Yount Seminar Workbook: Why and How to Continue Your Education

Yount Seminar Workbook: Why and How to
Continue Your Education
I. Why Seek More Education?
Speaking to those of college-age, Elder Merrill J. Bateman said, “Do you recognize the critical point in life
at which you have arrived and the long-term implications of key decisions you will make during the next
few years? . . . Your choices now, active or passive, will affect you forever." 2006 CES Fireside
Practical Reasons
If you’re trying to decide whether need to get more education, we’d like to convince you. If you are already
convinced, we’d like to give you even more reasons.
Most high-paying jobs require advanced education.
President Thomas S. Monson has urged: "Today the world is competitive, more than it`s ever been. I
believe men and women need to get a type of education which will enable them to meet the
exigencies [urgent demands] of life . . . Men and women need to be prepared for a vastly broader
scope than we have ever had before".
Education helps us meet life’s challenges, whether they are personal, family, or work-related. Elder
David A. Bednar has said, “Each of us will have our spiritual and learning capabilities tested over and
over again. The ever-accelerating rate of change in our modern world will force us into uncharted
territory and demanding circumstances” (Ensign, 2010).
Continued learning and education can help fulfill the Lord’s purposes for your life and preparation for
the afterlife.
You will spend more time at work than in any other activity in your life, so you want to choose a career
you enjoy and that helps you develop, support yourself and your family, and benefit others. The better
you prepare to use your talents and skills in the marketplace, the better your chance of making good
career choices.
Review the education section of the Church’s “For the Strength of Youth” at, and click on Education. What did you learn?
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Reasons of Character
List some character traits you’d like to develop and explain whether increased education can help you achieve
Financial Reasons
Did you know that college graduates earn, on average, about a million dollars more during their lifetime than
high school graduates? Below, write your life’s financial goals and what achieving them will allow you to do.
A Broader Vision—This Is Not Just about Me
It is a mistake for us to think we live independent of others in this life. We cannot separate ourselves from
our parents and family, from our friends, or from our future spouse and children and their children. The
Lord tells us that what we do directly affects posterity to the third and fourth generations. We can see this
easily in the scriptures. Think of Lehi, Zoram, Alma, and Alma the younger, and the mothers of the sons of
Helaman. Think also of an ancestor who joined the Church or in some other way made choices that
influenced your life.
In light of the way generations connect and influence each other, you are placed on earth at this time for
specific reasons. As spiritual offspring of God and members of the House of Israel (see your Patriarchal
Blessing) you may understand that your work on the earth is part of a divine plan for you, your family, and
all those you can influence. It is no accident where, when, and to whom you were born.
Below, note the way your family has helped or influenced your education. Then list a few ways in which
you can help your family, community, and posterity. How can your example of education change their
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“I would like to suggest that if we are really to be a chosen generation, we have the responsibility to
be prepared, to be productive, to be faithful, and to be fruitful as well.” President Thomas S.
Monson, Ensign, Mar 1996
E. Your Patriarchal Blessing
Your Heavenly Father knows you better than you know yourself. As you reflect on good reasons for
educating yourself, review your Patriarchal Blessing, father’s blessings, and personal inspiration to
answer these questions:
What are my strengths?
What are my talents, gifts, and abilities?
What challenges can I expect to face?
What are my weaknesses?
How can I use education to change my weaknesses into strengths (Ether 12:27)?
Are the things I desire most right now in harmony with what my Patriarchal Blessing says of me?
“True education, the education for which the Church stands, is the application of knowledge to the
development of a noble and Godlike character.” David O. McKay
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Financing College: Do I Really Need a Loan?
Paying for college is a challenge. However, you probably have more resources than you realize. While
some may suggest that you take out a loan, a loan should be a last resort. The trouble with loans is that
they are so easy, so promising. As members of the Church, we believe in being wise with our resources.
If you do not plan well, or you do not choose a career that pays a sufficient wage, the loan, instead of
opening doors of opportunity, may lock you into debt and even poverty. Student loans by law cannot be
discharged in bankruptcy. Borrow only if you must, and never borrow more than you need. When the
day arrives to repay, and you really want all your earnings for your present needs, you want to owe the
very least possible and be able to repay your loans as quickly as possible.
If you have never borrowed money before, talk to someone who has, and ask what it’s like to pay
money back with interest. Make sure you understand how that will feel.
This workshop is more about choosing a career and succeeding in school than about getting a loan.
Education is one of the best reasons for borrowing money; however, before you go on, keep alive the
hope than you can pursue your dreams without a loan. Later you’ll look in detail at your needs and the
different types of loans, interest rates, and repayment plans.
Planning For Success: Your Advantages and Challenges
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether
he have sufficient to finish it?" Luke 14:28
Let’s face it. Lots of people start college or technical school, but almost half of them drop out or quit.
Why do you think this happens? To succeed, you’ll need to know what strengths and supports you can
draw on, as well as what challenges you will face. Let’s review these now. “If ye are prepared ye shall
not fear.” (D&C 38:30)
Make a List of Your Successes; Explain Why You Succeeded.
