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College is a step up from HS: 16 Tips on doing well in College

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Replies to: College is a step up from HS: 16 Tips on doing well in College

  • ghorbanpourghorbanpour 1 replies0 threads New Member
    Thanks, great and usefull......

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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14378 replies103 threads Forum Champion
    Expanding #9:

    Analyze what you got wrong on a test.

    Is it because you never saw the material at all?

    Is it that you could recognize it, but not recall it?

    Is it because you did "basic" problems, but not those at the boundary conditions (e.g., if x=0 or x=infinity)

    Is it because you did simple problems but not ones that make you synthesize information from more than one area?

    Is it simple math mistakes?

    Is it speed?

    Is it that you are not doing enough different practice problems? So maybe in physics you did HW problems where you start at the ground, not moving, but on the test you are in the air or are already moving. Get books of practice problems.

    Is it that you did the minimal reading but did not do any of the recommended reading?

    Is it that you are having a hard time translating word problems into equations?

    Does your college have a studying center? Writing center? make use of those.
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5331 replies90 threads Senior Member
    edited January 2019
    Here are some more suggestions, purely from the instructor's perspective, that address how a college student should deal with certain factors that may arise. They may contrast with conduct that was acceptable in high school.

    That person whose class you are enrolled in is not a "teacher". That person is an "Instructor of Record" for the class. The instructor is not there to spoon feed you pre-digested material. Think of the instructor as a guide who will point you in the direction to learn but what is learned is up to you. Be an active scholar not a passive high schooler. Despite societal pressure for freshman year to look like grade 13, it isn't...yet.

    If you miss class for any reason, don't ask the instructor, "Did I miss anything?" You're likely to hear a sarcastic reply like, "Nah we were waiting for you".

    The instructor is probably (although not always) not correctly addressed with a prefix indicative of marital status or gender. It is always safest to address the instructor using the term Dr., unless otherwise instructed.

    When you miss class don't expect the instructor to review with you what you missed. How many times do you expect the instructor to deliver the same material? So plan in advance and get a peer's contact information (Hi. My name is Mike. I was wondering if we could exchange email addresses so if one of us is absent we can contact each other to find out..."). Then when absent, get notes from a peer.

    If you have an illness or other situation that keeps you from attending class, check the attendance policy on the course syllabus. Also check the university's attendance policy. Students routinely assume that unavoidable absences won't interfere with the student's grade or credit. In public high schools, the school is obligated to provide instruction to students who may have extended absences due to illness. That isn't true in college. Students who are absent for any reason are not in class for that session regardless of why that is the case. If attendance is required, it does not really matter why you are not attending, you simply are not attending. If the number of absences exceed that allowable, the grade and/or credit may be impacted. Yes you can be denied credit for a class you could not attend due to mono. Some instructors may assign an Incomplete and allow students to make up the work. But doing so often introduces further problems. Some instructors are unwilling to do so because it is hard to keep track of where students are regarding "catch up". Instructors are obligated to comply with their syllabus and university absentee policy. If you have a job and have exhausted your sick leave, you won't be paid-regardless of how badly the boss feels for you. If you are enrolled in a class and have exhausted your absences you may not get credit. Most universities allow withdrawals and academic leaves to address protracted absences. Know your school's policy.

    Don't ask for exceptions/extensions. Just don't. How did you feel the last time you shorted one or more of your classes (and suffered grade consequences for doing so) in an effort to meet a deadline for an assignment in another class only to find that peers were given extensions and ended up doing better on everything. It's a fairness issue.

    Don't ask the instructor what you can do to earn an "A" if your grade is not in the A range. That information is in the syllabus. And the syllabus is designed to ensure that everyone in the course has the same opportunities. If your grade isn't in the A range your grade won't be in the A range. As special as you are, requesting your own personal extra credit assignments to leap frog over peers is inappropriate.

    Don't ask, "Will it be on the test?" It does not matter. Hopefully your surgeon didn't skip the lecture on sutures just because it wasn't going to be on the test. Learn the material because you need to know it not because it will be on the test.

    Don't game tests, learn material. Advice about learning strategies to game tests is misguided. If you know the material you will do well on the test regardless of the test format. Many mediocre public colleges and even some private ones have become massive test taking training centers instead of being places students learn content/material. The goal is to become competent not to become test savvy.

    Yes these seem harsh. Yet there has been a drift in expectations at colleges-from conduct appropriate for college students to conduct more appropriate to middle school. It's time to elevate the university back to where it should be. That starts with setting certain expectations.

    edited January 2019
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5331 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Beware, I believe Cal Newport's book is more about gaming college than actually becoming a college student. Just my opinion. 60K a year is a lot to spend on gaming.
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14378 replies103 threads Forum Champion
    @lostaccount There is much in that book about how to plan out your studying and how to figure out how to pick a topic for a paper. how to work efficiently, how to take notes so I would not say it is about how to "game" college.
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14378 replies103 threads Forum Champion
    From a professor:

    "When I get a 4th year student from another discipline taking a 1st year lab they need to graduate, they follow instructions, hand things in on time, and get everything done with very little interaction with me. At open houses, the student volunteers (upper year students, mostly) advising potential students about how to succeed: "Go to all of your classes and do all of your assignments." SHOCKING!!!!!

    We're DOOMED if this gets out; our secret will be revealed!!!!"
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  • macarons30macarons30 8 replies0 threads New Member
    Wow this is amazing, thank you so much
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  • rickle1rickle1 2419 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Great Stuff!!!

    I love the message of treat this like a job. This is your full time job for four years. if you do well, you get promoted to your real job.

    There is a lot more free time in college (than HS). You'll only be in actual classes a few hours a day vs. 8am - 3pm in HS. You'll also have many more choices.You'll want to be involved in a few ECs that you enjoy. You may have a part time job. Studying will likely take 2x-4x actual class time (another big difference from HS). How you spend your time is key. It's all quite doable. Just get organized.

    Highly recommend using a planner and fill in blocks of time (classes, meetings, work out schedule, meals, intramural sports schedule, etc.) You'll find lots of empty blocks during the day where you can read a few chapters or write that essay. Homework doesn't need to all be done after dinner. If you're organized you can participate in several things, get all your work done without pulling all nighters.

    I learned this when I was a student. I missed a semester due to health reasons and was determined to graduate "on time" with my buddies. That meant taking 18-21 units per semester for two years. Essentially I made sure the hour between classes was used wisely. Usually I would have already put in 3 or 4 hours of study time before meeting up with friends for dinner. Never missed any parties. Had as much fun as everyone else. Was just laser focused during the day (key for me was not going back to the dorms until dinner).

    Recently heard an alum from S's school address newly admitted students at a local function. He shared the same message. He must have been better at it than me as he was a Rhodes Scholar.
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  • kayleenrkayleenr 7 replies0 threads New Member
    good information, thanks for sharing
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