College Tips

Friday, September 5, 2014

September is here and most people are heading back to school, if they're not back yet.  My sister started last week but I know most public schools in California don't start until early October this year!  So I thought I can share some of my tips for surviving college, the academic side for now, since I've been through it myself and I feel like I'm going through it again with my sister currently.

So here are some of my tips for college...
  1. Attend classes.  I know this may seem straightforward, but there are people who don't attend classes (and I was one of them once upon a time...).  Attend your lectures because you are paying your professors to teach you things and to explain concepts to you that might be too hard to learn yourself!  Depending on the subject, your professor might take attendance and have that be part of your final grade!  If not, professors sometimes will hint at what topics will be covered in the upcoming midterms, or even cover materials that are not included in their powerpoint presentations.  So it is very helpful to attend your classes!  Plus, do you know how much money you are wasting when you skip ONE lecture?  
  2. Office hours.  While I was in school, one of the tips I kept hearing from my relatives was to attend office hours.  And when my sister first started college, one of the first things I told her was to attend office hours.  Office hours are a great way to interact with the professor in a smaller group setting.  If you don't understand certain things they went over in a lecture, they'll be happy to go over it in more details with you in office hours.  Sometimes professors will hold study groups during their office hours to help you prepare for their upcoming exam.  Its also a great way for professors to put faces to the names they see on their roosters and the test scores.  Attending office hours can only benefit you; at the end of the semester when they are calculating your final grade, they might boost up your grade in your favor if they see that you've attended office hours and put in a lot of effort in their class.
  3. Strategic schedule.  Know what kind of time frames you prefer and try to schedule your classes around that.  Personally I love to have my classes in the morning/early afternoon and labs in the afternoon so I have my nights free.  If you have trouble waking up in the morning, then schedule your classes in the afternoon so that you won't have trouble waking up for the classes.  Also it is good to know if you prefer breaks in-between your classes or if you like having back to back classes.  I personally enjoyed back to back classes so that I won't have some random gap in my day where it's too short for me to go back to my room but too long for me to just bum around on campus with nothing to do.  Choose class times that will be the most efficient for your productivity. 
  4. Pick the right load.  Do not spread yourself too thinly.  From personal experience, I would suggest to everyone that they only take two "hardcore" classes at a time.  Chances are you will be taking up to four classes per quarter/semester and out of those four, I would suggest that two of them should be an easy A/B classes where you don't have to spend the majority of your time studying for those classes.  You want to focus your time on your classes that are going towards your major, since they will most likely be more challenging.  I know this might not always work out in your favor, but try not to take too many hard classes at once.  It will only burn you out faster and damage your gpa in the long run.
Hope everyone has a great school year ahead and if you have any helpful tips, please leave them down below!

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