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When You Have Not Succeeded, Where Did You Fail, and How Can
You Prevent That from Happening Again?
What Advantages Do I Have That Will Contribute to My Success in
Family support_____________________
School skills
What Challenges Do I Face in Getting More Schooling?
Think in terms of personal and academic preparation, character traits, habits, moods and emotions,
family obstacles, and money. For each challenge, prescribe a plan to resolve or work through it.
Challenge #1:___________________
Plan for solving #1:
Challenge # 2: __
Plan for solving #2:
Other Challenges: __
___ __________________________
Plans for solving other challenges:
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“Have discipline in your preparations. Have checkpoints where you can determine if you’re on
course.” President Monson 2003 CES Fireside
Get a Jump Start on College
You can shorten your course of study by arranging for college credit for knowledge and experiences
you’ve gained in your work or prior schooling. Here are a few.
Work Experience. Some colleges have procedures for verifying knowledge and skills learned on the job
and awarding college credit for them. Talk with a college academic counselor to look into this possibility.
CLEP Examinations. The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) gives you the opportunity to
receive college credit for what you already know by earning qualifying scores on any of 33 examinations.
Each exam is approximately 90 minutes long. You can see specific knowledge and skills and study
resources for tests at
DANTES. “DSSTs [DANTES Subject Standardized Tests] are an extensive series of examinations in college
subjects that are comparable to the final or end-of-course examinations in undergraduate courses. The
American Council on Education (ACE) recommends three college credits for each examination.
Do any of these apply to you? If so, which ones, and what do you plan do to about it?
Choosing a Career
Few decisions in life are as important as selecting a career. Once in the workforce, almost half of college
graduates wish they had chosen a different career. Why? Many people who enter college with a career
goal already in mind didn’t first find out what they would enjoy and be good at. If you have chosen a
career, validate your choice. Make sure your path will enable you to finish your schooling and be happy
in the workforce. Be honest with yourself — statistics show that in the long run job satisfaction is more
important than salary.
How Not to Select a Career
Some students make career choices about as casually as they choose a T-shirt. If a career is a piece of
clothing, remember you’ll be wearing it the rest of your life.
Mistake #1: “I already know what I want to study, so I’ll study what I like.” What happens: The student
spends a lot of time and money studying a specific topic. Only then does the student realize, “Hey, I
don’t really want to study this subject anymore,” or “What I studied was fun and interesting, but not
practical for earning a living.”
Mistake #2: “I’ll go to college, fill my general education requirements, and then decide what interests
me.” What happens: The student wanders through school without a direction. General education
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courses are good for personal development, but these days most employers care much more about
what you know in a specific, relevant field. Since many college students drop out of college—mostly
during the first or second year—they leave school with no marketable job skills.
Mistake #3: My uncle owns a good business, so I’m studying till he hires me. What happens: Businesses
change. Uncle sells the business or hires someone else. Or: The business doesn’t give you opportunities
to advance, and you begin to desire more responsibility and career opportunities
B. Your Goals, Gifts, Abilities, and Interests
Create a list of goals that you want your career to fulfill in these areas:
Work Schedule
Continued Education
Possible promotions
Where do I belong in the world of work?
Use your list of personal talents, interests, skills, and patriarchal blessing from sections II and III to help
you pick a career. Ask your parents or several friends who know you very well what your gifts and
talents are and what kind of job you would be good at. With that information, write down in order of
preference three careers you think would be good for you:
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Take a Career Aptitude Test
Some people get a passion for a career early in life. Most don’t. Settling on one choice is often hard
when you haven’t yet had much experience. Many students choose a field of study based on what
courses they like. Recognize, however, that this approach costs time. Career aptitude tests help many
people find their personal strengths and interests. You may want to talk to the counseling or advisement
center at the college or school where you will enroll. Career assessment tools are also freely available
on the Internet. Simply search for “career aptitude test.”
Try the U.S. Department of Labor’s list of career interest tests at Click on
“explore careers,” then “find assessments,” and pick from the list of tests. Download and take the selfhelp ones.
List key things you learned about yourself from talking with a school career counselor or taking an
aptitude or interest test:
4. Consider the Market
When choosing your career, keep in mind your geographic region and the kinds of jobs that are
currently in demand and that are forecasted to be in demand in the future. You can find job market
trends and salary data at LDS Employment Centers (, your college career counselors,
the U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (at ), and sites
such as Consult at least one of these and list
some career options that meet the goals you wrote above in Section IV.B.1.
Create your coat of arms
This exercise and the “Me in 30 Seconds” below are borrowed from the LDS Church’s Career Workshop.
You may find them online at Click on Job Seeker in the upper left of the
screen, then on The Career Workshop, then, at the bottom of the next screen, click on The Career
Workshop - Participant Workbook.
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Create a “Me in 30 Seconds” statement.
