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Preparing for college, part II

September 2, 2010 - Nikki Younk

Since school is starting back up again, I believe it’s time to release part II of my college advice column. To view part I, see my April 28, 2010 entry.

Remember, these tips are geared toward students who attend larger universities.

Ok, so you’re settled in with your new roommate(s), you have your class schedule, and you’ve familiarized yourself with the campus. What’s next?

- Go to class. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Most students will attend their first week of classes with no problem, but when homework and social obligations start to take their toll, sleeping in begins to be more attractive than getting up for a 9 a.m. Spanish course. Attendance is less an issue in college than it is in high school, so students are more likely to give in to slumber. Unfortunately, most exam material is lifted straight out of classes, not out of text books. If you miss a good note-taking session in class, you’re risking lower grades.

- Get familiar with your professor, teaching assistant, or graduate student instructor. There’s no need to go overboard and be the teacher’s pet; just don’t be the class enigma, either. Start a conversation after class or go to office hours. Instructors like to match a name on an exam with a face. Also, if you tell an instructor that you’re having trouble with a particular element of the class (for me, it was public speaking), he or she will likely be more lenient in grading.

- Wait to get a part-time job. Obviously, college students need money. Fortunately, college campuses and college towns usually have tons of seasonal jobs available. Just don’t jump in too soon. Wait a few weeks, or even the whole first semester. You don’t want to over stress yourself right away. You’re still acclimating to your new environment and schedule.

- Take advantage of student perks. A student ID card not only can get you into the campus gym for free, it might also get you a student discount at the local Jimmy John’s. Always, always, always ask about student discounts when you shop, visit museums, ride the bus, or go see a movie.



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