• Length:
    6 Weeks
  • Effort:
    3–4 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

About this course


The skills you learned in the military will go a long way toward helping you succeed in college, but if you’re looking for some extra support – or an academic tune-up – then you’ll find it in this course. We know that the culture of higher education is different from the culture of the military in meaningful ways, and we also know that one of the keys to excelling in college - especially for student veterans - is learning to navigate these differences successfully, right from the very start.

This course aims to help you do just that. First, the course will orient you to the norms and expectations of the college classroom. The quicker you know what is expected of you, the quicker you can start learning. Second, the course will offer you strategies to ease your transition, to help you achieve your academic goals, and to allow you to make the most of your college education.

While this course is open to everyone, the content has been tailored specifically for student veterans currently pursuing higher education, active duty servicemembers who aspire to start school or return to school soon, and higher education professionals who work to support student veterans at their schools. If this sounds like you, and if you’re ready to learn how to make your transition easier and more successful, then we hope you’ll join us.

This online curriculum may be used in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, as a start-to finish, self-directed online experience (MOOC). It can also, in its current format, serve as an “orientation” for other student veteran success programs. We also invite you to utilize this resource as a library/toolkit of academic success strategies, a tool for flipped classroom pedagogy, or a companion text for on-the-ground transition courses.

We welcome the opportunity to assist higher education institutions (both 2-year and 4-year), military installation education services officers and transition assistance programs, veteran focused non-profit organizations, and more. To get underway, contact us at the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration.

What you'll learn

  • Foundational academic and study skills for achieving academic success in college
  • Strategies for more effective reading, writing, test preparation, and time management
  • Proven tips for students taking STEM and other technical courses
  • Metacognition and academic mindset
Metacognition and Mindset
  • Introduction:  Metacognition and Mindset
  • How Learning Works
  • Activating Prior Knowledge
  • The Importance of Effort
  • Mindset
  • Metacognition in Practice
Active Reading and Note-Taking
  • Introduction: Active Reading and Note-Taking
  • How to Activate Your Reading
  • Questions to Ask Yourself
  • Effective Text Marking
  • What Kind of Note-Taker Are You?
  • Cornell Note-Taking
  • Iterative Note Review
How to Study for Technical Courses
  • Introduction: What is a Technical Course?
  • How to Think About Technical Courses
  • The Myth of the “Math & Science Person”
  • Insightful Studying
  • The Distributed Study Model
  • Making the Most of Problem Sets
  • The Value of the First Exam
  • Studying in Groups
Hard Reading, Good Writing
  • Introduction: Hard Reading
  • Context is King
  • Kinds of Academic Texts
  • Three Approaches to Reading
  • Reading Strategies
  • Introduction: Good Writing
  • Guidelines
  • Iterative Writing
  • Structure
  • Thesis/Claim vs Opinion (Related Video)
Effective Time Management
  • Introduction:  Effective Time Management
  • How to Perform a Time Audit
  • The Art of Calendaring
  • Getting Real About Study Time
  • The Pomodoro Technique
  • Tools for Organizing Your Time
  • More Time Management Tips
  • Making Time for Wellness
Navigating Campus Culture
  • Introduction: Navigating Campus Culture
  • The Hidden Curriculum
  • Academic Integrity
  • Interacting with Faculty
  • Good Email Etiquette
  • Asking for Help

Meet your instructors

R.J. Jenkins
Curriculum Designer
Columbia University
Sara Remedios
Associate Dean of Students
Columbia University
Josh Edwin
Senior Assistant Dean of Students
Columbia University

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Learner testimonials

“Without this course, I would have stumbled through my first semesters in college; with it, I was able to be critical, smart, and serious about my academic habits—habits I’ve carried with me throughout my learning career.”
-- Graham Patterson, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran