Monday, August 31, 2015

An Honest Talk about College Completion


College isn’t easy. Many community college students drop out. Don’t be a statistic. You can do this and we will help you each step of the way. Your goal and our goal is the same and it’s simple: graduation. You need to get that certificate or degree. Here are some tips on how to do it:
Get focused and stay on track: Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester. Pick a major and a degree plan as soon as you can. Take only the classes you need for your degree. How do you do that? Take charge of your college career with free tools, such as DegreeWorks and College Scheduler. You’ll find them on your My Vol State page.
Keep going:  Community college students face a real challenge with time. The longer college takes, the less chance you have of graduating. Does that mean you can’t do it as a part-time student? Of course not, but it’s best to take multiple classes each semester. Clearly, you don’t want to get overwhelmed by taking more classes than you can handle. We know its tough balancing work, family and school. Still, the quicker you get through college, the better chance you have of succeeding. Consider online courses and summer courses, but first speak with your academic advisor.
Don’t give up, if you run into problems. Visit the Advising Center for help. Is life getting in the way of college? They will have ideas on how you can keep going to school. The Vol State Advising Center can be reached at 615-230-3702. It’s in the Ramer Administration building, room 174, in Gallatin. You can also ask for advising help at the front desks of Livingston and Highland Crest.
Get free academic help. Is there one particular class that you can’t seem to pass? (We all have that one class.) Make sure you get extra help. Many courses have free Supplemental Instruction study groups. The college also has free help with papers and speeches in the Language Center and free help with Math in the Learning Commons. Smarthinking provides free online tutoring in many subjects.  Did you notice that we keep saying “free”? Here's a list: College Success Zone
Graduation is the goal. Whether you want to get a job after graduating with a career degree from Vol State or transfer to a college or university for a four-year degree, the common goal is graduation.

You can do this. We will help.

Commit to college completion.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

September 2015 Vol State Events Calendar


Ongoing          Faculty Art Exhibition, Thigpen Gallery and Ramer Great Hall, through October 5

Sept. 1             Welcome Day and Commit to Completion Signing, Highland Crest, 10am to 1pm

Sept. 2             Welcome Day and Commit to Completion Signing, Livingston, 10am to 1pm         

Sept. 7             Labor Day Holiday, all locations closed

Sept. 8             Cycling 101- How Do I Get Started?, Vol State Bike Club, Nichols Dining, Noon

Sept. 9             Intramural Soccer Sign-ups, Library Lawn, 2pm

Sept. 9            Coffee with the Prez. Cafeteria, 10am-11am

Sept. 10           Commit to Completion Signing, Cafeteria, 10am to 1pm

Sept. 10           Belmont University Nursing Info, Warf Room 110, 12:45pm-2:10pm

Sept. 11           Harvest Moon Soiree, Bluegrass Country Club, 5:30pm, tickets $75, Foundation

Sept. 12           TN Promise Sign-Up Event, campus-wide, 8am, RSVP to volstate.edu/promise

Sept. 15, 16     Career Readiness Symposiums, all students invited, Caudill Hall, 12:45-2:10pm

Sept. 16           Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl, Cafeteria, 12:45pm

Sept. 17           Constitution Day, Speech and Election 2016, Thigpen Library, 1pm

Sept. 17           Cumberland Nursing Info Session, Warf 110, 12:45-2:10pm

Sept. 17           TN Promise Sign-Up Event, campus-wide, 5pm, RSVP to volstate.edu/promise

Sept. 18           Movie Night: Avengers Age of Ultron, Library Lawn or Pickel, Dusk (6:45pm)

Sept. 22           Motivational Speaker: Odell Bizzell, Nichols Dining Room, 12:45pm

Sept. 23           Fall Job Career Fair, Pickel Field House, 10am-1pm

Sept. 23           Sumner County College Night, Pickel Field House, 6pm to 8pm

Sept. 26           TN Promise Sign-Up Event, campus-wide, 8am, RSVP to volstate.edu/promise

