Street Smarts

I would be the first to admit that we do not do a very good job onboarding transfer students to the College of Business. We only get 90 minutes with the m as part of the University’s orientation and most of that time is focused on schedule planning. For the students, its a bit like drinking water from a fire hose. They need to absorb a lot of information in a very short period of time. Once they get into the semester and experience their first set of exams, transfer students realize that we are a very different place than the one they left: different culture, different class sizes, different standards, different rules and far too frequently this leads to disappointing outcomes for the students.  By the time they figure out they are in trouble, its too late.  If you aren’t proactive at UCF and get the help you need early, the place can run you over.

So I have charged a group of Ambassadors, transfer students all, to help us put together a series of workshops that can be delivered in the Exchange the first two or three weeks of the semester that will better orient transfer students to the College of Business.  These sessions might include such topics as how to access the various resources available to students, how to avoid student debt, the importance of connecting with other students and joining clubs, building a relationship with your career coach and faculty expectations of students.

Some of these sessions will need to be run by College personnel: career coaches, associate deans and department chairs.  But, the Ambassadors can play an especially critical role in helping transfer students develop “street smarts.”. As students, they are in the best position to help other students learn what it takes to thrive in the College of Business.  So at the first meeting of our “task force,” I have asked them to put together a set of “street smarts,”  tips that they could share with other students as they start their journey in the College.  Some early suggestions include:

  • Although Lonny might act like the Tasmanian Devil, he is really Batman with a utility belt that can help lost students find a path to success.
  • You are not in the College until you complete the College Program Prerequisites. If you haven’t already done them, do them NOW.
  • You need to watch Dr. Clevenger’s lecture capture class carefully because he includes random facts that appear on the test. It is his way of catching “lecture surfers.”
  • If you think you can work full time and take a full course load like you did at the community college, you are going to find out that you’re wrong.
  • Dude, Intermediate Accounting is really really hard: Lots of students fail. If you want to major in accounting, you will need to bring your “A” game for this course..
  • If you want to avoid lines in the testing center, get there before 11 am.  There are never lines then.

You get the idea.  We plan on launching this new onboarding program in Fall of 2016.  To provide the most comprehensive set of advice possible for this effort, I want to include all of you in this process through social media.  So, if you are a student with a piece of advice you’d like to pass along to those who follow you, or someone new to the College who could use advice about a particular challenge, let us know by leaving a comment on this post or tweeting us using the hashtag #UCFBIZSTREETSMARTS.

This is an easy way to have a lasting impact during your time at UCF. Let’s help all our Knights get off to a good start in the College of Business.

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12 thoughts on “Street Smarts

  1. Great idea for incoming students! It is very different than colleges from the application process to planning your schedule semesters in advance. I speak from experience and will happily graduate this semester! Your post implies this is main campus though and I would ask that you also include regional campus students in this opportunity. We don’t get the benefits of the main campus (i.e. Starter riot, speaker series) because it’s not feasible for most to attend (hence being regional).
    Thanks for your blog, love to read your thoughts 🙂
    Rita

  2. Before doing anything else, set up your knightsmail account, set it to receive Canvas/Webcourses notifications, and then get in the habit of reading…EVERYTHING! Every semester approximately 10% of the students in GEB 3003 don’t set up their email.

  3. Sounds like wonderful customer service to me! According to the Gallup survey of 1 million customers, advice is the highest form of customer service you can give someone. A piece of advice, a perceived insider tip (like coming to the testing center before 11 a.m.) becomes the added value to the experience. And its the added value that creates loyal customers, in this case: students.

  4. 1.The Subway in the Union doesn’t carry hot sauce, the one in the gym does.
    2. If there was a particular subject you were good at in high school, such as American History, and you didn’t pass the AP test, you could still probably pass the CLEP test offered through the testing center. Easy credits. It’s like $80ish.
    3. If you’re bad at math, go to the Econ help desk on the third floor of BA2. It’s like having your own personal tutor.
    4. Invest in a bike. Longboards are for freshmen.