Now that you have assessed your talents, interests, and values, you need to be able to express
them to others as you work toward your goals. One good way to do this is to write a “Me in 30
Seconds” statement—three to five sentences that explain who you are. You can use this statement
when calling contacts or when interviewing to set yourself apart from other applicants. To prepare a
“Me in 30 Seconds” statement, review your coat of arms and choose the information you think would be
most useful for the particular goals you have set.
Two examples of “Me in 30 Seconds” statements. These come from people more advanced in their
careers, but they will give you models to follow:
Example 1: “I have always enjoyed interacting with people. As a result I became a public affairs
professional and have been in the profession for the past eight years. I have managed a variety of
community relations and education programs in the state. As a result of my organizational abilities, I
have had the responsibility for overseeing all the public affairs programs for a multimillion-dollar
project. What I enjoy most is helping small, start-up businesses find a successful niche in the
Example 2: “I am a dedicated person with a family of four. I enjoy reading, and the knowledge and
added perspective which my reading has given me has strengthened my teaching skills and presentation
abilities. I have been successful at raising my family. I attribute this success to my ability to plan,
schedule, and handle many different tasks at once. This flexibility will help me in the classroom, where
there are many different personalities and learning styles.”
Enter your “Me in 30 Seconds” statement here:
“… the whole idea of Mormonism is improvement mentally, physically, morally, and spiritually.”
(The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, compiled by Clyde J. Williams, Bookcraft, 1984, pp. 26-27.)
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Decision Time
You must think and feel that your career choice is right. Ponder and pray to arrive at your answer.
My target career is: ______________________ and my next step is ________________________.
V. Selecting a School: Programs, Cost, Location
A. Given My Educational Goals, Which Schools Are Available to Me?
Not every school offers every program and career preparation, and among those that offer your chosen
major, schools differ in the quality of the education you will receive.
It’s useful to know the types of schools as well.
Private Colleges and Universities: This class of school is not sponsored by a government. Most of its
costs are paid for by tuition and private donations. Some private colleges are among the finest in the
world. Be sure to compare tuition and programs, however. Some private colleges exist to make a profit
and rely on student loans for their revenue. Others offer generous financial aid to offset the high
State Universities: State-sponsored universities have competitive tuition costs and offer a wide variety
of courses and programs. Generally they charge higher tuition to students who come from out of state.
Community Colleges: These colleges serve local areas and usually offer associate degrees—the first two
years of higher education. Many will accept anyone who wants education or job training. They may
require an entrance test so they can place students in the basic skills classes they need most.
Online Colleges: Many schools now have no campus—they’re all electronic. Online courses are growing
fast, and almost all regular colleges have them now. In the Western states, for example, Western
Governors University ( offers online classes leading to a degree. The advantage is that
you can pace yourself and plan your study times around your work schedule; the disadvantage is that
many people lose the motivation and discipline to keep going term after term. Be sure an online
university’s courses are recognized and accepted elsewhere. Start by checking the type of accreditation
a school has at the following websites:;, and
B. Evaluating What Colleges Offer
As you investigate to see where you should apply, ask the following questions about each school. (Later
we’ll be focusing on financial planning and sources of financial aid, so while you are researching a
school, also examine their financial aid site or—better still—talk with their financial aid office.)
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School Name ______________________________________________
Address __________________________________________________
Telephone ________________ Email ___________________________
Persons I talked with (and their titles)
School terms begin ______________ and end __________________
Programs offered in my career path ___
How long it will take me to graduate? __________________________
Cost of program per semester for residents __
(tuition, fees, books).
On-campus housing available? ____ How much does housing cost? $____________________
Will the school help with financial aid? How much ?______________________________
Kinds of financial help I qualify for:
Will they accept my Advanced Placement/International Bacc/CLEP credits? _______________________
Do other colleges and schools accept credits from this one?
What percent of students graduate? _________What percent of graduates find jobs?__________
Do I qualify for entrance? ___________________________________
If I don’t qualify, what must I do to get accepted?
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Use the information from your school investigations to fill out this chart:
Sch. 1
Sch. 2
Sch. 3
1. Will this school get me ready for my career or next education step?
2. Will this school accept me?
3. Which school schedule will let me work part time?
4. Which school can I get transportation to?
5. Which school gets the most jobs for its graduates?
6. Which school offers the best program for the least cost?
7. Which school offers the best program in the least time?
8. Which school graduates the most students?
9. Which school will I enjoy the most?
10. Which school offers the best support for students like me?
11. Which school has a catch-up program (if I need one)?
List the cost of tuition, books & fees per year:
Looking over the chart, the schools that best meet my career goals and financial resources are
Given these options, how many years will you need to prepare for your chosen career? _____________________
Below, write out your schooling year by year.
Year one: What courses should I take my first year? [Sit down with an academic advisor, or check the online catalog for
a list of the requirements of your program.] Consider the school’s requirements as well as your goals. Will I work while I
go to school? If so, how many hours, and at what job?
[Type text]
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Year two: How will this year be different from the first one? What courses must I take?
