To the graduates of the second batch of Senior High School students:
Hello there! First off, congratulations on stepping another milestone in your life. A couple of years extended during senior high school might have already made you aware on the system of higher education – or still, probably not.
However, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that you survived high school! And now, you’re gearing in towards another exhilarating, yet nerve-wracking experience towards getting that final degree in a baccalaureate program. Once again, congratulations!
But, just as chickens would lay eggs which might (or might not) hatch, so does the feeling when you are now entering tertiary education: you’re quite unsure what will happen next, except if you’re resolute enough no matter what. Nonetheless, you will be the ones defining your own destiny.
And given the nature of the university as a medical school open to foreign students, you might be bothered and curious as to how things are going to be during your first day of college life.
But fret not, Cobras! Fortunately, here is a comprehensive guide towards your stay and what to expect at Southwestern University PHINMA.
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE ON THE COBRAS COMMUNITY
1. CAMPUS LIFE
xpect various activities and student-oriented ventures spearheaded by the Office of the Student Life, along (or in partnership) with the various school departments, organizations, and/or the publication. The Cobras community is centered on a vibrant student life to balance out academic life and socio-cultural affairs.
Among the list of events to look out for as Cobras are the following:
- Maroon Jam – Maroon Jam is a transitionary activity conducted every first day of the school year. Its aim is to help students adjust to the university life by introducing departmental booths in a fun, interactive and convenient way.
- Mundo Granate – The Maroon World (Mundo Granate) is a grand celebration and among one of the highlight activities initiated by SWU PHINMA. This celebration is open to all, which means you could also bring a friend from other schools. This typically takes place around July-August.
- SIGLAKAS – Siglakas is an annual sportsfest activity, usually held in the month of September. The sportsfest activity aims to foster the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship to Cobras by showcasing their athletic abilities and academic grasp. School departments compete with each other to covet the SIGLAKAS championship title.
College academics differ quite a lot compared to secondary education. Brace yourselves for in-depth lessons and more strict house rules. Major subjects tend to be way more serious compared to minor ones. Still, your standing in every subject affects your General Weighted Average (GWA).
SWU PHINMA equips students to be familiar with how board exams work. As a program of action, expect shading of choices similar to national testing examinations (NAT, NCAE, etc.) Don’t worry, it will be only applicable on every major exams. Submitted examination papers will then be fed to a machine, by which results will be automatically be generated.
The Transcript of Records (TOR) serves as an official document recording the courses taken and the grades of a student. It reflects and shows a student’s standing in his/her chosen course.
Contents in a TOR include course unit code, course title, duration of course, grades and the credits earned. Numeric grades range from 1.00 (HIGHEST MARK) to 5.00 (FAILING MARK); 3.00 is the Passing Grade.
Also take note on the Non-Numerical Grades (based on SWU Student Handbook 2019 Edition)
Grades Withheld (GW)
– occurs when a student still has an outstanding balance with the school. It is recorded in the Registrar’s records and will be reflected on your Transcript of Records.
Dropped with Permission (DP)
– occurs when a student dropped the subject following the proper procedure. It will not be reflected to your TOR, unless you dropped without informing the Registrar.
– happens when student hadn’t took final examination or submit an academic requirement insufficient to merit a final passing grade. INC will also be given to students who will get a passing final grade in a board preparation subject, but failed to pass the final examination.
No Credit (NC)
– occurs when a student gets a final grade of 5.00 in a first-year subject. It may also occur when a student fails to convert his INC mark into a passing grade.
Failure due to Absences (FA)
– happens when “student has incurred absences of more that 20% of the total number of class meetings.”It is equivalent to a grade of 5.00 and is included for calculation of the General Point Average (GPA).
3. ORGANIZATIONS AND THE PUBLICATION
Organizations and the publication exist due to the purpose of serving the studentry in line with its passion and advocacy. With a variety of organizations to join into, do make sure it fits your calling. Otherwise, joining an organization will not work for you.
Expect seeing plenty of organizational booths on tomorrow’s First Day Jam. You might want to ask its members whether you can join their team. Here’s some of the lists of organizations you might want to take a look at:
- Department Organizations:
- Student Body Organizations (SBOs)
- New Generation Against Drugs (New GAD)
- Junior Associations/Institutes (course dependent)
- Association of Philippine Medical Colleges – Student Network (School of Medicine)
- LUNAS Scholars
- Religious Organizations:
- Campus for Christ Ministry
- Christ’s Youth in Action
- Official Student Publication:
- The Quill
Not all students could afford paying their tuition and school fees. Good thing there are scholarships and grants-in-aid financial assistance programs to help shoulder a portion (or full) of students’ fees. While scholars might enjoy benefits awarded to them, there’s always something in return, and be sure to check that!
At Southwestern University, you may enjoy privileges of a maximum of two (2) scholarships. However, they must be categorized as Internal and External Scholarships.
- Internal Scholarship – is any financial award given by the school as an aid towards tertiary education. This type of scholarship is more likely to demand return service of about 5 hours per week.
Always make sure to read Terms and Conditions of any scholarship contracts. Contracts are there to set out guidelines and expectations for both parties to follow. One should understand that recipient must abide to scholarship conditions such as duty hours, maintenance of grades, etc.
The following are the list of Internal Scholarships by the school:
- PHINMA Scholarship
- Within Reach Scholarship
- Handog Kaibigan (HK) Scholarship
- Student-Athlete Scholarship
- Working Scholar
- SWU PHINMA Chairman’s Scholarship*
- SWU PHINMA Presidential Scholarship*
- Alumni Discount
- Siblings Discount
- Persons with Disability (PWD) Discount
- With Highest Honors Discount
* applicable only to the School of Medicine
- External Scholarship – financial award or grants given by a third-party company, government organizations or non-government organizations to support and finance student’s fees.