Sept. 29           Open Mic- Students Perform, Library Second Floor, 12:45-2:10pm

Sept. 29           TN Promise Sign-Up Event, Highland Crest, 5pm, RSVP to volstate.edu/promise

Sept. 30           Employee Benefits Fair, Ramer Great Hall, 10am-3pm

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

If You are Offered Supplemental Instruction (SI) Use It

Some classes at Vol State have the free option of Supplemental Instruction or SI. If you have a class that offers SI, you should take the opportunity. SI can help you do better in the class and SI sessions are usually held for the harder classes.
Supplemental Instruction provides students study support with a peer who has completed and earned a B+ or higher in the course. SI Leaders attend class sessions with the students and hold two 50 minute study sessions outside of class. SI is currently offered in courses such as anatomy and physiology, chemistry, history, Spanish and many others. Students who attend SI are more likely to complete the course successfully and earn up to a full letter grade improvement. Visit the SI web page to learn more about the courses served by SI, and the SI Leader contact information by course.
Do yourself a favor...if you have the option of taking SI sessions- do it!
Here is more info about the program:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tips for Dropping and Adding Classes

Making changes to your schedule? Here are some tips.
Students will be able to drop and add classes through My Vol State until the end of the day Tuesday, August 25th.  
Beginning on Wednesday, August 26th, you can still drop classes online but you will need to submit a signed DROP/ADD/WITHDRAWAL FORM to add full-term classes. (You will be able to add second seven weeks, second five week, and third five-week classes online.) 
Students will continue to be able to drop classes online until the end of the day Friday, August 28th.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tips for Parking and Driving on the Gallatin Campus

It's time to get ready for classes...and for new students that means getting to class. You have a choice of three entrances to get onto the Gallatin campus. We point out that the back entrance, off of Greenlea, is still the least crowded. We also have expanded parking there, probably the easiest on campus. The good news is that road work should be done for the most part, so returning students can expect less construction issues. New students: do yourself a favor and print up a map to spot your classes. Everyone should give extra time the first week of classes to find your perfect parking spot. 

Be sure to check your class locations in My Vol State before you come to class. They have been changing quite a bit lately due to so many new students this semester. They automatically update in My Vol State when they do change.

See you next week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Important Info for Students About Vol State Text Messages

Vol State is changing its text messaging systems to better help students stay in touch with important information. We will be sending you test messages on each system on Thursday, August 20.
We now have two separate texting systems.
The first is probably familiar to continuing students, as we have been using it for several years. It is emergency text alerts for weather situations, campus closings, campus delays, traffic issues etc. We call it Vol State Text Alerts.
The change is that all registered students who have a cell phone on record with the college are now automatically signed-up for this system. However, you can opt-out of these texts at any time by simply texting STOP to any text we send. Just make sure it’s what you really want to do. Text Alerts are the quickest way to find out about campus closings and delays.
New Texting System
All registered students are also now automatically signed-up for a new texting system called VS Student Texts.






This service will text you once or twice a week with important college information: when fees are due, when to check for financial aid notifications, when priority registration opens for you. You are automatically signed-up for this system if you have a cell phone on record with the college. However, you can opt-out of these texts at any time by simply texting STOP to any text we send.
I don’t have a cell phone on record with Vol State or I wish to change the number listed
You can still be signed-up for these texts services by simply adding your cell phone number to the college system. It’s easy to do. Visit My Vol State and click on Personal Information. You will see a click for change addresses and phones.
You can update your information in My Vol State if you change phone numbers and it will be automatically updated in our system within a day or two.
You can also access dashboards for both texting systems on your My Vol State page. You can access the dashboards using your current My Vol State credentials.
It is important that you realize which text service you are canceling if you decide to do so. We really encourage all students to keep both.
If you have questions or need help, please contact the Vol State PR office at pr@volstate.edu.

Thanks.