Are some required courses offered only in certain terms or years? Find this out now so you can plan when to enroll in
C. Do I Have a Back-Up Plan?
Obstacles are as predictable as any part of a plan. If you could talk to several of the 40% of college starters who don’t
finish, what do you think they would say caused them to quit? New job opportunities? Finances? Marriage? Poor study
habits? Poor discipline? Weak basic skills? These are some of the most common causes. Your contingency plan should
include two phases, (1) one for overcoming obstacles so you can keep going, and (2) another for what you’ll do if you
find you must quit. With regard to the second phase, please build into your college plan some skills to fall back on in
case an emergency prevents you from finishing your degree as planned. For example, if you study biology, you might
pick up marketable skills in medical technology, lab work, or first aid. Find out if certificates or other evidence of specific
skill sets are available.
Start by anticipating what your challenges are most likely to be. Consider smaller hindrances such as failing a test,
discouragement, lack of support, the lure of other activities, etc. How will I overcome these obstacles?
What alternate employment skills can I gain as part of my schooling?
“I hope that you will learn to take responsibility for your decisions, whether they be in your courses of study which
you elect to take, or whether they be in the direction of the academic attainments which you strive to achieve.
Should you become discouraged or feel burdened down, remember that others have passed this same way; they
have endured and then have achieved. When we have done all that we are able to do, we can then rely on God’s
promised help.”
Thomas S. Monson, “Life’s Greatest Decisions,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, Sept. 7, 2003, 4.
D. Applying for School
Most schools put their entry requirements and applications online. You may apply to many schools at the same time.
Even if accepted, you do not have to attend that school. In some subject areas you may need to take qualification tests
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so you can register for courses at the proper level. If you’re from a country where English is not the official language, you
may need to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language—see
VI. Succeeding in College or Technical School
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living
to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part
of our full potential. When you learn to master the principle of setting a goal, you will then be able to make a great
difference in the results you attain in this life…Set clear and specific goals. When you set a goal and commit
yourself to the necessary self-discipline to reach that goal, you will eliminate most of the problems in your life.
Spend your energies doing those things that will make a difference. Then you can become what you think about. If
you just have the simple faith that God is in His heaven and He is your Heavenly Father and He does know that you
are here and He does love you—and that Jesus is the Christ, that He is your Savior, that He is your Redeemer, and
that you love Him with all your heart and are going to do all you can to keep His commandments—then peace
comes.” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, New Era, March 2004, p. 4).
A. Key Success Factors
Which do you think influences college success more—academic smarts or character traits? By the time one
reaches college, character traits are just as important as past academic accomplishments. We’re talking of
traits such as perseverance, curiosity, openness to new experiences and points of view, and cooperation with
others. As you envision your success in college, assess yourself in the following academic and character
Desire: Your strength of desire for more schooling, including “career decidedness,” will affect your school success. About
50 percent of students do not finish college. Unforeseen challenges and difficulties will arise that must be overcome.
When they do, you will need determination and problem-solving skills.
Rate the strength of your desire on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highest.
Basic skills: Many underestimate how much they will need basic skills in reading and writing, math, and problem-solving
in their future schooling and career. Many colleges will test your skills and will require you to take preparatory courses if
you need to raise your skills to a level appropriate for college success.
You can learn or review basic skills before you enroll and thus save money and time in college. Adult schools, community
colleges, and some high schools often offer free or low-cost ways for getting started. Many universities have online
courses in basic skills. Many states allow anyone 21 and under to reenter high school and work on their basic skills to
earn a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development). Many communities offer an ABE (Adult Basic
Education) program. If you feel you need help building a foundation of college-ready skills, find out if your chosen school
or area has a free ABE program and whether you qualify.
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How strong are your basic skills in the following areas?
Reading grade level
Reading comprehension level
. Last math class passed with a B or better
If you need to improve your basic skills, how will you do so?
Self- confidence: Self-confidence relates to how people deal with challenges and risks. Be honest with yourself. If your
academic self-confidence is low, schedule regular meetings with a school counselor or mentor. Most schools provide
these for free; they can make a tremendous difference in your ability to succeed. Working with a counselor or mentor,
develop a strategy and write it down. Anyone can succeed in college if willing to work!
How can you strengthen your academic confidence?
Spiritual proficiency: Spiritual strength helps you succeed in education. It comes from your faith in your Savior, the
power of the Holy Ghost, and your continued worthiness to receive His guidance. Pray for help in school and do your
part to receive it.
Family influence and support: Family support is an important factor in school success. With your family, discuss openly
your desire to further educate yourself. List the kinds and levels of support that you will have from your family (such as
money, encouragement, babysitting, and other kinds of help).
Prior learning experience: High school grades and scores on national college entrance tests such as the SAT or the ACT
are good predictors of success in college. However, many intelligent youth, for one reason or another, have not done
well in high school or scored high on tests. For them, grades are not a reliable indicator of ability.
Are your high school grades a good indicator of your ability to learn? In what classes have you done best? Which were
your hardest?
