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Bldg B, Room B173, ECC Campus
Tel: 847-214-7370
Fax: 847-214-7352 
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Pick up a "Road to a Sweeter Life Guide" from Phi Theta Kappa in the Student Life Office.

20 in 1: 20 Tips for Students

ECC’s research shows students who successfully complete 20 credit hours during their first academic year are five times more likely to complete their degree or certificate. Achieving this milestone can be challenging, so consider these tips to help you work toward your success.

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1. Set your long-term and short-term goals.

When you know your destination, you’re more likely to stay on track. Decide where you want to be in two years (getting a diploma, transferring, starting your career), then build a plan and timeline to get you there. If you write out your goals and revisit them regularly, you can focus and finish.

2. Declare a program of study.

Visit a career or academic counselor (or both). Repeatedly. Especially if you aren’t sure what program of study matches your life goals. Check in with counselors along the way to be sure your original program of study still fits. More»

3. Embrace your college 101 experience.

What if there were a class that’s sole purpose was to help you do better in all of your other classes? This is it. COL 101 will be most useful to you in your first semester, so don’t delay registering. More»

4. Find the money.

ECC helps connect students to millions of dollars of support every year. Why? Because every hour you don’t have to work is an hour you can invest in mastering a class. The less you worry about funds, the more positive energy you can bring to your studies. Check out scholarship options, assistance through the financial aid office, and on-campus employment. More»

5. Go where the experts are.

Even if you think you have a good grasp of the material, it helps to talk about it. Visit your teacher during office hours. Stop by the math lab, writers center, write place, tutoring center , and other free communities of shared interests. Get in the habit of hanging out with people who already know what you want to learn. More»

6. Form a study group.

Is the best moment when someone in your study group translates an idea into something you can understand? Or is it when you turn out to be the one helping everyone else? In either case, study groups make challenges seem much easier and help you engage with the material in memorable ways.

7. Engage in campus life.

Some of the best lessons of college take place outside of classrooms. Joining a club (or an athletic team or community service project) is a chance to engage in a supportive community and to grow. You could discover you are a natural leader or a respected problem-solver or a reliable teammate. Those are skills that can lead to jobs! More information on: clubs & organizations | athletics

8. Ask for help.

It takes strength and maturity to ask for help. We make it easier, though. ECC is here to get you back on track. We have experts on courses, careers, finances, time-management, community service, and more. You just have to take the first step and let someone know what you need. A good place to start is with your instructor. More»

9. Use the student handbook and academic planner.

It’s already full of key dates and success tips—organized by month. Add your own deadlines, and break big tasks into stages. Sometimes the best note just says: start this project now.

10. Show up and do the work.

Go to all of your class meetings and do your homework. Sounds obvious, right? But it can be hard to balance priorities. Remember: Classes are better when you’re prepared, when you know what went on last session, and when you are focused. Doing your own work is the only way to learn.

11. Participate actively in class.

It’s hard to learn when you are not fully engaged. Take responsibility for your learning (and the money you are paying for it). Bring questions. Stay focused and involved. Share thoughtful comments. Your positive energy can ignite the classroom.

12. Enroll in learning community courses.

In learning communities, you take two or more courses with the same group of students. Even the teachers work together to connect topics. The results? Better friends. Better grades. And a deeper understanding. More»

13. Master the library.

Our library is a modern resource for engaging with information—on line, in print, from colleagues. The ECC library is packed with technology, group study spaces, quiet areas, and helpful staff. Whether you need to plug in or tune out, the library can help. More»

14. Develop a support network of friends who share similar goals.

Mutually supportive relationships make your educational journey easier. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and will help. Include family and friends, but don’t forget your teachers and staff. Build team you.

15. Find a mentor or role model.

Most of us need someone to encourage us along the way. Completing your educational goals is a long process, and it helps to talk to someone who has travelled a similar path already. Connect with someone on campus or in your community who is willing to advise and inspire you.

16. Become proficient in desire 2 learn (D2L) and the student portal.

These online spaces are packed with information tailored just for you, available 24/7. D2L keeps you up to date on classes, like your own digital calendar and filing cabinet. Over 85 percent of ECC classes use D2L, so master it now. The portal (including your student email) is the main way ECC communicates important messages. Check it often. More information on: accessECC Portal | D2L

17. Practice balance.

Study. Eat. Sleep. Work. Laugh. Exercise. You’ve got to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. No one else knows everything that is on your plate, so you have to manage your own priorities and achieve balance. Being flexible and self-aware are key.

18. Protect your time to achieve your goals.

To succeed, you must put your needs first. You have to act on purpose to get to where you want to go. Consistently choosing actions that move you toward your goals will yield results faster than focusing your energy elsewhere. Let friends, family, and work know when a crunch time is approaching, that you need their support, and that you might not be available to them.

19. Believe in yourself.

Be brave. Be confident. We all have obstacles to overcome, and the biggest ones can be our own doubts. If you are struggling, let a teacher, counselor, or friend know. Pep talks are free and effective—even ones you give yourself.

20. Make meaningful choices.

College is a time of transition. You will change. Remember that your choices have an impact on your friends and family, your college, and your future. While you’re here, you can become the person you choose to be.

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