Vol State Welcomes Back Middle College Students

Lucas Hissam, left, and Brandon Street, right.
Lucas Hissam and Brandon Street were not fans of high school. They were essentially bored with their studies, and they wanted something a bit more challenging. 
"We just didn't fit in in that kind of atmosphere," Hissam said.
That's where the Sumner County Middle College High School at Vol State came in. Sumner County Middle College is a collaboration between Sumner County Schools and Volunteer State Community College that offers high school juniors and seniors the chance to take dual-enrollment courses that culminate in a degree. This semester marks the beginning of the second year of the program.
Middle College students are in the middle of their Supplemental Instruction Boot Camp, which is led by Vol State's SI instructors. It gives students a chance to transition from high school or the break in between classes back into the daily grind of classes before they begin their new semester. 
Both Hissam and Street are returning students entering their senior year as Middle College students. After graduation, Hissam plans on furthering his education in mechanical engineering, while Street plans on going into neuroscience. Since both of those fields require an ample amount of schooling, they both figured it was worth getting a head start on college by becoming Middle College students.
"I thought it would be stupid to not take advantage of essentially two free years of college and get our associate's degree," Street said.
That's the goal of the whole program, according to principals Brad Schreiner and Betsy Hunter. 
"It's an exciting program for students. They come to us for a lot of reasons. A lot of times they're just tired of high school. They want more challenge. Some of them want to be doctors and they want to get a jump on that type of program, because it takes a long time to be a doctor. They're able to get a two-year jump on that," Hunter said.

This year's program features 50 students, 32 of which are returning seniors. There were 19 graduates of Sumner County Middle College last year, and 14 are returning to Vol State to finish out their associate's degree as part of the Tennessee Promise program.
"I think that shows they liked Vol State well-enough that they decided to stay here and finish their degree," Schreiner said.
Click the link for more information on Sumner County Middle College.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Six Tips for New Students


Welcome new Vol State students. Here are six things that can make your life a bit easier:
       -Double-check your class schedule to make sure that you don’t have conflicts.
2.      -Make sure that you don’t have online classes, unless you want them.  The sections that are online include: CO#, R## and H##.
3.      -If you have a class that says Livingston, Highland, Cookeville or McGavock for location, those are other campuses, not buildings on the Gallatin campus.
4.      -Print up a campus map and figure out where your classes will be held.
5.      -Get to campus early on the first few days to find parking and to find your way around.
If you are having any issues you can call or visit the Advising Center this week for help. They are in Ramer 174 or by phone at 615-230-3702. You can also talk to an Advisor at Highland and Livingston. Check-in at the front desk.

If you have a class that has includeED course materials, including books, don’t worry about ordering those. They are included in your course fees and you will pick them up on the first day of class, in class. For online students they will be e-books that you can use starting the first day of classes, August 24. Your instructor can answer more questions about the includeED program on the first day of class. The basic message is this: you are set, don’t worry about books for your includeED class.
For those students who do not have an includeED class: it’s only done in some classes. It simply means that books and materials are included in the course fees. You may have a class like this in the future. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vol State Celebrates New Humanities Building with Beam-Signing Ceremony


The 2015-2016 President's Ambassadors sign the beam Monday morning.
Even though classes are a week away, Volunteer State Community College was busy Monday as faculty, staff, and students braved the rain to participate in a piece of Pioneer history.

Members of the Vol State community gathered for a ceremony that officially topped off the newly-named Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building by signing a beam that was placed on the structure. The 88,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by Summer 2016.

Although Allison Goodpaster and Megan Ratliff, two of the 2015-2016 President's Ambassadors, won't be Vol State students when the building is finally open, they were still excited to have a hand in the ceremony and what it means for the future of the college.

"It'll still be exciting, because this is such a great addition to Vol State. I'm excited for the students that get to utilize it even though we won't," Goodpaster said.

Ratliff, a Liberal Arts student, agreed, adding the new building will help connect students like never before. She's even hoping her younger sister will follow in her footsteps at Vol State and reap the benefits of the new building.

