Mix large lecture classes (often in core subjects) in your first year with smaller courses in your major.  The smaller sections will be a preview of what to expect in your junior and senior years.  You don’t need to finish all core courses in your first two years.  However, don’t put off the math and composition requirements.

Attend class regularly and turn in assignments on time.  (If you do this, you will almost certainly pass the course.)  Remember the old cliché – “90% of winning is just a matter of showing up.”  Read the textbook as assigned.  Don’t depend on lectures to pull you through.

Learn to take concise lecture notes.  This is not a God-given skill, but must be learned.  Learn to identify the essential information in a course. 

Learn memorization tools.  Put key points on index cards and carry with you.  Try the medical school method of using acronyms (the Great Lakes = HOMES). Review course content at least THREE times – by the third pass you should have it.

Make up a master calendar for the semester.  List all exams and project due dates.  Identify study times each week and time to complete assigned projects.

Identify a quiet place to study outside your room.  The library is an ideal spot.  Get away from the noise and the many temptations to goof off in the residence halls.

Form a study group to review course content prior to quizzes and exams.  You may learn more in a group than working solo, and you’ll make some new friends in the process.

Leave enough time in writing term papers to make at least one revision.  The revised version will be much better than the first, but only if you leave enough time to accomplish this.  Few students do this, but it may improve your grade substantially.

Visit your professors in their offices at least once each semester.  Make up a question or issue if necessary, but make the visit.  Don’t be intimidated by this – most professors enjoy talking with students outside of class.

If you get in “over your head” in a course, see the professor or TA immediately – don’t put it off.  They can provide advice on getting back on track or locating tutoring assistance, if needed.

Get enough sleep.  Try taking quick 20-30 minute catnaps during the day in Lory. (doing this in class will not make a positive impression with faculty).

Remember that faculty and staff want you to succeed in college – and graduate.  One of the key things to acquire in college is learning how to learn.                            

-- Dr. Pete Seel, Dept. of Journalism and Tech. Comm.                      

pete.seel@colostate.edu