“Our education must never stop. If it ends at the door of the classroom on graduation day, we will fail...
Insatiable curiosity will be our hallmark.” President Henry B. Eyring, “Education for Real Life,” Ensign, Oct 2002,
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Use of Time
You’ll do better in school if you plan now how you will find time to attend classes and study, balancing these with all
your other commitments. In the chart below, show how much time you will need to spend each week on your main
commitments. Excluding sleep time, assume you have about 100 hours a week for all activities.
Hours spent per week
Did you know?
Exercise, hygiene
Research has shown that students who work
part time earn grades just as high as those
who don’t work.
Why is that so? They learn to use their free
time more effectively.
What schedule and balance problems do you foresee?
Now list some things you can do to make sure you actually use your study time for study.
“Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass
much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.” D&C 58: 27-28
C. Recognize and Avoid Traps
Being admitted to college is only a first step. Every course, every instructor, every test is part of a longer process of
learning that involves your whole being. We want to prepare you by suggesting some traps that many college students
get caught in.
College Traps. Respond True or False to the following statements:
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T or F The teacher is in charge of my learning. Not anymore. Now, the responsibility shifts to you. Teachers won’t
look over your shoulder as they did in high school. If you don’t do well, it will be your responsibility.
T or F My teacher doesn’t take roll, so it doesn’t matter if I go to class. False. Just because your teacher doesn’t
notice whether you are there, doesn’t mean you can skip classes. If you miss class in college, it is very easy to fall
T or F Having fun is more important than studies. False, most of the time. College social life can be fun, especially if
you are away from home. At this time of your life, however, your studies need to come first. Balance your social life
so you don’t get behind in your schoolwork. Placing your emphasis on the future is a sign of maturity.
T or F I can withstand the different life-styles and values I find among other students in college. More major
behavioral mistakes are made during young adult years than at any other time in life. Many lives get permanently
damaged. The truth is that you will likely never be tested to the degree you will be as a young adult, especially if you
are away from home. Realize and admit to yourself that you will need extra help. The Church has given you the
formula. Stay active in Church and take advantage of constant prayer and scripture study. Attend LDS Institute. Stay
worthy of guidance from the Holy Ghost.
T or F My study habits worked fine in high school and will work fine in college. Maybe, depending on how good your
study habits are. To be successful in college, you will have to plan better and be more disciplined than you ever have
been before. Most find that old study patterns do not work for college. This is why the first semester of college is
usually the hardest for most students.
D. Effective Study—Things to Know, Habits to Develop
Effective study is the foundation of success in education. While people differ in how they learn best, No advice on how
to study can fit all people because we differ in how we learn. Some learn best by hearing, some by visualizing, some by
reading, some by working with others in a group. Here are some general directions on effective study.
Tip 1. Study regularly. If you study only when you have little else to do, you will rarely find enough time to master the
material in your courses. Create a study schedule and stick to it. Stay on campus if necessary to avoid distractions. Well
meaning family members and friends may not understand why you have to study.
Tip 2. Location, location, location. Find a quiet place where you can study regularly at home and on campus. Choose a
place with few distractions. Libraries are ideal. At home, create a study space away from the television and places where
family members gather to talk.
Tip 3. Take notes. Note taking is a skill developed over time. Keep all your notes from one class in one place. As you
listen in class, look for key ideas and place the details under them. Don’t try to capture everything, but do recognize that
the simple act of writing some things down helps you remember them. Review your notes shortly after class. Rewriting
your notes will help you retain information and clarify your questions.
Tip 4. Use the SQ3R method [Skim, Question, Read, Recite, Review] when reading assigned material. This is a timetested method of reading for maximum understanding. It helps your mind comprehend and remember. As you read
assigned material, do the following things:
Skim or Survey. Before you read the entire piece, get an overview. Read the first few paragraphs and then skim the
material, looking for its purpose and key ideas, and then read the conclusion.
Question. Ask yourself questions about the material. Given the topic, what would you like to know?
Read. Now read the material. As you read, underline, draw diagrams, and write brief notes .
Recite. Pause now and then to rehearse important ideas.
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Review. As you read, or as you finish, go back over key passages to refresh your memory and understanding.
Tip 4. Draw a picture. Make diagrams or doodles of what you are learning. Create an image that will remind you of what
you want to remember.
Tip 5. Take a break. Pause every ten to twenty minutes to review as well as to stretch, walk, or move around. The brain
gets its energy from blood like any other muscle. Keep your breaks short, but once in a while take a longer break to rest
your mind.
Your turn. Now do an internet search for “study skills” or “effective study techniques.” Open and skim two websites.
