Beginning the Semester

Its the beginning of the semester, so plan in order to get off to a good start. Arrive on time and arrive prepared.

In each of your courses, you will be provided with a syllabus or green sheet. This will give you a general sense of the course goals, books to purchase, grading scale, schedule of assignments, including readings, mid-terms and paper deadlines and due dates. WRITE IT DOWN. I suggest on both a wall calendar and a pocket organizer or planner, so you don't forgot. This will allow you to plan in advance for crunch time; for example, when you have paper and midterm on the same day.

It is your responsibility to remember important dates, not the instructor; so check regularly.

Buy your books right away. The course will not slow down because you are not prepared. If you cannot afford to buy them, check the campus library for books on reserve or in circulation. If not there, then check the local library. A library card is free!

Plan study times now, before the heavy load begins. Be strategic and honest about it. Take into account things that are unavoidable: babysitting, jobs, etc. Take into account the activities you enjoy, like working out or video games. If you know that you're going to spend Fridays with your friends, don't plan to study then. You're just setting yourself up for failure. Trade-off. If you're going to hang out on Fridays, then study on Saturday or maybe vary it from week to week. Studying is easier when it isn't the only thing you do. 

Also, don't discount small snatches of time. Maybe you're not ready to read for 90 minutes straight, so try 30 minutes between classes, instead of hanging in the cafeteria or wasting minutes on your cell phone. Those minutes do add up, if you use them consistently. 

Get the names and telephone numbers or email addresses of, at least, two classmates who will be able to provide you with notes in case of emergencies or absences. Don't take advantage. Remember that this is a trade-off and people are eager to assist you if you are reliable and trustworthy.  




It's the middle of the semester, so my advice to students is to plan NOW for finals. 

First, go to your instructors to find out where you stand and plan your year-end strategy. Visit during office hours or drop them a line via email. Ask where you need to improve, about missing work or extra credit (if you have to) and about your current grade.

Next, do any extra credit or complete any missing assignments now; don't wait until the last minute when final projects, papers or reports may be due and time will be limited.

Next, consider forming a study group, getting tutoring or getting a study partner for any class that might be causing you concern. There is still time to improve any grade that you have now, so don't give up.  There are some good websites which tell you how to form a study group and how to use it, so check it out.

End of Semester


Know when your finals are going to be held. It may differ from class time. Please don't assume.  

Think very seriously about the courses you will choose for next semester.

 Make an appointment with a counselor, especially if you want to transfer to a four-year college. Check in regularly, just to make sure you are enrolled in the right courses; check if any requirements have changed; and check on your progress towards graduation.

Ask your peers and ask detailed questions. 'Is this a hard instructor?' is relative question. What may be difficult to you, may not be to others. A better question is 'how many hours of reading did you do every week?' or 'how often were you assigned homework?' 

Go talk to the instructor. Most enjoy discussing their classes. If you're still too shy, check out their web pages, if they have one.

Good Luck!