The following are some of the External Scholarships:
- Commission on Higher Education: Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs)
- Commission on Higher Education: Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES)
- Department of Science and Technology: RA 7687 & Merit Scholarships
- Overseas Workers Welfare Association: Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
- Overseas Workers Welfare Association: OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (OFWDSP)
- Cebu City Scholarship
For more details and concerns regarding scholarships, please consult SWU Scholarship Coordinator, Ms. Beverly V. Vasig.
TIPS AND TRICKS TO THRIVE DURING YOUR FIRST YEAR
Orientations are designed to keep you familiar with the rules, processes and the system between school departments. At this point, students will also be aware as to the expectations your department set.
Your study load containing the syllabus of your course guides you on the details of your subject class. Information present in the study load include course subjects with units, room assignment, as well as tuition and other fees.
Don’t worry, majority of the departments implement BLOCK Sectioning. This means that a group of students of the same degree get to be classmates throughout the semester. In a week or two, you’ll also be able to adapt to your schedule without looking your study load anymore.
As freshmen students, everybody is feeling the same way during the start of classes. Engage in any ways of socializing with others of the same interest as yours as it might be able to help some tensions you felt by yourself. Besides, it’s a good way to share each other’s experiences, interests, goals and the future!
Be careful on choosing whom to befriend though, as some people might consider you a friend only to take advantage and exploit the resources you have. Examine and assess one’s personality, attitude and traits first before getting to know the person deeper.
Set your goals and be organized
No soldier will engage in a battle unprepared; the same thing applies to your first day on the baccalaureate program. Appropriate planning and visualizing with your goals would make your stay much easier and convenient, as you are more likely to be focused on achieving those goals. Remember also to track your progress so you’ll know how close you are on achieving it! Trust me, it does work. Good planning helps lessen the burden of compiled works and lets you anticipate other strenuous tasks you’ll most probably encounter.
A trait you would want to practice is being punctual. If you’re the ‘goal oriented’ type of a person, then striving to become a prompt student would definitely give you the advantage. Attend classes regularly, avoid oversleeping, and make a habit of preparing yourself to school 30 minutes before first class.
Strive for Good Grades
While not all students want to ace the class and graduate with Latin honors on the program they chose, admit it: There’s aways a part of us that has the desire to do so and be recognized in front of the stage, it’s just that we tend to be discouraged thinking it would be an impossible feat, but it isn’t!
The secret? STUDY SMART. Well, you might wonder how come it’ll be useless. The thing is, other factors such as academic pressure, fear of failure and having a hard time adapting prevents our mindset from achieving the bigger picture you’ve always imagined.
What best option is there to become familiar to the school than exploring it? Yes, there’ll be some adjustments happening during your early stay in the university, but over time, you’ll grow to be familiar the place.
A good way on exploring campus life would be to get involved in student activities and events organized by the school. You might also want to take advantage on study and learning resources such as the library or roam around different classrooms and laboratory area.
Have time for yourself
There’s nothing wrong hanging out with friends or taking a brief moment off from your academic life for yourself! For a student to be productive enough, it is important to give yourself a time to rest and break free from the school struggles and stress. Whether binge-watch your favorite series on Netflix, have a conversation with friends, to sleeping yourself out — Relax and enjoy college life while you’re at it.
Manage and Adjust
You’re already mature enough to be able to handle yourself with less supervision from others. Many of you might be away from home, but being determined to finish your degree is one sacrifice you must endure.
- COPING WITH HOMESICKNESS. As mentioned earlier, majority of the students are away from their hometown in pursuit of education.
To cope with homesickness, you may stroll around the area you’re currently living at, go shopping with friends, or even make yourself busy with chores. It’s all about mind setting; grow familiar with the place and in no time, you’ll get used to the area.
- TRACK YOUR MONEY. Finances are part of our daily lives. Budgeting your allowances would surely prepare you to be responsible in your expenses on years to come. Also make sure to save up a portion of your allowance should there be emergency situations and unanticipated expenses.
If you feel you don’t belong, then SHIFT!
This might sound discouraging; but if you feel your chosen course is not for you, then shift courses the soonest! If you have been forced by your parents, joined your peers, or chose a course based on higher salary grade, then chances are: You’ll regret your life decision. You’re close to getting that undergraduate degree and you don’t want your efforts to be wasted. Instead, choose the course that is inclined to your passion and skills.
Always remember: There are no set timeline to reaching success. Your peers might be successful and might graduate earlier than you, but that doesn’t mean you will not.
Adhere to school rules and policies.
It’s always best to follow school guidelines so as to avoid yourself from trouble. As Cobras, you are expected to comply to all policies required by the school and its expectations. You are also encouraged to learn the school’s history, mission, vision, the Code of Conduct and Academic Policies, among others.
For reference, you may grab an electronic copy of the Student Handbook for Academic and Non-Academic Policies here: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/c0368f_d2c97f0adede4214b0e7733d48673136.pdf
June 10 is the start of another chapter of your lives. I believe you’ve already done prep works – passed and graduated high school and now, being enrolled for tertiary education. Now, it’s time to climb the final ladder!
There’s no shortcut to success, but becoming prepared to face the challenges of college life would be great deal. Learn to reach out to others and have fun as much as you can. That way, you’ll be able to achieve getting that diploma and live out to your expectations.