There is probably no period in your life where you have more choices, more free time and as wide a range of activities as when your in college. With this period of time also come high levels of responsibility. There is probably no period in your life where more significant changes will occur than those spent in college. College life is a total environment -- intellectual, social and physical. All aspects are interrelated and can contribute one to another. It is important to know how to use your time so you can enjoy a variety of activities each day.
Set goals for yourself. Every term you'll have to make choices about what classes to take, how hard you're going to study, what extra-curricular activities you'll participate in, and what friends to see. If you establish priorities for all of these, you will make better use of your energies and abilities.
Your attitude toward learning is going to be a key factor in determining whether or not you get the most out of college. Most professors agree that students who have the motivation, or desire, to learn will succeed. If you have the interest in acquiring knowledge, you will enjoy learning and will be willing, if not eager, to study. Don't get discouraged or anxious when you find some work difficult. College isn't meant to be easy. If it is, you've chosen courses below your capabilities. It is normal that some courses demand more perseverance and hard work than others. If, however, you are feeling continual pressure or anxiety about college, there are many resources available to help you. Seek advice from the college counseling center, or your instructors. Take advantage of tutoring services offered free of charge to students. Tutors have gone through many of the same courses you are taking, and may have good insight and advice.
Woody Allen once said that one of the most important things in life is to show up. A significant part of university structure is about classes and what occurs there. This may sound trite but GO TO CLASS. Some classes are boring, some professors are boring, and some classes are hard, some classes are at a time that you dont particularly like. By showing up you demonstrate your commitment to your goals of staying in and finishing college. Once you are there you might as well take notes, read the material and know when tests and quizzes are going to take place. Research on college students indicates that higher class attendance correlates with higher grades, earlier completion of degrees and simply staying at the university. . . . So, GO TO CLASS!
Be punctual for every class. Instructors often stress the most important things first. They also notice which students arrive late and might interpret this as lack of interest. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Instructors respect students who show an interest. Nearly all teachers set aside two or three hours a week for consultation. When there is not enough time in class to ask questions make an appointment.
You are totally responsible for your own time. In college your ability to manage your time well will greatly influence the grades you will earn. Learning how to budget your time carefully will be as important as budgeting your cash. Each weekday should include a balanced combination of activities: class, study, exercise, sleep, nutritious meals, personal chores and, perhaps, a job. Weekends, too, should be scheduled, with some study time built in.
Time should be included for study before and after each class -- even if it is only ten minutes. This will allow for the preparation and review needed for every class period. Before the class starts you'll want to look over your textbook underlining and the notes you have made on the assigned chapters. After class you will want to review your notes immediately so that you can clarify them if necessary.
At least two hours of study should be budgeted for each class hour. It is advisable to schedule part of this time shortly before the class begins. In this way you'll remember what you have been studying and will be prepared for class.
Force yourself to do the hardest work first. You'll be fresher and won't find fatigue and excuse for not undertaking the difficult subjects. You'll also be proud of yourself. Study periods should normally be one hour long, followed by a ten minute break. Your ability to concentrate will greatly affect your ability to learn.
Taft College 2002