Then read through at least one site and record below three ideas that seem helpful to you:
“Academic assignments, test scores, and a cumulative GPA do not produce a final and polished product. Rather,
students have only started to put in place a foundation of learning upon which they can build forever.” Elder David
A. Bednar, Ensign, February 2010
E. Managing Your Effort While in School
Countless students have made the mistake of having to go back and retake courses they should have passed earlier,
have taken too many difficult courses in one semester, or have relied on cramming to pass their classes. Here are some
key suggestions:
Use Your Academic Counselor: Meet with an academic counselor to plan your schedule, make sure you understand the
requirements, and look beyond classes to employment. Stay in contact. Discuss your learning problems if you have
them. Take advantage of any programs offered by the college for first-year students and those returning to education
after a long break. These programs help people make the transition into college by teaching effective learning skills.
Students who take part have a significantly higher college graduation rate than students who don’t. These programs can
even lead to scholarships, internships, and other enhanced opportunities.
Pace Yourself. Successful students pace themselves and balance their time and responsibilities.
Select Courses Wisely. Select general education courses wisely so that they will contribute the most to your future. If
you’ve chosen a technical field of study, look for courses that add depth to your understanding of history, the arts, and
language. If you’ve chosen liberal arts, look for courses that give you a good foundation in science and math.
When to Cram and When to Learn for Keeps. Cramming for tests will improve your test grades, but it won’t put
knowledge in your long-term memory where you can recall it later when you really need it. Review frequently as you
take classes, and look for things that will serve you well throughout your career and personal life.
Be Smart about Grades. Teachers grade differently. Figure out the teacher’s approach to grading and what kinds of
assignments and tests will be part of your grade. Try to determine what skills and knowledge are most important to the
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instructor. Do the test items come from lecture notes, the text book, or a combination? Some instructors give valuable
clues by the way they present the material. Others give review sheets or clues during the class period before the
scheduled test. If you are not sure what the instructor wants and how she grades, ask her for advice on how to get a
good grade in the class (make sure you have looked carefully at the course outline first).
Get Free Expert Tutoring. College instructors are required to have office hours when students can get help or talk about
the course content. Instructors like to talk about the ideas in their courses, so give them the opportunity. By getting to
know your professor, you also build a bank of people who can write letters of recommendation when you apply for
Use Campus Learning Resources. Almost every campus has a writing center, a math tutoring lab, and other help centers
where you can get personal assistance. Take advantage.
Balance Easy and Hard Courses. Do not take all of your hard classes during the same semester. Balance hard courses
with easier courses.
F. Draw on Spiritual Resources
Learning in companionship with the Spirit is a walk of faith.
Spiritual guidance applies to both secular and religious matters. The Lord declares that all things are spiritual to Him.
Even ordinary, everyday topics can be viewed in a spiritual light (D&C 29:34). To draw on spiritual resources is not to
leave everything up to God. That simply hinders our ability and willingness to take responsibility. God placed the veil
between us and our memories of life before earth so we would have to make choices and learn without clear, direct,
strong direction from Him. Yet His assistance is available. We increase our ability to receive it as we pray, study the
scriptures, ponder, keep the commandments, and are active in the Church and our callings.
Ponder D&C 29:34 and ask yourself, “How ready am I to approach my career choice and schooling as spiritual
endeavors?” Write down some of your impressions here:
“Perfection is a process and not an event, and you will come to appreciate that perfection is an internal matter, not
external. It is a process by which you and I learn to eliminate the things in life that are not good, replace them with
the things in life that are eternal in nature, with the objective and thought that perfection is obtainable, but it must
be earned. If your goals are righteous, of God-given perspective, and eternal in their nature, then go for them. Pray
for the inner strength to have the discipline to do those things that will guarantee through your activity and your
life that you will reach your goals. Then, I think, perhaps as important as anything, we have to have faith. We have
to have faith in God. We have to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And oh, how desperately we have to have faith
in ourselves” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, New Era, March 2004, p.4).
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VII. How to Finance College
All students need a financial plan before they apply for financial aid.
My Resources
Some people finance college entirely on their own through work and scholarships, but most need some type of help
such free rent (living at home). Before deciding that a loan is the kind of help you really need, (1) carefully look at your
finances to see if there is a way you can pay as you go, by working, getting scholarships, and asking for help from family
members, and (2) plan out your finances to see the minimum you will need to borrow.
To help you review your current resources, reply with specific figures to the following questions:
How much will you have saved before your first semester?
How much will you be able to pay each semester?
How much can you earn during the semester and save towards the next semesters?
How much can you earn during the summer?
Does your employer reimburse for education?
Can you find an employer that reimburses for education? (Many corporations reimburse employees who further their
education. Examples: Citi Card, Discover Card, IHC, Kroger, Utah School Districts,)
If you are going into public education, have you considered working in a Title 1 school? That service will qualify you for
loan forgiveness.
What type of scholarships are available to you? (More on this later. You will want to research this!)
How many scholarships have you applied for?
What am I willing to sacrifice in exchange for a good education?
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My Financial Plan
Now you’re ready to make a financial plan so you know how you will afford college.
Fill in this information for one year:
Transportation (bus;
car, gas, insurance)
Phone and utilities
Rent /Housing
Debt payments
Tithing and donations
Income Sources
Parent/family help
Grants (U.S. Pell Grants etc)
Compare your income and all expenses. Do you need to borrow?
