Keys to College Success
(1996 Bar Charts, Inc.)
- Clear, concise notes are more effective than copious notes
- Instead of using a spiral, use a loose-leaf notebook divided into class sections
- Make all notes on loose-leaf paper. In an upper corner, title and date each sheet as you
- Rewrite and combine your old study and lecture notes into a new single set of notes or
outline. Use them as a replacement for your old notes in the loose-leaf binder.
- Sit near the front of the class to avoid distractions
- Be a good listener. Focus and concentrate on the main points of the lecture. Get them
down on paper. You'll put them into your own words later along with your study notes. Pay
attention to the instructor's clues as to what they consider important (usually what they
write on the blackboard is one clue).
- If there is something you don't understand, ASK!
- Immediately after a lecture, without looking at your notes, try to recall on a separate
paper as much as you can about what you have heard and learned. Then review your actual
lecture notes to confirm and/or supplement your memory.
- During your next study session, quickly recall again on paper what you learned. Then
review and reorganize your lecture notes in your own words.
- Repeat the recall process several times over several days to commit the new information
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DEALING WITH PROFESSORS AND TOUGH
- Go see your professors during their office hours posted on the door or on the
class syllabus. They have to sit there whether you show up or not, so take advantage of
- Don't be afraid to ask other students and professors for copies of old exams. The
questions may change, but the style and format usually remain the same.
- Make sure your professor knows your name. Putting a face with a name will be a
big help, especially if your grade in on the borderline.
- Problems with faculty should be handled honestly and calmly. Always try to remedy
conflicts with faculty members first. If the problem remains unresolved, seek advice from
your academic advisor as to which steps to take next.
- What irritates professors? 1. Sleeping in class....2. Not going to class...3. Not
being prepared for class...4. Not reading the syllabus...5. Lack of responsibility...6.
Excuses...7. Not meeting deadlines.
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- Learn to say no! Saying no to partying, movies, etc. does not make you a terrible
- Do not study for more than 2 hours at a time. Your brain really does shut down
and any studying you do after that point is just a waste of time.
- Use "waiting time" to study. Look over your notes while waiting for a
doctor's appointment, or at the laundromat while your clothes tumble dry. Chunks of time
that might otherwise be idle can help you to fit study time into your busy schedule.
- Create a master schedule. Use different colored ink or highlighters to separate
college-related tasks from personal and work responsibilities. Be sure to indicate
midterms, finals, project and research paper due dates, and other important events. Block
off times for studying, working, laundry, fun, etc. This will help you to keep from
feeling overwhelmed by all you will need to do.
- Prioritize! Make a daily list of what you need to study, prioritize and set times
for each item, and STICK TO IT!
- Use the 30-3-2 Schedule: a) Study for 30 minutes. b) Take a 3-minute
break (let the break be a time to think about other things). c) Go back to studying and
take an extra 2 minutes to mentally review what you have just read and do a quick
preview of what is coming up next.
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- Attend as many academic support activities and workshops as possible. The Learning
Center, Math Lab, Computer Lab, Peer Tutoring and Student Development Center offer free
services to help you be successful.
- STUDY! This may be obvious, but you would be surprised how many student don't bother.
- Study in a quiet place where you won't be interrupted by phone calls, siblings,
children, spouses, parents or significant others. Your study space should be comfortable
and be equipped with everything you will need (text and reference books, paper, pencils,
rulers, etc.). Studying on your bed is not a good idea (it's too easy to catch a few
winks). The library, study lounges or private rooms are ideal.
- Get rid of clutter. Clear your desk or table of all materials not related to what you
are currently studying.
- Tutoring is a GOOD thing! Get help early in the semester if you are registered in a
course in which you think might need help. Best part about it: it's FREE! Contact the
Peer Tutoring Coordinator at 381-1393, Elston Hall 400.
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- Set realistic goals (in writing) within a realistic timeframe.
- Goals should be specific and clear.
- Determine the purpose of your goals and their achievement benefits. Write them down next
to your goal.
- Set specific strategies for accomplishing each goal (in writing).
- Set target dates for self-evaluation of your progress.
- Periodically visualize your goal, as well as your strategies for accomplishing the goal.
- List potential obstacles to attaining the goal.
- List strategies for overcoming obstacles.
- Follow through on all strategies.
- A question to ask yourself: "Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices to
accomplish my goals?"
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CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
- Don't believe everything you see, read or hear. Decide for yourself what you are going
- Critical thinking is important in order to: 1) enhance common sense; 2) filter emotions;
3) categorize experiences; 4) select reference; 5) understand the "experts"; 6)
sort fact from opinion; and 7) learn to express yourself in a cogent and expressive
- Critical thinkers are: 1) socially attractive; 2) able to resist manipulation; 3)
able to overcome confusion; 4) able to perceive connections between subjects and events;
5) able to base judgments on evidence and facts; and 6) able to realize that the
"truth" is never simple--grey or foggy areas always exist.
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"I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD
- Class attendance really does correlate with your grade. GO TO CLASS!
- Communication is key--especially when dealing with professors, other college employees,
- Be on time for class. Walking in late distracts both the professor and other students,
and it is considered rude.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help.
- College is not a contest. You don't have to compete with anyone else for your grade.
