Whether you are fresh out of high school or are starting college after a long absence, preparing yourself for the journey ahead will help you gain the most from the experience. Spend a few weeks developing a strategy to prepare yourself for the academic challenge.
Brush Up On Fundamental Concepts
When possible, you should consider spending a few weeks before the semester starts enrolling in college preparatory work. These courses may be offered through private organizations or by your college. The information typically involves reading, writing, and math, which can be useful even if you took a college placement test and did not need to enroll in remedial classes. Refreshing yourself on basic reading and writing concepts will make it easier to dive in to your classes.
Many classes do not have the time to help students with fundamental skills, such as writing a research paper, because they expect you to have acquired these skills. Refreshing your basic math skills can be important even if your placement test results allow you to enroll in high-level math, such as pre-calculus. Often times, students with advanced math skills make simple calculation errors because they rely too heavily on calculators or rush through basic calculations.
Develop Study Skills
Some colleges or college preparatory programs have a study skills course, which may be useful to help you learn about different study methods. It is important to not rely exclusively on established study methods because everyone learns differently. There are different tactics you can use to determine an appropriate study strategy. For example, even if you have not been in school for many years, when you are looking at information online, you might notice that you retain information better by reading the article than watching or listening to the video. This does not mean audio/video information is not valuable to your study habits, but it might be useful to reinforce the material, with you relying heavily on your textbook and notes.
You might notice it is difficult to take notes from lectures because writing notes as the professor is talking can be a distraction. Try taping lectures (with your professor's permission) and simply jot down main points and fill them in later while listing to the lecture. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you may find learning in the classroom is a challenge, whereas laboratories are easier. One way to help make learning easier is to find ways to make concepts tangible. Watching your professor work out a formula may mean little, until you work math problems out on your own numerous times. For science lectures, try to find ways to build models or watch animations of concepts.
Make Logical Scheduling Choices
Poor scheduling may be more of a problem if you a fresh out of high school and do not have work or family obligations. It may be tempting to enroll in 18 credit hours each semester so you can graduate a year early. For many students, this overzealous approach can lead to serious academic problems and emotional distress in your first semester. If you must take a full load of classes, try to balance out your schedule. You likely have an idea of which classes will be easier or harder for you based on your experience with certain subjects. Try to take two harder classes and two easier classes. If possible, try to find an old syllabus from the classes you plan to take. Just because the subject matter is easier for you does not mean the course structure is easy.
Treat an easier subject with many term papers like you would a course with harder material. Since most colleges have a specific date where you can make changes to your schedule without penalty, be prepared to make adjustments to you schedule if you realize you are taking too many challenging classes. One of the benefits of the college environment is that it is less structured. Take advantage of the array of course times whenever possible. If you know you have a problem waking up early, it makes little sense to take early-morning classes if you have other options. Try to choose classes at midday or early-afternoon, when your mind is more alert and you will learn more.
Being adequately prepared for college is more than knowledge; it often requires you to develop your own strategies for studying and building schedules that work best for your needs. Preparing for the journey ahead can improve your confidence and make college less stressful.Share
13 December 2016
After my children started school, I knew that I had to do something to improve their comprehension. I started slowly by working with them with their homework, and then I slowly gravitated towards working with them to master the core concepts they were learning in school. It was a lot of work, but my efforts really paid off. After about three months, my children's teachers were reporting improved grades and better mastery of most of the core concepts. This blog is here to help other parents to know how to improve their own child's education so that they can enjoy a happier life.