Making the grade

For many students, the transition into college is not an easy task. There is so much to do and so many choices to make that some students get a little overwhelmed. Not only do students

For many students, the transition into college is not an easy task. There is so much to do and so many choices to make that some students get a little overwhelmed. Not only do students have to deal with the course workload, but they also have to adjust to their new freedom. Since there are no parents around it is up to the students to stay on top of their studies in order to receive good grades.

Planning is key.

One way to start off the semester is by organizing your coursework. Read over the syllabus and make a note of all assignments. Get a weekly planner to keep track of all assignments as they are assigned.

Once classes are underway figure out how much time you need to set aside for studying and completing homework. For some, this could mean anywhere from two to six hours per course. When working on assignments, give yourself extra time just in case something unexpected happens. Do not get in the habit of waiting around until the last minute to do your work. Get a head start and avoid procrastination.

It is important to keep up with the reading assignments and attend classes prepared. In many classes you may find that attendance is not taken on a consistent basis, nevertheless, attending classes daily is essential to avoid falling behind. Many professors expect students to keep track of and complete the readings and other assignments, often with few or no reminders.

Try to get in the habit of looking over notes directly after class if time permits. This is helpful because the information is still fresh in your mind. Try to join or start study groups whenever possible to exchange ideas. It is also good to choose a quiet place to study. Do not cram or stay up all night reviewing material; you will end up too tired in the morning to focus.

“I’ve found that making flash cards and having friends test me is a good study technique,” said sophomore Jason Reynolds.

Seek help, stat.

Students should let their teachers know when they are having problems grasping the material. The instructor’s primary job is to help the students not fail them.

“Asking questions is the key,” said junior Jamie Cusack. “I use to question everything and even though I was not doing so good in the beginning, I did complete all my assignments. I learned that getting a failing grade was better than getting a zero and not attempting the work at all. My teachers saw that I was trying and I eventually got the hang of it.”

If talking to the professor is not enough, there are other resources available. Students experiencing trouble with math or science should seek help at the Math & Science Resource Center located in Curtis Hall, Room 18. Tutors are available to assist students with a range of lower-level courses. No appointments are necessary. Students simply walk in and are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sessions lasts about 20 minutes and students are welcome to stay and continue to work on assignments just in case they have some additional questions.

“Students should come in prepared to tell us the specific areas they are having trouble with,” said Janelle Hesse, one of the supervisors at MSRC. “Our tutors are like study buddies for the students. We work together to solve the problems and supplement the coursework, not do it for you.”

In addition, the MSRC computer lab in located across the hall in room 17 and students can borrow math and science books for their designated class or use calculators for 2 hours at time. Internet access is also available.

Students who need help with any type of paper should visit the Writing Center in Tuttleman Room 201. The tutors help with everything from paper revisions to citing guidelines. There are both reference and IH books available to students, as well as two computer labs. Students can only be seen twice a week by a tutor, either for a 30-minute walk-in session or a 1-hour appointment. E-mail tutoring sessions are also available but are limited to10 per semester. According to Dan Gallagher, office coordinator, “Students are only allowed to make one appointment per week, and we prefer that you do as much work on your own as possible.” If you are stuck, tutors suggest that you at least try to brainstorm some ideas or do an outline.

Remember to breathe.

Aside from studying, students need to remember to take time to relax. Too much studying can leave you feeling strained. Students feeling stressed about classes or having anxiety are more than welcome to visit Tuttleman Counseling Service located in Sullivan Hall, lower level. Private counselors are available daily between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to speak with students about any problems they are having. All information is kept confidential.

While academics should be the main priority, students should not be completely consumed with coursework. “An ‘A’ student is well-rounded and involved in all sorts of learning at the university – not just the kind that takes place in the classroom,” said SCAT Professor Darling Wolf. “It’s a student who not only studies so he/she can do well on a test, but who understands the long-term value of learning the course material and continues to apply it after the class has ended.”

Danean Nixon can be reached at

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