  5. From Kellyann Badree on LinkedIn: It is not as easy as it looks. It is nothing like community college. There is a lot of work that will help you prepare for your future. Don’t try to be a full time student and have a full time job. You will run around with your head chopped off stressed out about everything. Do not rush into finishing. Take your time and take advantage of every opportunity UCF has to offer.

  6. Comments from the Office of Professional Development Facebook Page:
    Bryant Santana: Don’t be afraid to join a organization and to ask for help from faculty, staff, professors and tutors.
    Brandon Vang: If you commute and have to dedicate a whole day to UCF (I’m at school from 11am to 11pm on Mondays and Wednesdays) do it. It might seem like a huge hassle, but is beneficial in the long run. Your tuition is paying for these extra things besides classes, like the entrepreneurial center or Blackstone Launchpad, utilize them! Also if you were like me and wasn’t aware of internships until UCF, make it a habit now to be aware of them and applying for them.
    Danny Singh: Do not get into extreme debt. Take the 1000 and 2000 level courses at a community college (if possible) and transfer them to UCF. I like how community college classes are not very crowded compared to UCF classes.
    Lionel Galvez: The best piece of advice I can offer is that you are not coming to study to just warm a seat. Take advantage of all the resources UCF provides to you as a new student. Network, build relationships, get experience in your field. The biggest mistake I see in life is that students think they will get a job right out of college because they have a degree. Honesty, that means nothing! Do one or two internships; get the experience you need and at the same time you are doing your research whether the company is for you or not.

  7. I love the analogy of ‘drinking water from a fire hose.’ When you transfer to UCF it feels so massive, and you have such a short time to learn everything that you need to to be successful. My advice would be to take a really easy first semester. Check rate my professor and speak with an adviser to find courses that you can handle. Take your time. You should not be in a rush to graduate. Spend time on campus with no specific goal in mind. Just walk around exploring the facilities. Drop into career services, The Exchange, a meeting at a random RSO like Gaming Knights or Knight Runners, go to The Blackstone Launchpad… join a random sport club. Whatever you want. When you are a student you have so many resources available and if you rush through your sixty credits you will barely have any time to access these unique experiences that you pay so much money for. Slow down. Talk to people. Look them in their eyeballs. Do something fun. You CAN have a genuine college experience as a transfer student.
    Build a life at the college THEN challenge yourself with some of the tough courses. If you struggle you need to talk to someone about it and find help. Get a study cube packet. Sleep less. Find a study group.

    I think it would be a cool idea to connect Transfer Alumni with new transfer students in a mentorship program. It could be a great way to involve alumni on campus and a way to provide transfer students with a way to cope with all the challenges they face.

  8. Alexis Brasseur: The community college I attended was designing their curriculum and difficulty level around making sure students were graduating. UCF College of Business is set up to help you in class but to also give you tools to use and succeed AFTER you graduate. Is UCF more difficult? Absolutely. But it is not impossible. This is the time to really apply yourself to your course work and to start building a sound network for post graduation. Take advantage of it!

  9. Be prepared to walk major distances by bringing an umbrella, trust me the distance from the buildings to the garages are a hike; don’t get soaked.
    Aim to be on campus 20 minutes prior to your class or else you will be late trying to find parking.
    Parking- This can be frustrating considering how many students are on campus. Pro tip- Look for students entering the garage and follow behind them, try not to be creepy but ask if they are coming out. It may seem a little awkward but it beats spending 20 minutes circling and ending up parking on the roof or not at all.
    Exams can be intense and cover multiple chapters, take at least 3 days to study instead of cramming it all in one day. You will remember so much more if you space out your studying.
    Always check times exams close, don’t make the mistake of assuming it ends at midnight when it really ends at 8 and miss it. Instructors will have random times since they compete for desirable test times with other professors.

    • This is a great idea. There is so much of a knowledge gap for transfer students. I would love to assist the group of ambassadors onboard transfer students anyway I can. As a transfer student myself i definitely know the struggle.

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