If so, how much per year will you need? $
How much of that can be borrowed from family (parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts) and friends?
How much per year will you need to borrow from an institution such as a government direct loan, a bank, or your
“God expects the best from you. You must believe in yourself. Don’t give in when the going is rough, for you are
laying the foundation of a great work, and that great work is your life, the fulfillment of your dreams. Never
underestimate what you can become or how your talents may eventually be used.” David B. Haight, Ensign, Nov
1991, p. 36
C. Finding Money for School
You will find a way. If you have done all you can through prayer and diligent effort, the heavens can open up for you.
The good news is that finding more money for school is easier than most people realize. Even if scholarships and grants
aren’t available to you, or aren’t enough, you still have more options.
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Do some browsing
The Internet is a great source of information on scholarships and other kinds of financial aid. Look at several of these
California residents should access Fund Your Future, an online interactive workbook for parents and students at If you seek financial aid,
the workbook offers instructions, deadlines, and reputable links to various government agencies.
A summary of types of financial aid available in the U.S.
Lists and how-to advice on financial aid at
Search for scholarships at
Do an internet search for “how to pay for college.” Read three of the results.
Write three things you learned:
2. Pell Grants –how to determine eligibility and apply
Pell Grants are gifts of money —not loans—from the U.S. government to U.S. citizen students. To see whether you are
eligible, you will need to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Even if you are applying for a
scholarship and not a Pell Grant, most colleges will ask you to submit a FAFSA. The FAFSA website
( will take you through the process step by step. A website that can help you select a school in
light of tuition and financial aid is It also offers a 90-minute college planning
Helpful government financial aid calculator. The U.S. Department of Education has several sections on their website to
help with financial aid, including a new financial aid calculator where a person can calculate for which programs they
qualify. Start with the website: Then use the
tabs in the left column to explore the site. In particular, use the “Tools and Resources” section, where the calculator
(FAFSA4caster) will help you and your family receive an estimate of eligibility for federal student aid. When you’re ready
to apply for aid, much of the information that you enter in the FAFSA4caster will appear on the Web application, making
the experience of applying for federal student aid easier. You can also link to the FAFSA4caster from the FAFSA website.
You should apply for several scholarships. If you have high grades, distinctions, or athletic ability, you may qualify for
academic, talent, and athletic scholarships. Even if you feel average, with normal talents or athletic abilities, you are
probably underestimating yourself. And you may also qualify for scholarships based on your ethnicity, family
background, community service, leadership, or area of residence. Most colleges offer financial aid. Additionally, many
businesses, churches, civic groups, and service organizations offer scholarships. One young man put himself through
college by applying for many small scholarships of $500 to $1000. One thing is sure: if you don’t apply, you won’t
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When you apply for scholarships, fill out applications with care. Be positive about yourself. If you are to be interviewed,
look, behave, and speak well. Dress in clean, well-pressed clothes. Work on your “Me in 30 Seconds” statements and
practice them with friends. You may have to do some research on organizations to find out what they look for in a
scholarship recipient. Tailor your statements to show how your strengths match those they seek.
Your assignment in this seminar is to investigate scholarships in at least one of two ways—preferably both.
1. Talk to financial aid advisors at the schools where you are applying to find out what scholarships are available.
Discuss loan programs as well—government, private, and school-sponsored. You will need this information later.
2. Make an Internet to search for scholarships plus several other words such as scholarships for Hispanics (if you
are of that group) or Polynesian (if of that group), your region (Southern California, for example), and talents and
interests you have. You might also try, a service helping people search for scholarship
money. Be aware that scholarship scams exist on the internet. Be careful about providing personal information
beyond that needed to find the information you need.
Write the results here and what you need to do to apply:
Other Ideas
Family Help. Don’t forget to look closest to home. Perhaps you have parents, an aunt or uncle, grandparent, or close
family friend with whom you can discuss your educational goals to see whether they might be willing to support you
Company Sponsors. Find a company with workers in the field you want to be part of. If you want to work for them, ask if
you could work for them part-time while in school. Show them your finance plan so it’s clear that you have goals and are
willing to work and aren’t just begging. Start by talking to a manager and ask for help or advice on schooling in their
field. It helps to ask someone who knows them to introduce you to them. Also, many larger companies will sponsor
children of employees. If this fits your family, ask about it.
Church. Some church leaders are willing to help find sponsors to help members meet their educational expenses. Talk to
your bishop (and, if in the Salt Lake City Inner City Project area, Project missionaries) if you think this may be a possibility
for your situation.
The upside (get money now) and downside (paying off a loan is hard work)
A loan, well used, gives you education and training you otherwise might not be able to afford, leading to better and
higher paying jobs that allow you to support yourself and your family better and still pay the loan off. That is the upside.
The downside is that loans must be repaid. When you start working you’ll find that even with higher pay, your expenses
go up, and money is just as tight as before. Writing a loan repayment check each month can be very difficult.
