It’s a consensus among students that the first few class meetings of a semester, and the first few weeks for that matter, are the “easiest” ones. And, while this sentiment may be true when these class days are compared to, say, exam days and paper due dates, where these days lack in lecture substance they make up for in vital administrative information.
The review and class-introductions that the first days are often reserved for are accompanied by class policy, study tips and other information that does nothing but help one’s chance of a good grade. Not attending theses classes or not paying attention during them causes students to fall behind early.
Avoid the mistake of taking the start of the semester lightly, as well as these other common mistakes, and any class can be passed.
The number one point of advice I hear upperclassmen and advisors give to younger students is to regularly attend office hours. Professors are often completely different instructors during one-on-one time than in class, and will thoroughly answer questions, review lessons, and even give advice on upcoming exams or homework.
Syllabi save lives
You know that packet of papers your professor gives you on the first day of class with contact information, learning objectives, etc.? It doesn’t need to disappear the second you get home; actually, it’s extremely useful. Keep syllabi in a designated folder to refer to for grading policies, lecture schedules and due dates. No matter how well you think you know a class, questions will come up.
They’re not exactly snowflakes…
But no two professors are the same. Each has a unique way of lecturing, answering questions, and grading. Don’t forget to listen attentively to how your instructor talks and notice his/her mannerisms – you’ll naturally be more comfortable talking with them. Also, speak up in class and ask questions afterwards and you will come off as less of a stranger. Interacting with your professor regularly will make you more interested in the class, build more useful bridges, and even get you on his/her “good” side.
Use all resources
Don’t forget there is help outside of a class’s scheduled meetings. Use professors’ web pages to look out for lecture postings, study groups, and practice test opportunities. Almost every instructor nowadays uses a website as a teaching tool. Also, look into your school’s resources. Many campuses have free tutor sessions, writing help centers, and student advisors for everything in between, all of which can be found on campus or online.
Looking for helpful study tips or time management tools? Need to know which smartphone apps are best for achieving academic success? Follow the links and check out some of Harry’s other college blogs and be sure to follow @ACISpecBenefits on twitter to get the latest blogs and news from Harry and the rest of the ACI team!