Classroom rules I wish I lived by…
As a junior in college I have taken many classes at this point and there are some very healthy study habits and classroom expectations I have picked up along the way that would have helped me tremendously coming into college as a freshman.
- No technology in class: (this rule will not apply in courses where computers are required) I prefer pen and paper to taking notes on my laptop simply because it was too easy to get distracted by incoming emails and other projects I needed to work on. I encourage you to leave your phone in your bag and close your laptop for a class and see how much more you retain from your lectures!
- Don’t do other homework/work in class: At first it starts out as only taking a few minutes to focus on something else and by the time you finish what ever you were working on class is dismissed and you missed an entire lesson! Intentionally devote your time to what your top priority is in that moment, if you do this there will never be something more important to do in class than listen to your professor.
- Always attend professor office hours: Professors are truly there to help students and the relationships you can make with them are invaluable. Show up to their office at least once a semester to monitor your performance and show them you care. If you get the feeling your professor is actively trying to hold you back from succeeding in their class talk to your Dean!
- Complete EVERY extra credit opportunity: Even if you do not need extra credit do the assignments anyway. The assignments help you gain a deeper understanding of the course and they earn you some cushion points in something drastic happens and your grade drops unexpectedly at any point in the semester. When final grades start coming out the smallest point margins make all the difference between A and B.
- Always have readings done before class: This certainly goes without saying, but make sure you have devoted enough time to read all the assigned material, because a couple of hours may not be enough. Think about what you are trying to take from the readings. Do you need to write outlines or make comments? Analyzing readings takes much longer than just reading them so give yourself the opportunity to understand your material.
- Study for at least 2 consecutive days before tests: Depending on how much material the test will cover the number of days will change. Make sure you don’t stress yourself out by cramming! When you cram and start realizing what you haven’t mastered you may feel stupid when you aren’t. No one masters anything the hour before they are tested on it, so again give yourself the opportunity to succeed by planning ahead. REMEMBER: Don’t make your experience harder than it has to be!
- Write for 6 consecutive days before a paper is due: This time frame also depends on how long the paper should be or how many objectives you are ask to cover. I use the 6 day rule for a 15 page paper to include research and writing. The research time is usually underestimated by students. With enough time you can do quality research and prepare a nice variety of information to help support your argument or strengthen your analysis.
- Use a planner: Perhaps the most important tool to use for succeeding in college is the planner. As all these tips suggest time management determines most of your overall performance so do not rely on your memory to remember everything you have to do. College has way to many distractions to keep you from retaining all the information you receive–write it down!
Bottom line: Do not let grades define your intelligence–only your preparation and work ethic! Poor preparation can always be fixed and brilliance exists in everyone.
In the comments below share some college survival tips you have picked up along the way!