The problem with college classes, at least in some, is that as soon as you get used to a class it’s coming to a close. An accademic quarter is hardly any time at all. Having just found your groove, you’re in the midst of finals with a little more than a couple breaths too calm down before gathering your new books for the next set of classes.
So, how do you transition and prepare?
- Get to know your classes when you sign up for them.
Or at the very least, when you enter into your break between quarters. When the book list comes up, research the books, regardless of whether you are going to wait to purchase/rent them or not, and get to know the material. For example, I know that I am going into Math 99 next quarter and French 1. For Math 99, I will be finishing up the book I have had for the last two quarters, so doing the research through this will be easier, I simply have to go over the chapters I haven’t gone over yet, and perhaps gloss over the lessons I have had. While I don’t plan on getting my French materials just yet, it is easy for me to go online and find sites which will help familiarize me with the basics, such as regular verb conjugations, pronounciation, and some gramatical basics. Likewise, if I were going into Biology, I would look into the basics of a class and brush up on this ahead of time.
This allows the student to not feel as overwhelmed when entering into the class room, especially when a quarter goes at such a swift pace – even more so in comparison to a semester or full year in high school. Laying down a foundation, however thin will give you something to stand on instead of scrambling at the start of the quarter.
- Research Your Teachers
When you sign up for your classes you may already have a teacher in mind based on somethings you’ve heard from other students, or you might be going into the class blind. Either way, check out RateMyProfessor.com or other similar sites and see what students have to say.
If your school uses a Learning Management System, once your account has been updated and linked with your classes, more often than not your teacher will have posted the syllibus ahead of time on there. Use this and find out what your teacher expectes of their students so that you can mentally prepare for the class. This will also give you an idea as to what to study ahead of time.
- Learning Management System
Again, if your school puts to use a Learning Management System (for example, Whatcom Community College uses Canvas, though you can learn about other LMS’s Here), put it to use! Once your account has been updated for the quarter, those teachers which use it should have their information available to you. There should also be a list of other students which are attending the class as well. This is handy since you can see before hand if you have known classmates, which can help create a level of comfort ahead of time. Also, since your teachers’ information should be available, you can contact them ahead of time and ask what they feel would be a good step to enter the classroom prepared, as well as introduce yourself and let them know what you expect from the class, or what concerns you might have.
In my experience thus far, teachers will often ask you this at the beginning of the class so that they can better understand their students and ensure the mutual needs of teacher and student are met. However, by doing this ahead of time, you show eagerness, honesty, and maturity. Especially if you let them know ahead of time of dates you know you will be out of class.
- Eat Well
I know, that sounds random and tedious, but it’s true. Eating a diet rich in the right protiens, pleanty of leafy greens and omegas will help prepare and train the brain to be and keep focussed in the months ahead. For some this means learning to eat right entirely, but as far as your grades go, it is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself.
- Sleep Well
When considering a college student, the image of a sleepless kid pouring over books and paper in their dorm with a stale pot of coffee is conjured. However, by creating and maintaining a regular sleep schedule, your brain will absorb and retain more information and be better prepared for each day. You can read more about this in my article The Importance of Sleeping Restfully
These are just a couple things I have picked up along the way. As soon as I learn some new tricks, I’ll be sure to share them