Guide to First Year College Classes and Success

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As a first year college student, you may be worried about college, what it takes to graduate, and how to manage this new world. You may also feel like college is an extended version of high school. Either way, here are a few tips to help you. Think of this article like a pre first year orientation. College classes, homework, and tests will manageable once you get adjusted.

College Classes & Sucess

Finding your Classes - It is a good idea to get a hold of a map and find your classes before school starts. This will help prevent you from getting lost in your first week, especially when you only have a few minutes between each class.

Sitting in Front - It is a good idea to sit toward the front of the classroom if you can help it. Professor are more likely to help you if they recognize you, and it can help if your professor likes to write on the board instead of using projectors.

Work Load - The first week is designed to getting you used to your class and knowing the syllabus and policies. The work load is generally light in the beginning so don’t make the mistake of thinking your work load is set so soon.

Fitting In - Studies often show that if a student feels like they don’t fit in within the first few weeks, they are likely to continue that way. Colleges have a huge outreach to students with clubs, organizations, campus life, etc.. Be sure to reach back and pull yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. You might be surprised at how easy it is to find people with common interests.

How to Stay Ahead…

Know your Professors - I cannot stress how important it is to get to know your professors. It is vital to stand out and be known…even in a class of 500 students. Most professors have office hours where you can get that one-on-one attention. Even if you are not struggling in a class, it is a good idea to visit them and get to know them. They often love to talk about their work, research, or even you, and how you are adjusting to being a student. This will help later on, when you need help in the class, or need a letter of recommendation.

Reading - Reading should be a regular part of your college curriculum. Often professors will not check to see if you have read your text until the test. Be sure to read the chapters if your syllabus or professor asks. Don’t be afraid to highlight or write in your book, as textbook buybacks are usually not that picky. Either way, be sure to read your books. You most likely paid a lot of money for them, anyways.

Studying - Some of the best ways to help you learn are to know what you will be lectured about. Try skimming over the chapter before the lecture or looking over the power points if they are available online. It is also a good idea to spend a few minutes skimming over your notes sometime that day after class. These two things really help with your retention.