Gearing up for the Course Challenge

Now that you’ve picked your major, there are steps you should take before and after your classes begin.

Preparing yourself before classes start will help you feel more organized and ready to tackle your school work.

We’ll look at the wisest uses of your time both in class and in your downtime. If you follow these tips, you’ll have no problem excelling in your coursework!

Be Smart About Scheduling Classes

As an incoming freshman, it’s going to take some time to learn the ropes of creating the ideal class schedule.

You may get tempted to tackle the most difficult classes right away, but it may backfire. If you can’t keep up with the daunting courses, you might receive poor grades and experience burnout.

Instead, here are some tips so you can create a balanced and more doable workload:

  1. Review your graduation requirements with academic advisors. They’ll outline the requirements for your major as well as provide advice on other electives to consider.
  2. After you know the requirements for your major, select other courses that will balance out the most difficult ones. Do this, and you can excel in your challenging courses while still doing well in your easier classes.
  3. Whether you’re living on or off campus, make sure you have a transportation plan in place so that you will show up on time to your classes. It’s easy to underestimate how much time it takes to get to school and walk to class.
  4. Don’t schedule classes too close to one another. Even small campuses take a long time to walk. You don’t want to be late and out of breath when you have to dash across campus because your last class went too long. You might be tempted to skip and may miss something important!

Drop Classes Before the Deadline

If you enroll in a class that turns out to be a lot more difficult than you anticipated for your freshman year, you may want to consider dropping it. But, before dropping the course make sure you’ll still have enough required credit hours so you won’t lose your scholarship (if you have one).

If you do decide to drop it, do it before the deadline so that you can still get a refund and also keep the class off of your transcript.

If you think dropping a class is a negative thing, remember, that dropping it now is better for your GPA than failing it or getting a poor grade.

Dropping a class may also improve your GPA because you’re allowing time to focus on other courses.

Do Some Reading in Advance

If you really want to get a head start on your first semester, get your course books and start reading during the summer.

When you sign up for classes, most professors will list the required class books on their syllabus. Purchase the books as soon as possible so you can start preparing yourself for the class work ahead.

Buying your books ahead of time and getting familiar with them will lighten your workload when classes start. Read your books ahead of time or at least look over them so you’ll have a basic understanding of what your classes will entail.

However, don’t get so wrapped up in reading and memorizing everything in your books that you forget to have some fun during the summer.

You’ll need some time to relax before your heavy coursework begins. Find a balance between having fun and preparing for school, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

Create a Study Schedule

Making a balanced class schedule is essential, but creating a study schedule is equally as important.

It’s common for college students to feel disorganized, especially new ones. But, you can be the organized student by staying on top of things and developing methods now to keep your head on straight throughout the school year.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Create a class and personal schedule, print it out, and put it somewhere you can see it on the wall in your dorm room. Also, keep a copy in your notebook or binder.
  • After mapping out your class schedule, set aside time in your personal calendar for homework and studying. For example, if you have a class at 9 AM and another class at 1 PM, assuming your 9 AM class is an hour long, study at the library from 10 AM to 12 PM. Then after your 1 PM class you can take a lunch break.
  • Speaking of breaks, it’s also vital to schedule breaks and downtime. It’s fun getting to know fellow students while at school. To enjoy college to the fullest, schedule some time to socialize when you’re not studying or attending classes. Also, take some time for yourself too!

Find a Study Buddy

When you’re attending classes, make it your goal to find someone that’s motivated to understand the coursework and excel. Introduce yourself and find out if they would like to meet for regular study sessions.

Having someone to hold you accountable will help you both maintain a study routine. It’s also nice having someone you can ask questions if you get stuck on an assignment or project.

Get to Know Your Professors

Professors are your biggest allies, which is why you should take the time to get to know them.

Don’t be shy about asking them questions and finding out what their expectations are in regards to the coursework. Most of the requirements should be outlined in your course syllabus, but it never hurts to ask for clarification.

To get acquainted with your professors, send an email to them when class begins. In the email introduce yourself and let them know why you are taking the course as well as what you’d like to get out of it.

Take part in class so that your professor can put a face to your name. Take advantage of their “office hours” if you need them to answer any questions.

Proactively planning for your first year in college will help you feel organized, prepared, and excited for the coming year. You may still experience some ups and downs, but do your best, and everything should fall into place.

At least now you have a good idea about how to stay on track and dominate your college courses. Good luck – you can do it!

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