Alums from MC Living Lab School UA Maker Academy share pro tips for college success for college-bound high school seniors.

Interviewed by Joy Nolan



1)    Do not miss class. You will miss one and you won’t want to go back. You don’t have someone telling you to go to class, once you get out of the mindset of going to that class at that time. Getting back into that mindset is really hard, and it’s all on you.

2)    Manage your time, but don’t over-manage your time. Especially going into a non-mastery setup in your college classes, you can actually think too much about your own standards/rubrics for your work.

3)    Find people you can talk to, academically and emotionally, all that. It can be a professor, the lunch lady, friends, upperclassmen . . . find people you can connect with.

4)    Ask upperclassmen who have taken similar courses for their advice.




1)    Go to office hours. College teachers set time for students to come in and talk about what’s happening in class, and how you can improve your grades. It’s really helpful because they give you insight into what you can do to improve.

2)    If you’re moving away and living in the dorms, don’t do random selection for your roommate! Find someone you relate to. Random selection happens automatically but you can find your own roommate by posting on social media related to your college: Here’s my hobbies, what I’m like, hit me up. I recommend people do that. If you can’t relate to your roommate, you can’t really hang out. There can be awkward silences. I know that firsthand this year, so I don’t hang out in my room as much as I would otherwise.

3)    Have a schedule for your work week, and schedule in a nap time. That helps me reenergize. It might seem like you have only 2-3 classes a day, but they are content heavy, so you need your rest.




1)    Get a planner. I set up my events on the calendar in the front. I write in all my assignments on the dates, and at bottom of page there’s place to write your weekly goal. It’s worth the work to do this because it’s a stress reliever; if you’re trying to remember everything, you’re going to get stressed out and not remember. (Milam: I want to add to that! Sometimes a class gets canceled, and some things get pushed back and other things are doubled up, so update your planner when that happens.)

2)    Sign up for your classes as early as possible. I signed up toward end of July and a lot of the classes I wanted or needed were booked. There was no space for one of my math classes, so I’m going to take a winter class in January, a 14-day class that’s a lot of work. You don’t want to fall behind.

3)    Really pay attention to annotating and note-taking skills when you’re still in high school. Let’s say you have 30 pages to read on one night—you’re going to have trouble unless you can take good notes. You can use the textbook sometimes to help take notes. For example, in my World Civ textbook, at the beginning of the chapter, there’s a highlight of 3-4 points that gives gist of each section, and page numbers.

4)    You have to make sure you have the support you need. The resources don’t come out and find you!



1)    Network! I see a lot of people miss out on opportunities because they don’t talk to other people. Find your niche, but also be open to find new career ideas. If something new gets you interested, it may make you want to change your career. In high school, I networked a lot. I got in with Mouse—and that’s how I got my passion for user experience. [Mouse partners with to foster greater diversity and humanity in STEM by working with teachers and students to access and amplify technology as a force for good.]

2)    Know how to manage your time and do it alone. There’s no one at your college making parent calls. Use a planner or figure out what works for you and set yourself up for success.

3)    Find your community. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Find people who help you be productive, and who you can talk to about your day if you have stuff on your mind.

4)    Closed mouths don’t get fed. I see people suffer in silence. If you have something going on, speak up and take advantage of opportunities. If you’re struggling in a class, it’s going to affect your grade—so see if maybe you can drop. There is nothing wrong with dropping a class if you find it’s not a good fit.

5)    If you miss class, you are screwed. Go to class!