You’re ready to start college and excited about pursuing your communications major, but you are worried about the rigors of college work. Although you would think they should be the same, learning in college is different from learning in high school. In high school, generally speaking, your teachers were still teaching you how to think critically, write coherently and read with purpose. By the time you get into college, your professors assume you have these skills.
Your professors may or may not take attendance, but you should plan to be there every day. The lectures contain critical information. Also, get to know a couple of people in each of your classes so in case you ever are absent, you can contact someone to gather the information you missed. Most professors also post information to a website, so take advantage of every opportunity to stay current.
College assignments tend to be of a broad scope. A book or report assigned on the first day of class may not be due until the last—without any reminders along the way. You may have only one test and one paper due all semester, so the few grades you make are critical for your long-term success.
It may seem that your professor leaves a lot of detail out of assignments, a challenge that you can handle in one of two ways. You can make an appointment with your professor to get a better understanding of the assignment or you can try to recognize the expectations based on the information you have been given. There is no wrong or right method—just what works for you.
If you have a professor who is difficult to understand, reading the lecture information (generally posted on the web) before you get to class will allow you to ask intelligent questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, even if no one else does. If your professors know you and know that you have been working, they are more likely to lean in your favor. On the other hand, if you’ve struggled all semester and never appeared at their door, they will likely have little sympathy for you.
Finally, there is a saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” In other words, to be truly successful and obtain that communications degree, it may be time to take a look at your patterns—if they aren’t working for you. Talk for minutes instead of hours on the phone, limit your time on the Internet, and have a set time to study each day.
10 Ways to Make Your Academic Life Easier
- Choose your class times wisely. If you are a night owl, an early-morning class is a bad idea.
- Know your professors’ names and speak to them when you see them.
- Always bring all of your materials to class, even if you don’t always use them.
- Hand in your assignments on time.
- Put on a good show! Even if you are almost asleep you can look like you’re listening.
- Avoid looking at your watch or phone and don’t text in class.
- Try to anticipate problems and talk to your professor ahead of time. Even the most honest excuse sounds lame when used at the last minute. Talk to your professor in private.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- If your room is noisy, consider studying in the library.
- Take advantage of the myriad of services offered to help students. Writing labs, math labs and tutoring are all in place to ensure your success.