- Always go to class.
Make it your number one priority. If you must miss class make sure that you notify your teacher. Call them (their office phone number is usually on the syllabus) or e-mail them and let them know you must be absent. Be sure that you find out if there was an assignment that was given (that may not be on the syllabus) and do the assignment prior to the next class meeting. If you have an assignment due and haven’t completed the assignment, go to class anyway. Make arrangements with the teacher about the late assignment. Some instructors will take the paper or assignment late but may deduct points for being late. BUT at least you will get some points for it. If you don’t hand it in or make other arrangements with the instructor, you will get a zero and may even fail the course.
- Always be on time for class.
Don’t arrive late and interrupt everyone else. If you absolutely can’t help being late, enter quietly and take a seat. Be ready to attend to the lecture material when you enter the room so as not to disrupt others.
- Always take your textbook, class notebook and folder.
Be prepared when you go to class. Like any other job you must have the essentials for your work. Be sure to have highlighters, pens and pencils ready. (Yes, plural, if a pen or highlighter goes dry, they won’t be much help to you. Have more than one pencil in case the lead breaks or a mechanical pencil quits working.) Be prepared.
- As soon as you enter the classroom get out your materials for the day.
Have your notebook open and ready to take notes and your textbook open to the day’s assignment. When your instructor begins lecturing you shouldn’t be sitting there digging in a book bag looking for anything. Your material should be organized and ready for you to begin.
- Try to sit in the front of the classroom.
It’s much easier to pay attention through the lecture if you are sitting in the front of the room right under the instructor’s nose so to speak. Students who sit in the back are less likely to pay close attention to material and are more likely to start daydreaming, sleeping or doing something else. Sit in the front of the classroom and pay attention.
- Always read the assignments ahead of time.
If you read the assigned chapter or material prior to attending the lecture you will be way ahead of the other students. By reading the material prior to the lecture it will help you recognize the vocabulary words, give a general idea of the information that is going to be presented and make the lecture more understandable as you see how it fits with the reading assignment.
- Practice good time management.
A general rule for studying is that for every hour you spend in the classroom you will spend about three hours studying for that course. Studying includes reading the new material, re-reading important concepts that you have already covered, reviewing your notes, and preparing for exams. For most coursework if you are spending less time than this studying, you are probably not covering the material the way you should. If you are having problems with figuring out how to learn the material talk to your instructor and get study tips from them, consider enrolling in a reading and study skills course, or find a “study buddy” from the class who might be willing to help you. Talking to upper level students who have learned good study techniques can also be helpful.
- Take care of yourself.
One of the most important rules of all is to remember to take care of yourself. To be able to learn and cope with the stresses and demands of college you must remember to get enough rest, eat well and get some exercise. Students who don’t eat and get enough rest begin to rundown and find themselves fighting colds, flu and often, depression. It’s important to take time to eat healthy meals and get enough rest at night to remain healthy enough to do well in college.
- Buy a calendar or planner to keep information recorded all in one place.
Write in all your assignment deadlines, exams, times you work, important dates (like when there is no school or a particular class is going to be cancelled) and keep this with you all the time. It’s important to write everything in one place and keep it with you. If you have a desk calendar in your dorm room, post it notes or reminders written in notebook margins and nothing is really organized, you are going to miss important deadlines. Be organized.