The First Week of School – Start with Good Learning Habits

With the heat of summer upon us, it is hard to believe that school will soon be in session once again. The first week of school is critical for starting off the semester with good habits. Starting off on the wrong foot can start a downward spiral that can be difficult to overcome. Use the following tips to get the semester started off right.

Take Responsibility

At WDT there’s no one looking over your shoulder or holding your hand to make sure you get off on the right foot. It’s all up to you—and your feet. Our staff is here to help in any way we can, but you need to let us know what challenges you may be having.

Attend Class

In a class that meets 30 times in a semester, each lesson has about 3 percent of the content. If you miss the first week, you are already 8 percent behind. Every professor is on a different timeline, and it is important that you are on board.

Know Your Limits

Some classes, especially those concerning math and science, are taught at many different levels. Be sure you haven’t signed up for a class that’s either too hard or too easy for you, given your prior training and abilities. Placement tests and course numbers aren’t always right, so trust your own sense of the course. Make changes early if necessary and avoid a disaster later in the semester.

Use the Syllabus

The syllabus can give you the inside track on what counts and what doesn’t. In some courses, the syllabus contains important clues about what will be on the tests, within the course’s written goals and objectives. Be alert to these tip-offs about what the professor deems as important. Often, the syllabus will contain the value of each class activity toward your final grade. This will help you to focus your energy appropriately.

Take Note

Get into the habit early of writing everything down from the very first meeting of the class. Keeping your hands moving will help you actively engage with the lecture and form questions. If it is a hands on class, be sure to actively participate.

Plan Ahead

Get out your calendar (paper or electronic) and mark all the important dates: the dates and times of all your exams, your professors’ office hours, paper due dates, and WDT holidays and vacations. Be on the lookout for possible conflicts, which should be resolved right away.

Designate a Study Zone

It’s not too early to scope out a quiet place where you’ll do your studying. And when you get there, turn off the gadgets. It is easy to be distracted by devices by way of texting, Facebook, IM, Twitter, and many more. Allow yourself five minutes at the end of every hour if you can’t keep them off. But, after five minutes, be strict with yourself to power down again.

Most professors do assign homework for the first week of classes and actually expect you to do it, even if there’s not a test or quiz until the fourth week. First impressions do matter, and putting forth effort in the beginning will benefit not only your habits, but your final grade. So get off to a good start, and keep in mind that you are investing in your future.

Dual enrollment for high school students

If you are currently a high school sophomore or junior, you may want to consider dual enrollment at Western Dakota Tech. While you can still take high school classes and participate in high school activities, this opportunity will allow you to get a step ahead in your post high school education. This means the potential for earlier graduation, and experience in the work force. Read on for more benefits of dual enrollment courses at Western Dakota Tech.

1. Dual enrollment will give you an idea of what course work will be like in college. The academic environment is different from high school, and allows for more freedom and flexibility.

2. You may have the opportunity to take courses that are not offered in high school.

3. It will allow you to get a better feel for the area of your academic interest. For example, if you took a general healthcare class in high school, healthcare courses offered at WDT can give you more insight if you think that is the career path you wish to take.

4. Many students change their field of study at least once. By taking a couple of dual enrollment classes, you can narrow down what you would like to choose as your field of study, before having the pressure to decide upon high school graduation.

5. Perhaps the largest benefit to dual enrollment is that you may begin accumulating credits for program requirements, allowing you to take lighter course loads through your schooling, or graduate early.

6. It is cost effective. Rapid City Area School students who are at least a junior and in good academic standing can take all courses free of charge, except for the nine Regent General Education courses, which are $40 per credit hour.

There are many benefits to dual enrollment at Western Dakota Tech, along with still being able to enjoy the high school experience.
If you are interested in WDT’s dual enrollment program, or for the dual enrollment application, please visit the Western Dakota Tech website.

Graduation party plans for the WDT graduate

As graduation looms on the horizon for Western Dakota Tech students, graduation party plans are in full swing. Are you planning a graduation party for one of our students? If the answer is yes, here are a few easy and inexpensive ideas to make your tech grad’s day extra special.

1. Think in numbers. Purchasing four cookie cutters in the numbers 2,0,1, and 4 can go a long way. Not only can you create actual cookies representing the year of graduation, but you can also use them to cut fruit (such as watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe) to create a festive fruit tray by skewering the numbers together. Freeze a few of the skewers and add them into a punch bowl as a festive accent to the beverage.

2. Offer a DIY photo booth. Set up an area with a camera on a tripod, pointed at a wall of blue and gold streamers. Have a few props on hand such as hats, glasses, moustaches or empty picture frames so guests can take silly or serious photos of themselves to commemorate the day.

3. Create a relevant menu. Get creative with your party snacks! If your graduate was in the nursing program, think about food such as mini hot dogs wrapped in crescent dough to look like bandaged fingers. If graduating from the Diesel Service Technology program, think of things such as mini chocolate covered doughnuts; instant spare tires!

4. Decorate in school fashion. Use balloons in blue and gold, and hang some school pendants on the wall. Streamers in shades of yellow and blue can be hung in the doorways. Roll silverware in white napkins and secure with a black ribbon to create the effect of a diploma.

5. Cherish the memories. Have a ‘memory jar’ available to guests along with small pieces of paper, and invite guests to share their favorite memory of the grad during school. Another way to do this is to frame a photo of the graduate with a wide cardboard mat, and have guests leave a few words of advice and sign the mat. After the party, the photo and mat can be mounted in a frame.

6. Create a money tree. Put a few small branches into a vase and clip on some clothes pins. Guests can pin money to the tree to help with expenses that the graduate may have acquired during their schooling.

No matter what degree the graduate has obtained from Western Dakota Tech, graduates have an excellent track record of finding careers in their fields. The Career Services Office can help studens be successful by assisting with resume and job interviewing skills, posting of career opportunities, hosting of on-campus job fairs, and career guidance.