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Types of loans
Several types of loans are available. After investigating grants and scholarships, if you know you are still going to need a
loan, your last task is to find out about loan sources and interest rates for each type of loan below:
Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal
regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during
deferment periods. Go to and click on Students to learn about direct loans from the
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Are not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even when a student
is in school and during grace periods.
Plus Loans are government loans to parents who borrow to help their children attend college or university. Information
Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers. The Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to
encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, individuals who teach full
time for five years in elementary and secondary schools serving low-income families may be eligible for forgiveness of
up to a combined total of $17,500 in principal and interest on their federal loans. Information at
What is a subsidized loan?
For these types of loans, how much can you borrow, and what is the interest rate for the type of loan for which you
Private Loans. Many banks and some universities provide educational loans. Search online for “student loans” and
learn about at least one bank, college, or private organization’s student loan program. Banks may require a co-signer
and credit check. They may defer repayment while you are in school, but interest will still be charged. Examine the terms
of at least two private loans and make note of what you learned, including interest rate, deferred payments, and loan
term (how long to pay it completely off):
Yount Loans. Yount loans (pronounced Yont) are part of an educational attainment program administered by the
Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Funding comes from a
private donation that has, for now, been earmarked to assist worthy members of the Church, ages 18 to 40, in certain
geographical areas, in reaching their educational goals. At the present time, qualified participants can borrow up to
$3000 per year and a total of $10,000.
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If you desire to apply for a Yount Loan, completing this seminar or self-study program is a first step. The next step is to
review the qualification information at Once you know you meet the qualifications, you may
begin filling out an application at You will need an LDS account to begin an application. As you begin
the application process, please email Kathryn Paxman at [email protected] so Yount staff members can help you
with the application.
“I hope that you are not afraid of lengthy periods of preparation. Burn the midnight oil. Don’t
procrastinate.” President Thomas S. Monson, 2003 CES Fireside
VIII. Seek Excellence in All You Do
Whatever you choose to do or become, remember to do so with excellence. You will do better, go farther, and bless
more people. President Monson taught, “Anyone who's been lifted to a plane of excellence is never again content with
mediocrity.” (Thomas S. Monson, Deseret News, May 1,2010.
Booker T. Washington, a man who was born into slavery and faced disadvantages of poverty and discrimination, worked
against the obstacles to become one of the best and the brightest in our country’s history. He defined excellence as
doing “a common thing in an uncommon way.” He taught this about true success: “Success is to be measured not so
much by the position that one has reached in life . . . as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to
In all that you do, we challenge you to do even common things (such as taking classes) in an uncommon way. Do not
settle for anything less than your best. If you have to practice, repeat, and try again, then do so. Do not allow yourself to
slip into mediocrity or half-hearted effort. Give every class, paper, project, and assignment your best. The scripture is
plain: “Let your light so shine that others may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16.)
Prophets, apostles, and leaders have set an example and have counseled us to seek excellence. President Gordon B.
Hinckley said, “This is the great day of preparation for each of you. It is the time of beginning for something that will go
on for as long as you live. I plead with you: Don’t be a scrub! Rise to the high ground of excellence. You can do it. You
may not be a genius. You may be lacking in some skills. But you can do better than you are now doing. . . . You are
people with a present and with a future. Don’t muff the ball. Be excellent.” (November 1998 BYU Address)
Fear is a natural part of life. People who achieve great things also experience fear, but they set their goals and work hard
in spite of them. President Thomas S. Monson counseled,
My young brothers and sisters, don’t take counsel of your fears. Don’t say to yourselves, “I’m not wise enough,
or I can’t apply myself sufficiently well to study this difficult subject or in this difficult field, so I shall choose the
easier way.” I plead with you to tax your talent, and our Heavenly Father will make you equal to those decisions.
In this life, where we have opportunities to strive and to achieve, I bear witness that on occasion we need to
make a second effort—and a third effort, and a fourth effort, and as many degrees of effort as may be required
to accomplish what we strive to achieve.” (September 7, 2003 CES Broadcast,17142,395,00.html)
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By completing this seminar, you are in a position to make wise, informed choices of career and school. You can succeed.
We wish you well! God bless your efforts.
“You have a destiny to fulfill, a life to live, a contribution to make, a goal to achieve. The future of the kingdom of
God upon the earth will, in part, depend upon your devotion. When this perspective is kept firmly in mind, you can
appreciate the absolute necessity of diligence in this, your period of preparation. Neglect to prepare and you will
mortgage your future. I [choose] the phrase “labor to learn” since these challenging times will require your finest
efforts. A halfhearted effort will not suffice. You must labor with your might…Decisions determine destiny.
Decide now that you will pursue your education with determination…In the quiet of your study, surrounded by
books written by the finest minds, listen for and hearken to the Master’s invitation: ‘… learn of me; for I am meek
and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ (Matt. 11:29.) Such learning transcends the classroom; it
endures beyond graduation; it meets the test of experience.” President Thomas S. Monson, New Era, May 1971
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