About the Blog

This blog and its resources are here to assist all students throughout their college years and into their careers. Blog is moderated by a Certified Professional Career Coach and Master Tutor Trainer. Site moderator, Neil O'Donnell, is an EOP graduate of Buffalo State College and can be reached at odonnenp@buffalostate.edu.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Start Prep for Finals Early!

I realize that for many students, final exams are weeks away. However, it is crucial to begin studying for finals as early as possible to ensure you do well. Especially for instances when a final exam is comprehensive (testing on material from the entire semester), preparing early helps students in recalling information they learned weeks earlier. To that end, here are some strategies to consider for finals preparation:

1) Ask your professor for a study guide for the final exam. If the professor doesn’t provide one, create your own based on class assignments, readings and lectures (and then show it to the professor to see what she/he thinks of your study guide - your professor may help you fine-tune your study guide helping you focus on the major topics).

2) Tutoring services are usually available days and evenings; check your college advisement office and academic department to investigate tutoring options.

3) If there isn’t a tutor listed for the subject/class you need assistance with, stop by the tutoring center and ask if one is available. As for writing assistance, tutors are usually available throughout the day – just stop by a tutoring center. Also remember, Academic Mentors/tutors can assist you with learning better ways to study in addition to helping you understand content. Most of those that go to tutoring are the students getting A’s and B’s in classes.

4) Start a study group if you don’t have one already for a class that you are struggling in (you should have a study group for every class even when you are doing well).

5) Start studying for final exams today if you haven’t already!!!!! It is easier to retain class material if you study early and repeatedly.

6) See a counselor in the counseling center to address any test anxiety you are facing. Test anxiety is common amongst students of all ages. Counselors can assist you in managing that stress now and in the years to come

7) Start final papers as early as possible. Work on developing a solid thesis statement to guide your efforts and ask your professor to check it over to make certain you are on track!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Free Parents' Guide to Help Kids Prep for College

Update: April 15, 2017

As students and their families investigate colleges and universities, remember to speak with each institutions Financial Aid Office! Ask about scholarships students can apply for (local, national, international, and even any the college itself offers). Also, check to make certain that the student's FAFSA and State financial aid paperwork are complete. The sooner all information is in, the sooner you/your child can be considered for scholarships. Take care!

Best regards,


Here is a short ebook I wrote for parents and their children as they prep for students. From selecting colleges to financial aid & study skills, I wrote this to help families navigate the whole college process. Consider the book a springboard with this blog providing further support. Take care.

Book at this Link:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwEzD14Fnt49T3FjcFhrcUlQcW8
A Parents' and Student's Guide to College

Dad, Mom and me at Graduation

Monday, January 30, 2017

College Students: Gaining Field Experience This Summer

1992 - Me teaching undergrad and grad students on using an alidade and plane table.
I have spoken at length about the importance of gaining field experience PRIOR TO GRADUATION for many years now. Experience above and beyond one or two internships is what I encourage here! I know it is only January, but the summer will be here soon enough and even freshmen may find opportunities to gain field experience in their major, but it is important to start now to look for these experiences in order to have the widest range of opportunities. How do you find such opportunities? I'm glad you asked! Just follow the advice here (FYI - Yes, that is me working as a teaching assistant in 1992 - just a Junior at SUNY Buffalo State - teaching undergraduate and graduate students how to utilize an alidade and plane table in archaeological research - thanks Dr. Engelbrecht):

1) Discuss options with your academic advisor. Ask your advisor what are jobs that are available to undergrads that will provide good training (and experience for your resume) in preparation for your long-term career goals.

2) Speak with advisors at your college's career center. The career development specialists at the career center may have extensive experience assisting students who have had similar career goals to you. As a result, they may be able to help you find relevant summer job opportunities.

In the event you cannot find a job that specifically links to your career path, consider stepping things up at a typical college student job to gain experience that grad schools and future employers will appreciate. Specifically, ask your summer employer the following:

1) Is there an opportunity for supervising other employees?

Me excavating an Archaeological Test Unit - 2011
2) Can you assist with developing or managing a company's website, Facebook page or Twitter feed?
 Can you develop a Facebook page or Twitter feed for the company you work for?

3) Can you help with advertising for the company (putting up flyers, posting info through your own Facebook and Twitter pages, etc.)?

4) Can you assist in helping to organize the office files or create an Excel database for client/vendor contacts?

5) Can you help lead the reorganization of a supply/store room?

Such experiences will teach you great skills while also helping you stand out on your resume when you apply to jobs down the road.