21st Century Scholars > College Success Guide > Keys to Success in the College Classroom

Keys to Success in the College Classroom

Making the leap from high school to college is challenging. College classes are more rigorous and demand a higher level of thinking. But the biggest challenge students often face is the independence of college life and the expectations that come with it.

It’s up to you (and only you) to go to class, complete assignments, ask questions, and spend adequate time studying and learning class material. These tips will help you start on the right track.

Plan your path to graduation

At Indiana public colleges, students should now receive a “degree map” that outlines the courses they need to take each semester to graduate college on time. Ask your academic advisor about your degree map and use it to help you schedule your courses each semester.

Go to class

The flexibility in college sometimes makes it seem like skipping classis okay, but most classes have an attendance policy. Plus, professors often cover material in class lectures and discussions that is not in the reading, and it’s likely that this material will show up on exams and assignments.

Get to know your instructors

Your professors are there to help you succeed in class and in college overall. Introduce yourself; take advantage of office hours; say hello if you pass them on campus; and be an active, engaged participant in their classes.

Keep tabs on your syllabi

Most professors will provide a class syllabus — an overview of what topics will be covered during the course and a list of assignments, exams and due dates, as well as class policies. Use the syllabus to help you plan ahead for studying, completing assignments and preparing for exams. Complete reading assignments before class so you can participate in discussion and ask questions.

Seek help when you need it

If you find yourself struggling in a class, ask for help right away. Contact your professor to set up a meeting. Attend any review or help sessions your instructors offer. And most importantly, use your school’s academic support services — writing center, math resource center, tutors, etc. That’s why they’re there!

Manage your time outside of class

In college, you’ll spend much less time in class and more time studying than you did in high school. You must make the best use of those large chunks of time before, between and after classes. Dedicating time to studying every day should be a top priority.