In the first article I wrote on How to Crush the College Experience, I told you about the mistakes that I made (hoping you won’t follow in my footsteps) and then I told you about the best advice I received while I was in school. Advice I wish I would’ve received much sooner.
As I was responding to the comments I was actually inspired to write a follow up post. To save you from unending scrolling, here is the comment:
Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think January 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm
I’ll never forget I ended up with a B instead of an A in Macroeconomics. The class was at 8:00 in the morning and I was doing too much partying and not enough sleeping. I never missed a session, but I decided to catch up on a little shut eye during class. I bombed one exam after going an entire semester of passing my other exams with scores in the high 90s. This taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t take 8:00 classes.
A big thank you to Shawanda for the inspiration. I had to read it a few times to figure out my feelings. Shawanda makes a very good point here. At first I thought Shawanda was going to wish she had received the advice I did. But instead, she went a different direction – and I’m glad she did.
“This taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t take 8:00 classes.” I thought she was going to blame the B on her not balancing her sleep, her study, and her party. But what caused her to receive a B wasn’t imbalance during the semester. Rather what caused it was poor preparation BEFORE the semester.
Do Your Homework
Doing your homework while you’re in a class is essential. To add, doing your homework before you ever step foot in the class is just as essential. Neglecting this preparation is a huge mistake college students make every semester.
When you’re planning out your class schedule for the upcoming semester, here are a few tips and things to consider:
Don’t Underrate Class Times
Too many college students are overconfident in their abilities and behaviors. “This semester I’m going to start waking up early and working out every day.” No you’re not. You’re going to sleep until noon and drink beer every day. Nice try though.
It’s important to be aware of this. The timing of your class could be the difference between an A and a B or a B and a C. Look at Shawanda’s example. The proof was in my experience as well. One semester I made the mistake of enrolling in an 8:00 AM course and a 9:30 AM course – back to back. I did horribly in both – especially when you compare it to my grades in classes that took place between 12-8pm. I aced all of them.
Carefully Select Your Teachers
Unless you are attending college online, you are surrounded with thousands of kids just like yourself that would be more than happy to share their personal experiences with you. Ask around to see which professors have a good reputation and which ones to steer clear from.
Schedule Classes With People You Know
This advice could be beneficial but also damaging. Don’t sign up for a class with a friend that you know will be a distraction. When I look back on my experience, there was a greater probability of attending class if I knew I would sit with someone I knew and could talk to. Not necessarily to carry on a conversation about the weekend, but to ask critical questions. What did he just say? When is that paper due? It’s also extremely nice to have a study buddy.
Look At Prior Grade Distributions
Most schools are required to publicly post grade distributions. Use this to your advantage. There are tools and resources at your disposal. If you can’t find the information you need on your college’s website, try checking a helpful site like such as Koofers or Course Hero. It’s pretty self explanatory but if you can’t figure it out when you get there, here’s a screen shot:
It will simply show you the professor’s name along with the average GPA among students in their classes. When you see that a Japanese course has an average GPA of 3.14 and a Communications course has an average of 2.83 – that’s a red flag.
The point of this article is to point out that there are a lot of external factors that go into how well you will perform in school. I realize some college students schedule all their courses before noon and they ace each one of them [Editors Note: This was me]. Congrats to them, but the average college student is going to comprehend more and be more attentive in the latter hours of the day.
If you’re still in school, try out these tips and let me know how they work out for you. If you’re no longer in school, don’t you wish you were?