How to Choose Your College Classes

It’s that time of the year…. time to decide what classes to take this upcoming semester! It’s important to know how to pick your classes so you can graduate on time, and get the most out of your college experience and your money!  Here are a few tips to guide you in the process of choosing your classes.

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1. Start the process early.

Avoid the stress, and don’t wait until the last minute, or else… well, let’s just say, you may end up with one crazy schedule!

2. Check your graduation requirements.

Review your school’s course catalog. If you have already declared your major, choose some courses that fulfill general requirements in that area. If you have yet to declare a major, get your core requirements out of the way or pick some classes in subjects that spark your interest. Some classes require pre-requisites, therefore make sure you have met those requirements before enrolling.

3. Read RateMyProfessor reviews.

Head over to ratemyprofessor.com and read through the reviews.  You can’t always trust the reviews on this website, but they give you an insight of what the class/professor is like. If you have friends who have taken those professors before, ask them about the course workload and the experience they had in the class.

4. Balance the types of classes.

If you can avoid it, don’t take multiple classes that similar or with the same professor. Needless to say, it can get a little overwhelming studying for similar subjects throughout the semester. Variety will keep you sane!

5. Count your credits.

Be aware of how many credits your classes are and add them up, to ensure that you meet the full-time student requirements. You don’t want to be short a credit or two!

6. Create different schedule options.

Now that you have your list of classes you are interested in, it’s time to work them into a potential schedule. Here comes the really the tricky part, you will need to decide whether you want to take your classes in the morning, afternoon, or certain days of the week, especially if you currently have a job or are involved in any school activities. Create at least two different versions of schedules to consider. [Feel free to print out our handy Class Schedule Planner Grid to assist you build multiple schedules.]

7. Visit your advisor. 

I must admit, some advisors can be cluessless and useless, or definitely help you get your life together! If your advisor falls into the “helpful” category,  he/she will likely have advice about what they think works or doesn’t work and may even suggest classes you hadn’t even considered. If you feel like your advisor isn’t much help, try talking to a different advisor in your department.

8. Schedule as soon as possible.

Once you have your final draft, go sign up for your classes. You definitely don’t want to miss out enrolling in a class you MUST take this semester. Remember, classes have a limited seat capacity, therefore they can fill up very quick.

Best of luck this semester! 🙂

 

Only have 24 hours to study? How to make the most out of your study time!

In a pinch and need to study quickly? Here are the best tips we have to make the most of your study time!

 

Great testing/quizzing tools and tips:

  • Organize your notes!
    • Studies show you can recall information better if it is closely related.
  • Practice Elaborative Rehearsal
    • Uses meaning to help remember and store information.
  • Quizlet
    • An app which allows you to play quizzing games on your phone.
  • Good ol’ flashcards
    • You can have your friends and family quiz you!
    • Studies show that you learn the information more effectively when you teach it to others 😉
  • Kahoot
    • An app that is similar to quizlet, it allows you to create your own questions and gain points for every correct question. It is the perfect study game to play with friends!
  • YouTube
    • Watch YouTube videos for terms you struggle to understand.

 

 

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DID YOU KNOW THAT…

  • Testing yourself or practicing is much more effective for remembering information compared to repeatedly reading your notes.
  • Repeated studying influences a student to become overconfident and to falsely believe that they know more than they actually do
  • Using self-reference (information that is related to you) can help improve long-term memory
  • The Action Observation Effect states that memory is better for observed actions than for verbal statements (visual imagery).

 

Practicing with friends is a great way to study. Although, we do not recommend procrastinating, we hope these strategies help you do well!  Testing/practicing allows for better retention and it helps keep the information in your memory for longer.

Best Ways To Take Lecture Notes

Taking notes can be a daunting task, and it can be critical to passing a class. Here are the best tips we have for making the most of your note-taking.

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Before the Lecture:

Do your homework and reading assignments. This will reinforce your understanding of the previous lecture and prepare you for the upcoming lecture.

Check your syllabus to see what the next lecture will cover. Review the applicable sections in your textbook.

If the professor has provided lecture material prior to class, download and print. Give them a thorough read and use them to help you structure your notes before class.

Write down any questions you have from the homework, reading, or lecture materials to ask the professor in class.

Pick a seat which is front and center! This is doubly important for large lecture halls. You’ll be able to hear the professor better, your view of the presentation will be unobstructed, the professor will be able to hear your questions, and it makes a good impression.

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During the Lecture:

Your posture affects your focus, so sit up straight, toward the edge of the chair.

You will not have time to write down everything the professor says word-for-word. Instead, listen for introductory/transition words and phrases like “the following,” “in conclusion,” “most importantly,” “in addition,” “on the other hand,” “this means” etc.

Pay attention to any keywords, formulas, concepts,  etc., that you noted during the pre-lecture prep.

If the professor writes it on the board, underlines it or highlights it, speaks more slowly or loudly than usual, or repeats something, it’s probably important and should be included in your notes.

Ask questions! If the professor doesn’t make it easy to ask questions during the lecture, write them down and ask them after class.

 

After the Lecture:

As soon as possible after your class ended (no longer than 24 hours later) take time to do a thorough review of your notes, as well as organize and clarify them. The sooner you revise your notes, the better, especifically if the class is hard or covered a lot of information.

Rewrite your notes to be more legible and aesthetically pleasing. This will give you a preliminary review while also making your notes easier to understand.

Review your notes on a weekly basis. You may prefer to plan in advance the days and times you’ll do your reviews.