Tips for College Success
TIP#1 GO TO CLASS AND PARTICIPATE
You have to be there to learn, take notes, network with other students, and to develop a rapport with the professor. It is also critical that you participate in class discussions, answer questions when raised, and volunteer information relevant to the topic.
TIP#2 READ YOUR SYLLABUS, KEEP YOUR SYLLABUS, AND FOLLOW YOUR SYLLABUS
This information is generally handed out the first day of class or some professors have it listed electronically on Oncourse. Professors may go through it with detail but others expect you to read it on your own. In any case, you need to recognize that this document is like a contract between you and the professor and needs to be treated with the same degree of seriousness you would any other contract. This document is the backbone of the semester giving you valuable information about assignments, required reading materials, exam and homework schedule, the professor's office hours, and expectation of attendance and participation. If you misplace your original, ask for another.
TIP#3 TAKE NOTES
Very few people in the world have a photographic memory. You retain only about 10% of what you have heard after 24 hours if you don't use some method to refresh your memory. It takes time to learn efficient and effective note taking but practice will help greatly. A major part of good note taking is being able to adjust your style to that of the professor, being able to sift through what is important to learn and what is filler. As a general rule, what the professor writes on the board or represents through overheads is usually relevant to the key points. WRITE IT DOWN!
TIP#4 BE RESPONSIBLE
Being responsible covers a broad range of areas but most importantly includes taking the initiative to get the most out of class as you possibly can. If you should have to miss class then it is your responsibility to get with another student to catch up on notes. If you are having extenuating circumstances that are inhibiting your learning then it is your responsibility to talk with the professor and/or seek help through resources at the university.
TIP#5 ALWAYS TURN IN QUALITY WORK
This includes such things as following the instructions carefully, using appropriate grammar, punctuation, spelling, margin settings, and font size, stapling multiple pages, and using appropriate reference guidelines.
TIP#6 KNOW THE ROTATION OF COURSE OFFERINGS
Remember that every class required for your degree is not offered every semester. Some classes are offered only in the spring or only in the fall while other classes only rotate once every three or four semesters. Your academic advisor will assist in providing you with this information. The best idea is to develop a three or four year plan, depicting which classes you are going to take and when. Use your Campus Bulletin and refer to it often.
TIP#7 GET TO KNOW YOUR PROFESSORS AND ACADEMIC ADVISORS
Some of your classes will be very large. Consequently, if the only time your professors encounter you is in the classroom setting, they may not even get to know you by name. This can be problematic if you call them asking for some information, seeking a letter of reference for a job, or needing to talk with them about some extenuating circumstance from which you need special consideration. One of the best ways to get to know your professors is to stop by and visit with them during their office hours. Those times are usually listed on the course syllabus as well as being posted on the professor's door.
As a Criminal Justice major one of your professors will be assigned as your academic advisor. If you don't know who that person is, look on your OneStart account and your advisor should be listed or find out from one of the Criminal Justice support staff. As a freshman coming into the Criminal Justice program you will see an advisor prior to enrolling in any classes, then meet them once a semester to review your course standing and seek assistance for planning the next few semesters.
TIP#8 PARTICIPATE IN EXTRA CREDIT
Some professors will give you an opportunity to earn some extra points toward your grade. If at all possible, take advantage of this opportunity, even if you have been doing well in the class. It shows the professor that you are willing to go that extra mile and it helps to cushion your point standing for those unexpected situations that cause a loss of points.
TIP#9 FIND OUT HOW TO USE THE CAMPUS LIBRARY
Many of your Criminal Justice courses will require a research paper. It is critical that you learn how to access materials at the Schurz Library on campus. Every semester the library schedules training sessions to assist students new to the process. Take advantage of these.
TIP#10 KEEP COURSE EXAMS, HOMEWORK, AND ASSIGNMENTS THROUGHOUT YOUR UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE
As a Criminal Justice student you will find that the material from courses are frequently interrelated and the upper division courses frequently build from 100 and 200 level material. In order to refresh your memory as well as to integrate what you have learned in previous classes it is important that you have old materials on hand.
TIP#11 USE TIME MANAGEMENT
If ever there was a time to develop useful techniques for managing your time, now is it! Remember that effective time management is much more than writing a schedule, it is prioritizing your tasks, planning, organizing, and perhaps most importantly, learning when and how to say no. For more assistance in this area you can go to the Academic Center for Excellence on campus. Keep your personal information updated, keep informed of what is going on with your account, and check your email often at OneStart.
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