The new semester is getting ready to launch at one of the three colleges where I teach and students are eagerly anticipating their new courses….or not.
There are several tips in today’s blog towards getting going successfully. I hope you find them practical and helpful.
First, read the syllabus. What expectations does the college have for you with regard to a given class? Is there anything unclear or muddy? Ask questions – the professor would like to get your feedback on the clarity of the assignments and is usually very happy to clarify. However, if something is not due till week four and this is week zero, wait until you get a little closer to the due date (like three weeks out or so) because you have to give the instructor time to clarify the instructions before you start asking questions. Sometimes the additional knowledge you will gain in the intervening weeks will be enough to answer the questions without your even needing to ask.
Next, look at your textbook. Read the expanded Table of Contents, so that you have some clue as to what you will be studying. If you have a lecture for that class, read the textbook BEFORE the lecture and then read it again after you have heard what the professor says about the chapter. (Do this only if you want a really good grade in the course. If you are just going to “get by” then you might not want to bother.)
Take notes as you read and as the professor lectures, if applicable. Plan on studying two hours for every hour you spend in class.
Map things out on a month-at-a-glance calendar, so that you are not surprised by assignments (I have blogged about this before, so please check that blog if you don’t know what I am talking about).
Finally, stay up with all assignments and turn them in on time. If you have the opportunity to do extra credit, do it, even if you don’t think you will need it.
Do you have any questions for me on how to be successful in the new term?