Learn at your own pace and don't feel inferior if you don't understand something the first
- The bureaucracy of higher education is sometimes overwhelming. Stay calm, ask questions,
and be sure you know the name of the person with whom you are speaking.
- Support systems are essential for survival. Make friends. Join clubs. Get to know your
- Read what you are given. Read your mail.
- Don't take college policy advice from other students. Check your catalog for answers to
your questions. If you still don't understand, speak with your advisor.
- Join in all the activities you can. Finding a realistic balance between work, college,
family and fun is what will get you through.
- Don't be intimidated by faculty and staff. They are employed here to help you be
successful. Ask for help when you need it.
- Maintain a positive attitude, be a good listener, stick to your own convictions, and
strive past your dreams.
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REGISTRATION AND ADVISEMENT
- Academic advisement is essential! See your advisor on a regular basis to make
sure you are on track with your academic program, classes, etc.
- Pay attention to deadlines! If you miss one, it could cost you not just money but
grades as well (for example, drop/add, tuition payment, course withdrawal).
- Be sure to have your advisor sign every form dealing with course selection, dropping
classes, etc. You may need to defend a course selection when you apply for graduation or
you may need to prove you dropped a class.
- Save every grade report (a.k.a. report card).
- Keep a copy of your curriculum worksheet with your catalog, so that you can keep track
of the courses you've taken and which ones you'll need to register for.
- YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR EDUCATION! Don't rely on anyone to remind you that you
haven't taken a prerequisite or a required course. Stay on top of what you've taken and
what you still need.
- Select classes based on your academic capabilities. For example, if science is a
challenging academic area for you, don't take biology and chemistry in the same semester.
- Be very careful registering for summer classes. Remember that in the summer
session, you will be receiving 15 weeks' worth of information in an 8-week period. The
pace is fast and furious. Take a course you are sure you would do well in.
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- Remember that you will catch more flies with honey. The people who work in the financial
aid office are just like you and have feelings that get hurt when someone is rude. It's
understandable that money matters often cause students to get frustrated, annoyed or
angry, but taking it out of the financial aid staff is not only unfair, but it's not their
fault in the first place! Take a deep breath, and approach these folks with courtesy and
kindness. You'll find that they will be courteous and kind in return and will be very
happy to help you.
- Start early and be persistent. Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student
Aid) through the financial aid office as soon as you do your income taxes.
- Consider every possible source of educational funding and good money leads: the
Financial Aid office, your church, clubs and groups you and/or your parents belong to,
local civil and special interest organizations, scholarship resource books, honor
societies, the Internet (an excellent site: www.fastweb.com).
- Fill out forms completely and neatly. Include all required documentation.
- Pay attention to paying deadlines. Sometimes only a day or two can cost the classes for
which you've registered.
- Respond quickly to all requests for additional information and documentation.
- If you are awarded financial aid, be sure you know what guidelines you must maintain in
order to keep your award (for example, GPA, work status, etc.).
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PRACTICAL TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- YOU are in control of the education you receive--not your
professors, not your advisor, not your parents, not your spouse or children...YOU!
It is your responsibility to go to class regularly, complete your course requirements on
time, turn in financial aid forms before deadlines, set-up and keep appointments with your
advisor, get involved with clubs and activities, and take the required courses for your
curriculum. No one will call or send you a letter to remind you of what you need to do.
It's ALL up to you. Knowing this, you can take full credit for receiving the degree you've
worked so hard to earn.
- Learn your professors' names and meet your advisor as soon as possible. These people are
working here because they can and will help you...but you need to ask for
- "FX" is not just a cable TV station. It is the MOST AVOIDABLE grade you
could ever receive here. It stands for "failure due to inadequate attendance."
Even if you're doing very well in a course, a professor can still give you an
"FX" if your absences exceed the limit. So be sure to read your course outlines
carefully for each professor's attendance policy and keep track of your absences.
- Keep every form, letter or document from S.C.C.C. in a safe place. Find a box
with a lid and put in it: paid tuition bill, registration form and schedule, add/drop or
withdraw forms, financial aid award letter, evaluation of transferred college credits (if
you attended another college), textbook receipts, all quizzes, exams, papers, labs
(anything that has a grade on it), and all S.C.C.C. correspondence. If you think an error
has been made in calculating a final grade, or in whether you added, dropped or withdrew
from a class, you'll have the documentation to back up your argument.
- S.C.C.C. offers many student services, organizations and clubs to help make your college
experience a pleasant and memorable one. We are not mind-readers and will not call or
write to you to ask if you need anything. Take advantage of all that is available to
you...but you will need to come to us.
- "You can catch more flies with honey." You probably have heard this
before, but it's true--especially at S.C.C.C. There will be times when you'll be
frustrated about a class, an exam, a professor, a classmate, financial aid, whatever.
Remember that the people from whom you ask for help have feelings, too. So take a deep
breath and approach them as calmly as possible. You'll be amazed how much more willing
people are to help when they are treated kindly and with respect.
- "I didn't know I had to do that." "I didn't know I couldn't do
that." "Nobody told me..." These are NEVER good excuses in any
circumstance in college. Everything you need to know about attending here is in your
college catalog. Keep your catalog with your other college papers, and if you have a
question, look it up. People can (and sometimes do) make mistakes and may give you the
wrong information without meaning to. Remember who's in control of your education......
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