School is back session which means a deluge of first day of school photos on your timeline, entirely too much traffic and an inordinate amount of money spent on school supplies. While so much attention is paid to K-12 students’ educational journey, we thought we’d show a little love, and give a few helpful tips, to the college crowd. So we sat around as a team, reminisced about our “School Daze” and came up with a few tips for academic success (you’re welcome).
Hi, My name is…
- You want your Professor to remember you (for good reasons)
- It may be useful to befriend a few classmates early in the semester, preferably those who may be able to help you pick up hard to grasp concepts, or at least fill you in if you miss class
- Stop by Office Hours to introduce yourself during the first couple of weeks so they can start learning your name (especially in a large class)
Wake Up. Go to Class. Participate.
Class attendance really does affect your grade. Don’t assume that all you need to do is read the assigned readings to be prepared for exams and assignments. Professors don’t always follow the book and portions of the exam may be based more on their lectures and class discussion than on the readings. Professors also sometimes make important announcements during class, and some professors have even been known to give exam tips during class, so make sure you’re there.
Use Office Hours
- All Professors have dedicated time for you to stop by (Office Hours)
- Office Hours are not only for when you’re in trouble
- If you have a Teaching Assistant (usually a student), use them
Study long, study hard
- Most of what you learn in college doesn’t happen in the classroom
- For every hour of class, you need two hours of out-of-class work
- Professors design their classes around the level of work required outside of class
- Create a specific study schedule
- Your study schedule should be written in your planner (Yes, you need a planner)
- You should have built in time to STUDY EVERY DAY
Balance is a Major Key
Missing out on even a couple of classes can set you back a couple of weeks or more, so whenever possible, go to class. When planning out your week, make sure you set aside enough time each day for studying, socializing, extracurricular commitments and taking care of yourself to make sure your brain is rested and alert.
- Make friends, love your friends and take care of your friends, because chances are, you’ll be friends for life
- Friends are important, but NOT MORE IMPORTANT than your grades
- Do NOT calibrate your study time based on your friends
- Time management is one of the primary lessons you learn in college and you alone are responsible for dates, deadlines and assignments
- Use a calendar/planner to keep track of classes, assignment due dates, exams, homecoming and long weekends
- Consult your syllabus for grading and class policy, office hours and contact information
Making connections and building a campus support system is essential. And you need to be on campus to do this – so spend time on your campus. The more time you spend getting to know the college, the more comfortable you will be there. Take advantage of unique programs and educational opportunities, get involved in clubs and organizations, attend campus events and even invite a classmate to meet after class to study or to grab something to eat.
No man [woman/college student] is an island
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – and don’t wait until it’s too late: Even if you’re not having difficulties in class, you should still make an appointment to receive tutoring or other academic assistance. These resources not only help you review class material, but they also offer workshops and opportunities to further develop the skills you already have. It is also important to communicate with your professor if you don’t fully understand something in class. However, if you do wait until you’re in trouble:
- Go to Office Hours
- TALK to the Professor
- Join a PRODUCTIVE study group
- Put in the “butt” time (time you spend on your butt studying)
- Use the student life center (varies by campus)
College (undergraduate school specifically) is the only place where you get to be a semi-adult before you’re required to full-out adult on a daily basis. Take advantage of this time in your life, make friends, make memories (that won’t result in a criminal record) and make the most of your experience.