"I'm pushing my younger sister to come here, and I'm hoping that she'll be able to use the building. She's very artistic, and I think she'd like it," Ratliff said.

The event was also a nice way to kick off the 2015-2016 semester as the campus prepares itself for the arrival of students next week.

Jessica Cocita, instructor of English, was excited to be a part of the momentous occasion at Vol State as a member of the Humanities Division after having completed her first year of teaching at the college.

"For me to be here as this is going up and to get to be a part of the very first year that we'll get to occupy the building is really, really exciting to me. I just feel like it's going to be very inspiring to the faculty and a lot of the students that we have that might not have been as enthusiastic before," she said.

Even though getting a chance to teach in the new building is a year away, Cocita said she can't wait until the entire division is under one roof.

"We won't have to ask questions about where to find people and which building they're in. It'll be easier to talk to students and have those conversations after class because all of your classes are going to be in the same spot," she said.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Connect With Us on Social Media


You can get connected to Vol State in several different ways. Our goal is to keep you up to date with important information and announcements. However, we also want to provide space for you to interact with other students, ask questions and even make new friends.

Here's what we have available:

Facebook: The Vol State Facebook page is home to all sorts of information and tips to help you throughout the school year. Students chat with each other, sell textbooks and share information about favorite classes and professors. www.Facebook.com/VolState

Blog: The Vol State Virtual Community is our campus blog. It has stories about interesting people on campus, cool new programs, student activities and more. In fact, you're on it right now! You can set up an RSS feed to get regular updates or just look-in whenever you feel like it: www.volstate.edu/Blog

Twitter: We send info about campus events and happenings on our main Twitter page. Follow us: www.volstate.edu/Twitter
Instagram: Share your photos of life on campus and your accomplishments. We’ll post pics from around campus as well. Instagram: /volstatecampus. www.instagram.com/volstatecampus/
Web Page: The Vol State website is your primary hub for everything Vol State. You can use the A-Z index to locate specific programs or offices. The People Finder will help you look up instructors or staff. www.volstate.edu

My Vol State and Email: You'll be receiving important notices throughout the school year on your student email account. It's important to check this often. This is our way of reaching you individually with important information about things such as financial aid. You can access your email by using the My Vol State web page. My Vol State helps you connect to online classes as well. Keep an eye on the My Vol State page for other campus information, such as stories from the Settler student newspaper. https://portal.volstate.edu

Have a great semester and stay in touch!

Extended Gallatin Advising Center and Business Office Hours

Advising Center Extended Hours
FALL 2015

Date
Day
Office Hours

8/10/2015
Monday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/11/2015
Tuesday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/12/2015
Wednesday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/13/2015
Thursday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/14/2015
Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm





8/17/2015
Monday

1:00pm – 5:30pm

8/18/2015
Tuesday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/19/2015
Wednesday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/20/2015
Thursday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/21/2015
Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm





8/24/2015
Monday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/25/2015
Tuesday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/26/2015
Wednesday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/27/2015
Thursday
8:00am – 5:30pm

8/28/2015
Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm


Extended Business Office Hours


Date
Day
Office Hours



8/17/2015
Monday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

8/18/2015
Tuesday
8:00 am - 5:30 pm

8/19/2015
Wednesday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

8/20/2015
Thursday
8:00 am - 5:30 pm

8/21/2015
Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

8/22/2015
Saturday
9:00 am - 12:00 pm



8/24/2015
Monday
8:00 am - 5:30 pm

8/25/2015
Tuesday
8:00 am - 5:30 pm

8/26/2015
Wednesday
8:00 am - 5:30 pm

8/27/2015
Thursday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

8/28/2015
Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm



Friday, August 7, 2015

Fees Due August 13 - And Info for Financial Aid and TN Promise


Vol State fees for fall classes are due on August 13. If you don't pay by that date, you are in danger of being dropped from the classes you have signed up for. We don't want that to happen, so there are plenty of ways to pay what you owe. We even have deferred payment programs.

