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How To Survive College

Aug 18, 2007
Leaving the creature comforts of home and moving away to college is stressful and scary, both to new co-eds and parents. While these apprehensive feelings may be inevitable, anxieties will eventually pass, making way for a successful college career. Here are a few tips from a seasoned junior on keeping your head above water as a freshman.

In the classroom: College classes are drastically different from those in high school- more students and tons of challenging material. Taking neatly written notes is essential to surviving any college class. Also, sitting near the professor allows for increased comprehension (and, I've found, increased name to face recognition). Asking questions will also expand knowledge and familiarize professors with the student.

Staying after class or attending office hours takes minimal extra student effort, but may affect a professor's grading (in a good way!). It's also important to learn how to read a syllabus. Most syllabi list assignments with the date they are due, not the date assigned, something missed by many freshman. Use this schedule to submit assignments on time, as most professors will not remind you of upcoming due dates for homework.

Other simple rules to follow: arrive on time and turn off cell phones. Pesky annoyances such as these may affect grading negatively. Many professors also factor attendance into grades, so coming to class is a must. If you're sick or must go home for an emergency and miss a class, it is best to contact the professor ahead of time via phone or e-mail to let him or her know of the absence.

Hitting the books: Good study habits are the key if you want to make the Dean's list. Taking neat good notes in class will help make studying easier later, as will reviewing the notes an hour or so after the class and clarifying anything that may be confusing later. Outlining notes for studying is also helpful, as it gives the student a chance to not only read, but re-write the notes, facilitating memorization. This will also make studying more organized and thus easier.

Study in a quite place; in other words, leave that noisy dorm room! It may seem quiet at the time, but it could easily turn into a dance party or movie-fest any second. The library is usually best, but local coffee shops or quiet restaurants may offer a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. In my experience, places slightly off campus are better for studying as you there is no added distraction of running into a friend or classmate. It may also be helpful to find a good study partner from each class, someone who you can get along with but doesn't distract you from your chosen task.

When studying, it is best to study the hard stuff first because your brain is not yet tired. Later, when studying has become a little tiring taking a look at the "easy' stuff will be a nice break. Other breaks should be taken in long periods of studying so as not to "burn out"-it is best to take 10 minute breaks every hour or so when studying more than three hours. Finally, procrastination on assignments spells certain death when studying. Students should keep up on their assignments so work does not pile up right before on test or quiz.

Time management: College is a sweet taste of freedom as you begin to dictate your own schedules, which can lead to problems when time is not used productively. A wall calendar can help with time usage as due dates for upcoming assignments can be written down and in advance. Also, seeing a due date for a project, test or quiz that is coming up will allow the student to plan the days before accordingly.

Creating a weekly schedule for Monday through Friday will help keep you on task as well. At least two hours of homework time should be set aside nightly so you do not forget to take time to prepare for classes the next day. Also, watching TV can be a large distraction so try to pick one or two TV shows and try to stick to only watching these shows throughout the week rather than waste hours in front of the television.

Waking early and going to bed early can also be a challenge for many students, but this is important to college success. Although it may be tempting for students to stay up and chat with friends, they will regret this the next day when class time comes around!
About the Author
Charlotte Beulow is a contributing writer for Access My Library. AccessMyLibrary.com is a service of Thomson Gale. Best known for its accurate and authoritative reference content as well as its intelligent organization of full-text magazine and newspaper articles, the company creates and maintains more than 600 databases that are published online, in print, as eBooks and in microform. Visit Access My Library
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