College can be a stressful transition from high school. There are certain things I wished I knew entering college, but sometimes learning is an experience. Everyone functions differently, so some techniques, tips, and tricks work better for some people than others. This list, however, are the tips and advice that I’ve learned that I would like to pass down to those looking at college – or even presently in college.
Look for Used Edition Textbooks
Textbooks can be spendy, so any way that you can find to cut down on costs, that would be the most effective way to handle buying books. Typically, science and math books cost the most money, so if it’s possible to buy a used book or an older edition, that would be the route to go. If you buy a used book, sometimes there might already be some notes inside the pages. That can be helpful if you’re struggling in the course or looking for some extra insight into that subject. There’s absolutely no problem with buying a brand new book, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, that might not be the most effective option.
Ask Others about the Style of ProfessorsThis category is useful for any subject – especially a subject you might struggle with. Certain professors use certain methods of instruction for their classes. What works well for one person might not always work well for someone else, so it might be in your best interest to ask those you know how a particular professor likes to teach a subject. Sometimes it’s impossible to know for sure, but if you can learn the style or method of a professor you might be unsure of (and the person you ask, as well), that might help you take a class with a professor that you have a better chance of learning more from and performing at a higher level.
Prepare for Class
If you unsure of how college courses work, you typically have class 2-3 times per week and before each class, you are normally supposed to either read from your textbook and/or perform homework for the class. Class sessions are used to learn new information and discuss in more detail what you read or worked on prior to the class session. It will probably be in your best interest to spend time going over what you will be covering before that class starts. It sounds like common sense, but it really helps. Sometimes you might not be able to help it, in which you should still attend class to learn the material, but I’ve found that if I’m not prepared, I don’t learn it as well.
Don't Overload - Find a Balance
College is tougher than high school – it’s going to take time. One thing I did in high school (granted, it was a very small school) was extra-curricular activities. They were fun and all, but too much is not a good plan for success during college. Yes, extra-curricular activities are good to be involved in, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t take too many classes or become involved in too many other clubs or activities. That can lead to a lot of unwarranted stress – which could affect your performance in the classroom. Find what works best for you. If you’re struggling in a class, there are plenty of tutors and aids to assist you in getting the help you need to succeed.
Don't Wait to Register
This might seem like a no-brainer, but trust me, it’s gotten the best of me a few times. If you aren’t sure about what classes to take, talk to an advisor that can help you stay on track to graduate. If you wait until after your registration time to sign up for classes, there is a chance that you could miss out on the class altogether. Since registration times vary by your academic status (freshmen to seniors), if you wait to sign up, that class can get filled up by underclassmen.
You’re an Adult Now
Once you are in college, you are considered an adult. That means you won’t get in trouble (for the most part) for skipping class once in a while, or you might not get scolded for not paying attention in class. Conversely, no one will be there to make sure you get your homework done, so the responsibility completely falls onto you the student to make sure you are doing what you need to do in order to pass classes and get good grades. It’s not all bad, though. The professional relationship you build with a professor can sometimes lead to wonderful conversations, advice-seeking, and working relationships in the future. With most professors, they are normally happy to help you either understand subject material you’re struggling with or even say hi to even after you’ve finished taking their class or have since graduated.
College is supposed to be filled with fun experiences that can last a lifetime; I won’t deny that. At the same time, it’s important to stay focused on why you are at college (to get a degree and take away a wealth of knowledge, I hope). It won’t be easy. There will be times when the going will get tough, but universities and community colleges are set up with many options to help students get the necessary help they need to succeed. The list I created should hopefully provide some insight as to how college works and some interesting advice to help you through it at the very least. Thanks for reading!