How to Make the Most of Your CIA College Experience


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The Culinary Institute of America has an outstanding retention rate compared to other colleges and universities in the United States, but that fact does not guarantee a favorable experience for every student. Many CIA students still struggle with common problems, like homesickness, depression, and feelings of being alone and overwhelmed. So how can you increase your chances of having a positive experience at the CIA? Here are a few tips.

  1. Get to know the faculty and staff

The instructors and other staff members are all here to help you succeed. They are your most vital resource. Not only can they provide you guidance in your courses, but they can also influence your future. When you are looking for a job recommendation after graduation, the relationships you have fostered with your instructors and advisors can work in your favor.

  1. Get to know your peers

Talk to other students! We all come from different places and have varied backgrounds and experiences. Take advantage of the CIA’s beautiful blend of cultures, and don’t be afraid to say hello to someone you don’t know. You could make a lasting friendship, learn something new or at the very least have another friendly face to wave to around campus.

  1. Utilize academic resources.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. There’s no reason to hide any academic struggles. Without help, problems could grow out of control. Take advantage of tutoring opportunities; the learning center in the library is a safe place for students to seek help without fear of judgment or ridicule.

  1. Study smarter

Figure out your specific learning style! Study in groups. Find your personal study space. Your dorm room could be full of distractions and consequently might not be the best learning environment. The CIA has countless lounge spaces and designated quiet areas. Scope out your favorite place on campus that makes you feel inspired.

  1. Learn to manage your time

There are a lot of different techniques and styles of time management. Study at the same time each day. Keep a planner or make checklists. Avoid procrastination.

  1. Get involved! Attend lectures and seminars

Join a team. There are countless clubs on campus for any interest, and if you don’t see a club that speaks to you, start one! Take advantage of campus dining opportunities. Volunteer. When you feel disconnected, it can be easy to retreat and cut yourself off from the outside world but try your hardest to fight the urge to stay in your room. Opportunities aren’t going to find you; you have to get out there and find them.

  1. Exercise and eat well

Take care of yourself so that you can give your best. Get a reasonable amount of sleep each night. Feed your body. Make a commitment to do one thing for yourself every day.

College can be a challenging experience, not only academically but also socially and emotionally. The Culinary Institute of America is a particularly demanding school because we are the world’s premier culinary college, breeding the next great leaders of our industry. When you feel overwhelmed, which happens to everyone, just remember that you are not alone. Try some of these tips to help you get the most out of your college experience, and you just might make some amazing memories and feel an awesome sense of accomplishment and pride when you make it to that graduation ceremony.

By Emily White

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