I’m not quite sure how we got here, but it’s already mid September and the semester is picking up fast…your first tests are coming up (if they haven’t already happened), midterms are in two weeks, homecoming is as well, and our football team even won a game!
Regardless of how time suddenly flew by, I’m sure you’ve all been studying hard and trying to figure out what exactly your professors want from you. Luckily, I stumbled across this lovely blog post What College Professors wish Freshmen Knew and decided to tailor my own personal What Mis Professors want their students to know. 🙂
1. Read the Syllabus! Hopefully you still have it (yikes) and I’m assuming by now you’ve at least glanced at it whether it was the first day of class or to see that you had an assignment due…yesterday 😮 But the main point here is that many professors outline exactly what they are looking for from their students in this handy little packet. A lot of times professors will include the format of their exams, class attendance/participation procedures and the breakdown of where your grade comes from. Also, you should definitely copy down important dates of homework, papers, projects and exams into a planner so that things don’t sneak up on you (because they will anyway!)
2. Pick up on not-so-subtle hints. If a professor takes the time to go over something twice, provide a handout or provides an in-depth explanation, chances are you really really need to know it. If they took the time to write or discuss a “pet peeve” with the class, please try everything in your power to avoid it!
3. STUDY. Though I wish there was an easy way to just zap information into your brain in 3 seconds, studying takes time. A lot of time. While they are more than happy to help explain things, professors want you to put in the work that it takes to learn the material. Go to the library, sign up for tutoring, make color coded outlines, use 8 stacks of note cards- do whatever you need to do. As long as you can honestly say you are trying your best to study, professors will be more than willingly to assist you in anyway they can.
4. Come to Office Hours!! Professors are required to have them so they’re going to be sitting in their office during those times whether they want to be or not. If you’re confused by class material, have a question or just need further help they are more than willing to chat with you during their office hours. I have yet to meet a professor who discourages students from stopping by-most of the time they’ll even rearrange their schedules to meet with you! (perks of going to a small, friendly school!!)
5. Do not ask “Will this be on the exam?” While we all would love it if every teacher could just tell us the questions (and answers) that they’re going to put on the exam, we have to face the reality that it’s just not going to happen. 😦 Professors want you to know their material really well, whether or not it will appear on the test, and they want to know that you are getting something out of their class other than how to memorize answers.
With all this being said, don’t be afraid to approach a professor if you just really aren’t getting it. You definitely don’t want to be that student that waits until the day before a final to email your professor with a life altering plea to raise your grade “pretty please”. Get ahead and stay on top of your (academic) game 🙂