Even for the most prepared and meticulous students college can be a bit of a challenge. While there is no standardized formula to make it through college we can offer a few proven tips for being successful in a college class academically, socially and professionally.
1Maintain good attendance
Teachers pay attention to the level of involvement students demonstrate throughout the semester. These will be the same teachers you will turn to for letters of recommendation and you can’t expect them to vouch for you if you’ve barely set foot in their classes. A large deal of college is about establishing connections and working on your abilities to network.
2Take advantage of school resources
Most students overlook the vast network of readily available resources colleges have and go through the semester on the bare minimum – attending classes alone. Make it a rule to frequent the campus libraries, tutoring and writing centers, computer labs and career centers for free, valuable information.
3Visit the Academic Advisor Regularly
Make it a habit to meet with your advisor early and often and seek their opinion on which classes to take each semester and how to meet your academic goals. Register as early as possible for your classes – they fill quickly, and you don’t want to pile on classes before you graduate. Your advisor can guide you to the best campus resources, inform you of important deadlines, familiarize you with college policies and procedures, and keep you up-to-date with campus events and organizations that could benefit you.
Create a student account and check it regularly – this is your main source of important information. You should pay attention to the student handbook and visit the school website to ensure you don’t miss anything. Important dates, deadlines and information are always posted there. Connect with other students in each of your classes and exchange numbers. This can assist you in joining study groups, clarifying information, or catching up after missing a class.
Missing out on even a couple of classes can set you back a month or more, so you will benefit immensely from spending your time in a sustainable way. 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.
6Set reasonable goals
Try to set achievable and measureable goals each semester. This is will keep you motivated, acting as a record of the progress you’ve made as well as helping you push yourself to continue setting and achieving goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself with long-term goals, but do plan ahead and think about how you see yourself in the future both personally and professionally.
Hold on to the syllabi you’re handed in the beginning of the semester as they cover course expectations, assignments, due dates, grading and other class policies, as well as professors’ contact information and office hours. Compile these into an organizer on your computer or phone and add homework assignments as they are given.
There is nothing easier than delegating work at the beginning of the semester, only to suffer from lack of urgency and leave assignments until the last minute. Studying immediately before a test is the surest way to overload and fry your brain. Make it a rule to study frequently – this way you will reduce the volume of information you need to take in as well as reducing stress and being able to sleep the night before an exam.
9Take and review notes
Notes taken in class are not supposed to lie forgotten on your desk. They are your single most useful tool in figuring out the pattern of teaching of every professor, which in turn will give valuable information regarding exam formats, essay questions and extra credit assignments. Reviewing notes helps you retain up to 80% of the material without any additional research.
10Work on your problem-solving skills
Courses such as math, physics, chemistry and statistics require good analytical skills, so be sure to spend time at home working on problems. When you get stuck on a problem seek help quickly to make sure you understand what is being asked.