Each semester millions of people attend classes at a local or online college. All students know that textbooks, lectures, and projects will become part of their daily lives. Most wonder what they can do to be as successful as possible in their courses and make the road to a degree as easy as possible. The following are a few recommendations to help any student do well:
Know what works for you. Before you enter the classroom know what you are going to have to do to achieve your best in that class. Understand where your strengths are and find help for your weakest areas.
• Know how you learn best. Are you a visual learner? Do you have to physically write-down notes or are you okay with typing them or, perhaps, just listening to the lecture?
• Know how to study. Use the study methods that are best suited for you. Give yourself adequate time to review material. Do not form a study group with anyone if the time will not be used productively.
• Know what your resources are. All campuses have some form of academic help. Utilize tutors, libraries, databases, organizations, and professors’ office hours when you need them.
Be prepared. Preparation is an element of success in almost anything. College is no different. Just showing up to class is not enough.
• Keep a calendar of assignment due dates. With everything there is to get done, it can be hard to remember when things are due. Create a calendar to stay on top of due dates and make sure that you are managing your time wisely.
• Get started on assignments and projects early. Oftentimes, projects and assignments will require more time than initially expected; completing the work as soon as possible allows you to dedicate the appropriate time to the task and do a better job.
• Become familiar test material ahead of time. Focus foremost on the information you are certain will be on the test (or quiz). From there, concentrate on important topics/main points and items of discussion highlighted in class lectures.
• Actually READ the chapters of the textbook. While most of the text is similar to lectures, reading the book ahead of class will allow you to follow the discussion more easily and understand what is going on.
Be willing to put in the extra work. No one ever attended college because they thought it would be easy. You have to study many hours and collaborate on group work to have a successful college career.
• Ask questions. If you do not understand something, ask the professor or peers, most are more than willing to help.
• Do not skip any assignments. Avoid the temptation to ‘just take a zero’ for one or two small assignments. You don’t want to be kicking yourself at the end of the semester because you are.01 away from a higher letter grade (or even passing the class), which could have been locked-in with that one extra grade.
• Come to class, even if you would rather be elsewhere. The professor isn’t there to lecture for no reason. What they have to say will help to understand and reinforce the material, which will show when it comes to exam time.
• Take advantage of extra credit opportunities. If your grade is wavering, just as with skipping assignments, those extra points can ‘make or break you’ at the end of the semester. It would be rough retaking a class knowing there was something you could have done to pass it the first time around.
Adapt to each class. Every class is run a little bit differently. Be aware of what the professor expects from you and how work is to be presented. Each class may require different study methods or time dedication. Identify these differences and tailor your habits to match.
By utilizing these recommendations, college students will find they have better success at achieving the expectations they set for themselves in regard to their coursework.