Ah college. More subjects, bigger libraries, better lunch options, and so many class resources! Use the tips below to take advantage of the perks of college classes, and you’ll be on your way to mastering your courses in no time!
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1. Get to know your professors
You might only see your professor twice a week for class, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have a life outside of school! When you have a couple of minutes to spare after class, ask your professor about their research. Nothing makes professors happier than when a student takes an interest in their life’s work, and you might just learn something interesting. This will also make you feel more comfortable meeting with your professor one-on-one, like in their office hours. You might need a letter of recommendation down the road, too, and a professor can only write one of these if they know who you are!
2. Go to office hours
While it might seem scary at first to show up at your professor’s office hours, this is one of the best ways to clear up any questions you have about your classwork. If it is your first time, it is a good idea to have some questions prepared, and make sure that you arrive on time. If there are other students there, it’s nice to introduce yourself to them so that you can make new friends in the class and even be able to form study groups.
3. Talk to your TAs
TAs, or teaching assistants, are a huge part of college classes, especially large ones. TAs are normally graduate students or upper-level undergraduate students that know the content of your course very well. Since they are younger than professors, they are usually very approachable, too! Make use of your TA by scheduling meetings with them before big paper deadlines or exams, as they will likely be the ones grading your assignments, not your professors. Nailing down their expectations and letting them know that you really care about the class will certainly help put you in a better situation to get the grade that you want in your class.
4. Sign up for special opportunities
Oftentimes, professors will have special opportunities for their students. Maybe they will host lunches with students, or they might participate in university events where you can talk to them on a more personal level. Always be on the lookout for opportunities like this, as they’ll only lead to a valuable connection with your professor. And, if they’re willing to open up their schedule to students in this way, it is likely that they are super nice to begin with.
5. Go to class
This one sounds easy—but as 9 a.m. rolls around on Thursday morning and you’ve been swamped with tons of things all week, hitting snooze on your alarm clock can be tempting. If you go to class for every session, your professors are more likely to notice you. Being engaged, raising your hand, and actively participating will only bring you positive attention that can also help you understand the material better.
6. Check out available tutors
In addition to TAs, many classes have peer tutors that can help you go over material if you are struggling with a course. These tutors can help read over essays, practice foreign languages, or demonstrate a tricky math concept. Usually these tutors are free of charge, too! If you do not know if your class has any peer tutors, asking your TA or professor will usually lead you to the right spot.
7. Attend review sessions
Many courses hold review sessions before big exams or finals. While these review sessions can be long and daunting, especially if you have been studying for an exam for a few days, they can oftentimes be very helpful. Your professors and TAs write your exams, so hearing from them what they think to be the most important concepts will give you better insight into which concepts you should prioritize in your studying.
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about what your college classes can offer you, start early on using these resources. You will only thank yourself when it is finals week and you can relax after working so hard all semester. College is one of the rare times in your life when you will have loads of academic help, so you might as well use this to your advantage and get to know some really cool professors in the process.