Coming into college, it is difficult to know what to expect from your classes. Will they be harder or easier than in high school? Are they more intense than AP courses or about the same? Each class you take has different standards, and every professor is looking for different things in your work. However, while every major is different, there are some basic things that every college freshman should know about college classes and how to perform to the best of your ability while balancing every other aspect of college life.
One of the best pieces of advice that nearly every college student can attest to is this: go to your professor's office hours.
Your first week of classes, commonly known as syllabus week, your professors will outline the course expectations, what materials you will need, and their office hours. They may say that if you have any questions about a homework assignment, or are struggling with a concept, to attend their office hours and they will do the best of their ability to help. While this varies from instructor to instructor, what many of them do not tell you is that going to their office hours more than once shows that you are invested in your academic success in the class and that you care about whether or not you understand the material rather than just attending the class for the participation requirement. Because many of your classes freshman year may be over 100 students, going to your professor's office hours can help them remember who you are, and put a face to the name on their grading sheet.
Stay on top of all due dates!
With clubs, extracurriculars, and every other part of your freshman year taking up space in your mind, forgetting when a Canvas or Blackboard deadline is can actually happen. By keeping an agenda and writing out all of the due dates for the next month or using the calendar or notes app on your phone, you can ensure that you get your work done on time!
Do every bonus or extra credit opportunity.
Throughout the year, many professors will announce optional assignments for extra credit or bonus points to be applied to either your overall grade or an exam grade. One of my professors my freshman year opened my eyes to something, and as a result, I have done every single extra credit assignment in every one of my classes. At the end of the semester, when your grade is on the border between an A and a B, or a B and a C, every single point counts. By doing those small extra credit assignments earlier in the semester, you can potentially save yourself from missing out on a higher grade by a few points. Some professors are open to bumping your grade, but not all are, so by doing extra credit when it is assigned, you can keep that high grade!
Give yourself at least a week before an exam to study.
Yes, this one is not easy by any means. Last minute plans, other obligations, other exams to study for, or an essay to finish can delay when you start studying. However, the more time you give yourself to study and look over the information, the better your chances are of doing well on your exam. By being prepared, you can save yourself the stress of cramming the night — or the morning — before.
Turn off your phone whenever you need to get work done.
One of the best tips, and one of the most difficult to actually do. Going on your phone can be a good mental break for when you've been focusing on your actual work for a lengthy amount of time. However, this can lead to mindlessly scrolling and procrastinating even more. Try making your breaks from studying talking to a friend, or taking a short walk around the library.
Your test scores do not in any way, shape, or form define you, and one bad grade will not make or break your GPA.
Make sure that you are maintaining a good balance between school and social life because while college is centered around your schoolwork, it is not the only thing that you should worry about! Work hard, yes, but don't forget to have fun. Happy studying!