By Lee Norwood
1. Your Attendance
The easy peasy way to ensure success is to show up for class and sit in the front. This will help with focus! Your attendance is a strong predictor of future success. And at the cost per credit hour you are paying…it makes sense to maximize your time.
2. Follow the Syllabus
The first day of class is usually the day you receive your class syllabus. It contains important information that you need to succeed in that class; required textbook(s), course policies (suchas attendance), schedule of assignments and their deadlines, contact information for the professor and his/her office hours, etc. If the expectations from your professor are not clear, please ask. It will be up to you get it right; and everyone wants to help a student who seeks to be successful.
3. Professor Access
Professors do a lot more than teach. They conduct research, write articles and books, speak at conferences, facilitate workshops, etc. This is why professors are not always on campus and why they schedule office hours when they are available to students. Professor/TA’s hours are either included in the course syllabus or are posted on the professor’s office door. If you need a more specific one-on-one appointment, just ask and include when you would like to meet and the reason for your request. Professors can have a huge impact on your careers and life. Connecting with them can lead to amazing research opportunities, internships, and even job offers. My son found his first great job through a professor.
4. Class Choices
Each semester you will have the responsibility of choosing courses to fulfill your graduation requirements. This can be quite fun because there are usually several unique, quirky and interesting options available within general education (a.k.a. core) requirements. As you move through your curriculum, many classes are required and must be taken in sequence: 201 before 202 before 301 etc. Although it seems logical to forge forward on a certain track, there may be other considerations such as the opportunity to take a special class with an awesome professor that begs the opportunity to veer off course. Be flexible! Broaden your horizons.
When you need assistance with scheduling classes or staying on track with your major, talk with your advisor. Advisors know the system and can be very insightful! We want you to graduate on time and working with an advisor will help.
5. Registration and Procrastination
Register early! Classes fill up. Colleges may provide a few days for registration, but don’t procrastinate. Be prepared so when registration opens, you’re ready to grab the classes and the schedule you desire. If you chose getting a Starbucks and hanging out with friends before heading back to your dorm to log in when registration opens, then you are not allowed to grumble when one of the classes you wanted filled up in less time than it took your barista to make your half-skim, half-soy, no foam latte.