Approved TN Promise students don't have to worry about that date. You will be covered. It may not show up in your My Vol State account for a while, but you will be covered for the fees you owe.

Other financial aid students need to see what they were set to get for financial aid in the eligibility letter and compare it to what they owe in their My Vol State account. Financial Aid won't show up in your account until the 14th. But don't worry, if you have the money coming you will be fine. If you have excess funds that will also show up. Refunds for excess funds come after the first week of classes...but you have to show up to all of your classes to get it.

If you have questions, you can contact the Business Office at 615-230-3585.
One final thing: August 15-19 are the Vol State Bookstore charge days for eligible financial aid students. This allows financial aid students to get books from the Vol State Bookstore before they get their excess funds checks. You will get an email by August 15 in your Vol State email if you are eligible. You can order in-store or online at www.vcssshop.com. If ordering on line, when asked for an account number, use your Vol State "V" number including the V.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Important Dates Leading up to Fall Classes


We hope everyone is set for a great semester! We have some important dates for you to remember as we get closer to the start of classes.

If you still need to apply to Vol State you can do that online at www.volstate.edu/apply

You can register for classes up to the first week of classes. But we don't advise going that late. Missing even a class or two can be a real problem for students. If you register after August 13 fees will be due when you register.

August 13: Fees are due. Vol State fees for fall classes are due on August 13. If you don't pay by that date, you are in danger of being dropped from the classes you have signed up for. We don't want that to happen, so there are plenty of ways to pay what you owe. We even have deferred payment programs. Go here for details on both: http://www.volstate.edu/BusinessOffice/
Approved TN Promise students don't have to worry about that date. You will be covered. It may not show up in your My Vol State account for a while, but you will be covered for the fees you owe.

Other financial aid students need to see what they were set to get for financial aid in the eligibility letter and compare it to what they owe in their My Vol State account. Financial Aid won't show up in your account until the 14th. But don't worry, if you have the money coming you will be fine. If you have excess funds that will also show up. Refunds for excess funds come after your attendance is confirmed by your instructors.
If you have questions, you can contact the Business Office at 615-230-3585.

August 15-19: Bookstore Charge Days for Eligible Financial Aid Students. This allows financial aid students to get books from the Vol State Bookstore before they get their excess funds checks. You will get an email by August 15 in your Vol State email if you are eligible. You can order in-store or online at www.vcssshop.com. If ordering on line, when asked for an account number, use your Vol State "V" number including the V.

August 17: Faculty and Staff Convocation. The Gallatin campus will be closed in the morning and back open at 1pm. The Business Office in Gallatin and the Bookstore in Gallatin will be open all day. Livingston, Highland and Cookeville campuses will be open all day.

August 22: Pioneer Preview. 9am to Noon on the Library Lawn and inside Pickel Field House. An event for new students to get off on the right foot, including tips and advice for how to be successful at Vol State. Returning students can also attend. Student clubs and organizations will have tables with sign-up sheets for those interested. There will be live entertainment throughout the day. The Bookstore and Cafeteria will be open. Campus tours will be available and all new students who went through Campus Connect orientation and had their ID picture taken will be able to pick-up their ID’s and parking decals. We will have an ID machine operating for those who still need to have a picture taken or for returning students who need to renew their IDs (they will need to show proof of fee payment to issue the ID). New students are asked to RSVP if you plan to attend Pioneer Preview: https://www.volstate.edu/studentlife/pioneerpreview.php

August 24: First day of classes for all campuses. But for new students- please note that classes start on and after that date and on the particular day they usually meet. So, if you don't have a Monday class, you may start on Tuesday.

August 24: Vol State online classes will open for the first time. You will not be able to get into your online class module until this date. Visit their webpage if you are a first time online student. It has tips on how to get started.

September 7: All Vol State locations will be closed for Labor Day.

October 12-13: Fall Break

You can view the entire academic schedule here on our website.

Gallatin Main Entrance Back Open

The main entrance to the Gallatin campus is back open again. Thanks for your patience. We're getting everything set for a great school year!