September 14, 2012
Fall is a season that represents change and transition. It is a season that brings about football, all-things pumpkin and a fresh school year. Students from third grade through doctorate studies are a few short weeks away from starting classes and heading back to college for another year.
For many, this isn’t just back to college but it is the start of a new journey. Students entering their first semester of college are entering a new atmosphere that, in many ways, will be foreign to them. For some, it means moving away from home and into a dormitory for the first time. Others are learning to find a schedule that will balance work, family life and classes as they prepare to return to college – perhaps even in an online setting.
What is most important to remember, for all students, is to be prepared for the unexpected and to adapt to the inevitable hurdles you will need to clear. For some, these hurdles probably are in the form of piles of toys in the living room.
Every student faces challenges during their time in school and those first few weeks back in college are often choc-full of new experiences that you may or may not be fully prepared for. Just bear in mind that there are people and resources available to you as student. Ensuring that you take the proper steps to take advantage of these resources will help to build success for new and returning students.
- Read your syllabus – You syllabus is your guide for each of your classes. Not only will it highlight key information for each class, they typically include information that can set expectations for each class. Due dates, attendance policies and expectations for assignments are all staples of a syllabus. So, before you use it as a canvas for your latest doodle, be sure you absorb the information it provides.
- Communicate with your instructors – Never be afraid to reach out to your instructors and do it early in class. While you don’t need to bring in an apple on the first day of class, introduce yourself. Make sure your instructor knows you and sees that you’re invested in the class. At some point you will have an assignment, paper or project that you’re unsure about. Perhaps there is a certain topic from a lecture or the textbook that you struggled to grasp. No matter what the issue may be, tell your instructor. They’re the expert on the subject matter you’re learning and will be able to give the most relevant answer and support to what you may be struggling with.
- Get to know your advisor – Your advisor is a big part of your academic team. They’re the person who is going to help you schedule your classes each semester. They’re also a phenomenal resource to utilize should you be having trouble in class. If you’re in a situation where you can’t just wrap your arms around something, reach out to them. Just as your instructors can lend a helping hand with a topic in class, your advisors can be just as helpful with big picture issues you may encounter.
- Read, read, read – Those textbooks aren’t just expensive doorstops. They’re significant learning tools that are guaranteed to have played a role in how your courses have been shaped. Read everything; between your lecture notes, textbooks and any additional sources your instructors will give you. When test time rolls around, you will be glad that you read anything and everything your instructor has provided to you.
About the Author:
Christopher Ostrander has been a part of the Admissions Department at Bryant & Stratton College Online since 2010. An avid hockey and lacrosse fan, Chris was also the sports editor of The Carroll News and the 2009 National Lacrosse League Team PR Representative of the Year.