Know your rights and responsibilities
– Every university is different and you need to be aware of the rules about deadlines and expected standards.
– Know where to get help if it is needed.
– Read and keep all course materials or student handbooks as this may be useful at a later date.
See the big picture
Plan your career in advance, there’s no more work waiting at the end of your course! Try to get involved in activities at the university that will make you stand out from other candidates striving for the same jobs.
Develop your essay writing skills.
– Sometimes there may be choices for the title of the essay, choose one that interests you or focused on while studying.
– Make sure you fully understand what is being asked of you. What does the title mean.
– If you don’t understand or don’t like what you have to write about then consult your lecturer, they are often more than happy to talk to you about it and may even find a way for you to write about the topic at hand in a way that excites you after all , that’s why they are paid!
– Start your research and writing early (it will be better in the long run!) That way if you have any concerns or problems, your lecturer has plenty of time to answer any questions.
– Plan it well. Introduce the main focus of the essay and in the new paragraphs explain and support each of the ideas you have.
– Complete your draft by focusing on ideas and content rather than grammar and spelling.
– After a break, go back to your work to see it again with a fresh look.
– Re project.
– Ask someone to watch it, like a friend or family member.
– Review your work in the light of any comments made.
– Finally correction of grammar and spelling errors.
– Always check that you have correctly referenced your work using the University guidelines. (They love to penalize for small mistakes!)
Learn to read
I know it sounds condescending, but how often do we actually take note of what we read? Those of us who are auditory or kinesthetic learners will sometimes have a harder time when it comes to the masses of written text that so often accompany college courses. There are ways we can enhance the reading process to help us interact with a text.
– Look at the headings and titles of the chapters you will read, before reading them. Scroll through the information that will help you ascertain the content of the text.
– Turn titles into questions, this will help you review important chapters to focus on (especially when it comes to writing essays!)
– Read a section of the text.
– Summarize what you read, out loud (especially helpful for those auditory learners!)
– Write in the margin, (use post-its if it’s not your textbook!)
– Continue with another section.
– When you’re done, review everything you’ve learned, out loud as you like.
– While many people rhyme certain things, another piece of advice I picked up in college is to whenever possible connect a small action to a particular idea or concept you learned, which might help you remember later.
– Review the chapter or reading section a week later to update.
Learn to take notes effectively
Taking good notes will help you to no end when it comes to writing essays or revising for exams. Note-taking not only helps you reflect on what you learned later, but it also helps you interact with what is being said during a lecture, thus making your learning during this time more efficient. Some universities have student support centers that offer help or guidance in taking notes. If your university offers flyers, they often sell out quickly or courses become sold out, so hurry!
– If there is a textbook to read related to the lesson, read it FIRST (it’s hard to find time for this, but it really makes a difference!)
– Always review the notes from previous lessons.
– While reading, list any questions that might be helpful to ask.
– Make sure you go to lessons prepared with a good notebook and a pen that you find easy to write with. There’s no point in trying to make notes on pieces of paper, you just won’t find them when you need them!
– Don’t try to write everything down, there won’t be time; focus on the main points and references provided for further research.
– Abbreviate where possible.
– Give yourself plenty of space, lecturers often jump from one idea to another, leaving space means you can squeeze in any little bit of information when it’s given.
– Read your notes as soon as you can, if you get other ideas from reflection or discussions with colleagues; add them where you have space.
– Where possible check someone else’s notes, did they pick up something you missed?
– Review your notes regularly to see how much you can remember.
Plan presentations well
Whether it’s a group or one-on-one presentation, planning is key:
– Organize main points and talk about them (by yourself) at length to see how much you know without pressuring yourself with an audience.
– Try to think of a question or statement that can be used immediately to engage your audience.
– Practice before introducing to friends.
– Try not to memorize the text, make it natural and ‘unrehearsed’.
– Time yourself, don’t go overboard, and try to keep it “short and snappy” to ensure you don’t lose your audience.
– Keep calm, make eye contact (this makes you look confident, even if you’re shaking in your boots!)
Manage your time
– While college is fun, remember that you are there to learn. Make sure you’re not too drunk for important lessons!
– Leave yourself plenty of time to study and play.
– Find a balance.
– Plan ahead; don’t leave anything to the last minute.
– Make sure that when you are studying for an exam or term paper you allow yourself enough time, by making sure there is time for study breaks.
Prepare for tests
– Don’t leave everything to the last minute – the “learn as you go” approach is much better.
– Where possible take a practical exam, think about what they might ask you to do.
– Plan during the exam, take a quick look at what is required and try to leave yourself enough time for each section.
– Answer the quick and easy questions first (they will give you easy grades). Return to the others when you have completed them. Anything that you find really difficult should be left until the end to avoid wasting time.
– For long essay questions, plan your answer in bullet point form, at least if you run out of time the marker can see what you were trying to achieve.
Ups and downs
Everyone has problems when they go to university. The important things to remember are:
– Know when to ask for help. Universities offer support to those in need, whatever the problem (money, stress, health, family problems, etc.)
– Don’t let problems persist. Talk to family and friends as soon as possible.
– If you feel that the situation you are in is affecting your studying, talk to your lecturer as soon as possible (especially before deadlines), he will often point you in the right direction.
Maintain a good balance between work, rest and play.
This is key to enjoying your time in college.