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S.K.I.L.L.S. sessions help create a better well-rounded student

Students have an open conversation Jan. 22 during a Success Knowing I'm a Life-Long Learner Series on UNG's Gainesville Campus.

About 20-25 University of North Georgia (UNG) students peppered upperclassmen with questions such as "How do you get organized?" and "What is the best method to study for an exam?" Four students, all pursuing degrees in the College of Science and Mathematics, answered them with their best practice and procedure.

This open conversation among students, along with UNG faculty, is part of the Success Knowing I'm a Life-Long Learner Series (S.K.I.L.L.S.) on UNG's Gainesville Campus. The "Starting the Semester off Right" panel discussion was the first of seven sessions set for spring 2020 semester. It featured successful teacher assistants and research students, said Kristin Yager, lecturer of biology at UNG.

"New students struggle to adjust to college and being in a challenging curriculum like science, because we have our own vocabulary," she said. "We thought if we had extra events like this, we could help students be better prepared for science classes."

Based on the data and feedback from last year's S.K.I.L.L.S. program, the project appears to be working. Attendance for the eight-week workshop program totaled 162, with about 63 students going to multiple events. Yager said most were students pursing degrees in biology, chemistry, kinesiology and nursing.

"We were really pleased with the attendance, especially since it was our inaugural session," Yager said. "We also received feedback from students who found it very helpful."

In fact, student comments led Yager and her S.K.I.L.L.S. committee to adjust the session for spring 2020. Workshops include:

  • Starting the Semester off Right panel discussion
  • Notetaking
  • Time management
  • Exam prep
  • Study skills
  • Professionalism
  • Becoming a strong applicant to graduate school

Yager explained notetaking and time management were incorporated in one session in the fall, but the committee decided each deserved its own 50-minute session in the spring. Exam prep and study skills remained the same since they were heavily attended by students. Professionalism is a new one.

"We explain to students the best ways to present themselves to faculty and staff and how to apply for internship and jobs," Yager said.

The final session is to help students prepare for and increase their chances for graduate school. Yager said students need to find faculty and mentors early in their collegiate career for advice and letters of recommendation. They also need to volunteer and shadow a professional.

"It's not just about getting good grades, it's about being a well-rounded student," she said.

All S.K.I.L.L.S. are occur from noon to 12:50 p.m. in Science 104 each Wednesday in February, and the final one is March 11. For more information, email Yager at

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