10 weeks into the semester and they decide they want to get serious. Emails, office visits, and after class stand-offs followed by “can I pass this class?”, “what do I need on the final to get a B?”, “what tips can you give me so I can pass?” Unfortunately, by the time they ask, it’s already too late. My first day of class speech usually begins with advice on passing my class, just in case anyone is really listening or paying attention. My speech keeps them from saying “you should have told me” later in the semester; or at least I can say I did tell you the first day of class.
So here we are near the end of the semester. They are taking the last test before the final, looking confused. I really feel for them and all other college students who make similar mistakes and hope to rebound from them at the end of the semester.
While they are sweating, I am writing: tips for being more successful and less stressed in college.
2. Ask questions in class. This shows your professor you are interested in learning. It also helps you to prepare for assignments.
3. Go to your professors’ office hours. Sometimes professors are more approachable in person. When teaching a large body of students, they have to stay focused on presenting the material. When working with students one-on-one, they have more time to focus on the individual student’s needs.
4. Keep up with assignments. It is easier to stay on track than to try to catch up with missed assignments. When possible, complete assignments in advance and submit them to your professor for review before submitting the final version of the assignment.
5. Read assignments before the professor presents the material in class. This will give you an idea of the material your professor will cover. This will also give you an idea of the level of difficulty you will face when studying the material.
6. Join or form study groups. Oftentimes, students can present material to their peers in a way that is more comprehensible than when the professor presents the material. It is very important to join or form study groups in college. This will keep you on track with your studies and give you more accountability for completing assignments on time.
7. Get plenty of rest and exercise, eat healthy meals, and drink plenty of water. You will need to operate at maximum capacity in college. Make sure you take care of your body, so you can be effective in your studies.
8. Join at least one club/organization. This will keep you tied into your school with activities. It will reduce your chances of getting homesick and help you stay focused on your studies and assignments.
9. Meet your advisor before registering for courses. This will reduce the chance of registration errors and ensure that you stay on track for graduating.
10. Buy all required books. Resist the urge to save money by not purchasing your required textbooks for class. When possible, reduce spending by purchasing used books or books at a discount (amazon.com, etc.). Also consider renting books, when possible.
11. Get help before it’s too late. Get help immediately! Do not fall into the trap of thinking it will get better. Most likely, it will get worse. You know when you need help. Seek it before it becomes critical.
12. Be responsible, and proactive. Know what you need to do and when you need to do it then get it done!
13. Have fun. Make sure you plan time for socializing and having fun. You will be very busy with school work and this can be stressful. Setting aside time for fun activities will give you something to look forward to and provide an outlet from all the hard work and stress.
This all sounds like common sense decisions, but somewhere between senior year of high school and freshman year of college, common sense vanishes!!