. You can do it!”

Melissa Rodriguez, Educational Site Coordinator
The best advice I have for an incoming student is to visit and join our various student resource centers such as Student Services, Center for Academic Learning (CAL) and TRIO Programs, etc. Joining these programs will help you develop the skills you need to be a successful student and make the most of your learning experience.”

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