Planning for a Successful Start
Manage Your Time
Good time management is one major key to success in college. On the first day of class, you will receive a syllabus for each class that lists out the dates for every assignment and test. From there, you can identify your responsibilities and prioritize these by day and by week. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin to plan out your semester:
- Take care of the big tasks first. These are the ones that we tend to procrastinate the most. Break the big projects into smaller, more manageable steps and identify time every day to work on it.
- Develop a weekly routine. Carry a calendar and prepare realistic to-do lists. Sometimes seeing what is on your list can help you organize similar items together, which is a great time-saving technique.
- Manage distractions. Respect your time. Don’t waste it by giving in to distractions. If studying at home is too distracting, find a quiet alternative like the library, a coffee shop, an open classroom, or computer lab.
- Analyze and budget your time. Consider how you spend your time now and budget the necessary time to accomplish all of your tasks. Don’t forget to schedule time for adequate sleep and exercise.
Assessing your own learning style and developing a personal study system is an integral part of your success in college. Generally, for every one hour you spend in class, you should spend three hours studying for that class. The Academic Success Center services are valuable (and FREE!) resources for help with note-taking, determining your learning style, or developing study skills. Here are a few simple tips to get you started towards studying smart:
- Read the assigned material and previous week’s notes. This will prepare you to contribute in class and to ask questions.
- During the lecture, try to be an active listener. By asking questions or making comments for clarification, you will be more likely to understand and remember the material during an exam.
- Experiment with note-taking methods to find what works for you. After class, review your notes or use your book or a friend’s notes to fill in areas you may have missed. Type/rewrite and organize your notes if necessary.
- Stay current with the assigned readings and review your notes on a weekly basis. This will help you retain information across the semester and prevent late-night cramming before a test.