How to do Well in College: A Guide to Making the Most of itBy Ernest Hamilton, UniversityHerald Reporter
My own experiences in college have led me to devise a list of things that I believe will help a struggling or worried individual in his or her college career. I have done well academically, but only because I have chosen to. During my high school years, I chose to pay less attention to my academics and more on other useless things. Although I do not recommend becoming a recluse who is cut off from society with his nose stuck in a book at all times, I write my essay about few ways in which one can easily and smoothly maintain a solid GPA.
Adapt to the Class
One thing I often find irritating is the fact that many students will not adapt their learning to the professor they are given. During my education, I have had teachers who were loud, shy, quiet, who did not know how to smile, who just wanted to shoot the breeze all class, and who truly wanted their students to succeed in life. Students will often develop a standard of a "good teacher" based upon a class which they enjoyed. But is the point of education to enjoy the class and get by with little to no effort? It is not. So my recommendation is when you get to that dreaded history class with the 100 year old teacher, do not be so quick to tune out and silently complain the entire hour. Sit back and listen. Adapt your own learning style to the professor you are given. Whether they are loud, old, quiet, rude, fun loving, or boring, do whatever you can to get something out of the class. You are in college to learn, and you have the opportunity to truly learn in every class you take. This will help you do well.
Learn to Allocate Time
Whether you take three, four, five, or even six classes, you will need to learn how to allocate your time accordingly to each class. My suggestion here is to make a list of the classes you are taking and post it on a wall in your room or wherever you live. A dry erase board works well. When a new assignment is given, add it to the board. When you complete it, erase it or mark through it. This will help you keep track of things you need to get done. As for time, it is helpful to also write down how long you think each assignment will take. Completing assignments in the time you set out to will require focus, so rid yourself of distractions. Another crucial thing to remember is that when you feel overburdened with homework, always try to complete what is due next. What is due next is always a priority because you have less time to complete it.
Get to Know Professors
Professors make a good deal of money for the most part. Make them work for it. Students can increase their grade significantly if they go discuss things with their teachers. If you do not understand something discussed in class, most all professors are more than willing to help you. Most are required to be in their office a minimum of ten hours a week anyway. They would be thrilled to get a visitor. The point of it all though is to get a better understanding of the material. Getting one on one help like this has proven immensely beneficial to me the last few years. You will not be laughed at, you will get a better grade. So do not ever be afraid to get to know your professors. They are their to teach you wisdom. You will get a whole lot more out of your education if you follow this one simple rule.
Learn How to Study
Most of us at one time or another have been sitting on the couch with an algebra book in our hand with a blank stare and little understanding. Looking at the material for a test will not help you study for it; nor will having the book sitting next to you as you watch TV. My intro to marketing teacher presented us with a way to study that has helped me with every class I have taken since. He suggested that when you have quite a few pages of material, the best thing you can do is study through reinforcement (at least that's what I call it). How do you do this? It is simple. Read page one of the notes. Be sure you understand it fully. Then, read page two. Be sure you understand it fully. Then, go back and REREAD page one and page two. Then, go to page three. Repeat this process until you finish the notes. Yes, it takes a little time. But by doing this you are reinforcing what you read by rereading it again and again. Eventually, you will get the point where when taking your exam, you can almost see in your head the page you read in your notes about each question. And no, it isn't cheating. It is the best way to study.
Break Out of Your Shell
You will be required to participate in quite a few classes. In order to do well, I suggest participating!! If you are a person who is very slow to raise a hand or speak in class, you will have to let that go. If you have a question, ask! If you have comment, speak it! Everyone around you is probably thinking the same thing anyway. Besides, when a class can get into a discussion and everyone breaks the silence and gets involved, the class becomes a much more enjoyable experience. The biggest way to overcome a fear of speaking in a class or in front of a group is to speak in front of a class or group. Once you realize how enjoyable speaking your mind in class is, you will want to do the same in every course you take.
Attitude is Everything
How many times have you gone to a class thinking, "Well here is 90 minutes of my life I will never get back."? Probably too many. Every class I ave ever done well in, I maintained an open mind and positive attitude. If you enter the classroom with the a bad attitude thinking about how badly you wish you were doing nearly anything else, you will not learn nor do well in that class. But, if you go to class with the mindset that you are going take something away from the time you spend there that day, you will. This is possibly the most effective, hidden tool to success in obtaining a college education. Our attitude reflects what kind of person we are. If you do not want to learn, you should not be in college. If you seek knowledge and wisdom, you will find it if you look for it. After all, what is college for? You are there to learn and benefit your own mind.
Adhering to the suggestions I have mentioned above will not guarantee you an A in every class you take. They will however, help ensure you are doing everything you can and trying your best to succeed. You do not have to be a person with no social life or spare time. You must simply learn to have the right mindset and adaptability in college. Remembering even a few of these tips will make your college life run a great deal smoother.