There’s one brutal truth every new college student faces: how different college life will be. Yes, this is true even for those who sailed through high school math and science courses with ease. And when students decide to enter college as life science majors in subjects such as biology, human biology, kinesiology, or exercise science, that difference becomes more prominent.
Maintaining a high GPA in college will call for new habits and more discipline to meet higher-level academic and social challenges. The extra effort required for a degree in life sciences, often a crucial launching point for a healthcare career, is definitely worthwhile.
A Life Sciences Major is a Good Decision
By definition, life science is a term referring to the study of living organisms, systems, and processes. This foundational knowledge naturally connects students to success in many areas:
Reassuring Facts about the Life Sciences Major
National statistics support the wisdom of choosing a major in the wide-open, quickly expanding life sciences arena:
Yes, it’s an excellent time to be a life sciences major.
Surviving – and Succeeding as a Life Sciences Major
With a great future on the horizon, college students aiming for a health or life sciences major must prepare for the academic challenges. Research shows a history of success cannot be considered a predictor of college success. According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 60% of bachelor’s degree students, including those in premedical majors, left those fields.
Why is that? In college, class information comes faster, the pace of learning rises, and the amount of knowledge to comprehend is often greater than even the best high school students expect.
Proven Strategies to Help Ensure Success in the Sciences
Thankfully, habits, routines, and strategies can assist students before it’s too late. Here’s a list of eight actions new life science-focused students can take to survive and succeed in their dream field.
1. Always plan to read material to be covered in a lecture before the lecture. Your instructor should provide a class outline, called a syllabus, which is your guide to in-class topics and supporting materials.
2. Get your energy up before class and be active in class discussions. One recommendation is to sit in front so you can see and hear everything presented clearly. Also, making mental pictures of the information is vital because visualizing the material helps retain more of the many concepts you’ll encounter in the sciences.
3. Have a system for good note-taking and organize the notes for your learning style. After class, take the time to review them and fill in knowledge gaps. Research shows immediate post-class sessions increase retention and understanding.
4. When studying scientific concepts, it’s easy to focus on specific compounds or the steps in a complex system. Make sure to see and understand the big picture, and then study the details.
5. Join or start a study group. Nearly everyone in a class will recall certain aspects that others didn’t. By combining knowledge and discussing a topic, everyone gains a more in-depth understanding.
6. Use the instructor’s office hours regularly. Falling behind in a life or health sciences class is never a good idea, and catching up can be difficult. College faculty members are passionate about ensuring their students succeed.
7. Plan time to review in detail all missed answers on tests and quizzes as soon as possible. (Combine with #6.) Gaps in knowledge and misconceptions need to be filled in, explained, and fully understood.
8. Develop a love for flow-charts and notecards. Because most science subjects involve step-by-step processes, the generous use of 5” by 3” notecards is essential. Graphical representations with images and arrows aid understanding and recall. Notecards are ready-made for putting a term on one side and the resulting action on the other. Plus, they are super portable, meaning even a 20-minute cappuccino break can turn into valuable study time.
Be Proactive: Get What You Need to Succeed
The internet is full of useful resources for succeeding in college, so do some searching to see what works best.
Some websites to check out: elearning, collegeraptor, and lifehack. Also, when narrowing down a university to attend, ask the admissions advisors about student service options, which often include learning style assessment, free tutoring, and test-taking strategies, and student clubs.
Cleveland University-Kansas City: Chiropractic and Health Sciences
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is in Overland Park, Kansas, within the Kansas City metro. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been on a mission to create a healthier world through chiropractic and health science degrees. It’s a mission where we’re seeking to deliver everything we do at a higher level.
Among the health and life science-related degree programs offered:
Many of the prerequisite classes for CUKC degrees are available as online classes, too. Discover the health or life science major that’s right for you. Get more information by connecting with an advisor here. You may also want our free resource about financial assistance: Your Guide to Navigating College Financial Aid.