Posted by: Allyson Hadwin | March 16, 2011

10 Tips for University Success

Ten tips for Succeeding in First Year

Written by First year students

1. Go to class!

This has nothing and everything to do with “how smart you are.” Anyone can learn from a textbook, no one can learn a whole textbook in one semester. You need class to help narrow down what the teacher wants you to focus on and learn. It also forces you to keep up with the course.

2. Introduce yourself to your professors at the beginning of the semester.

That way you know where to find them when you get stuck. Also if professors have met you and see you in lecture every week, they are more likely to remember you and be willing to help when you get stuck.

3. Treat university like a full time job.

If you do this, you make a study schedule, map out time constraints for each assignment, make study goals to make you make the most of my time, and still have time to schedule work.

4. Take time away for yourself.

Success at university is not solely based on the academics and books. Part of being successful is being happy and healthy. It’s sometimes hard to keep up with healthy eating and sleep patterns, there are times it will be impossible. Make sure you take time away for yourself – for personal well being.

5. Prepare questions before the lecture – Review notes after the lecture.

This does not need to take a long time but by the end of the term this will help. This includes, showing up early or on time, having proper materials (notebook, writing utensils, pre‐lecture notes, etc.) It is important to understand what the professor is discussing in his or her class.

6. Try all sorts of strategies & pay attention to the ones that work for you.

Do not despair if you do not do very well on your first few assignments or exams – it is really an adjustment period. It is an opportunity to adjust your strategies and try something new.

7. Use SMART strategies

When engaging in your studies, you should Select and focus on what is important, Monitor your understanding by ways such as explaining what you learned to a peer, Assemble and group ideas for you to remember, Rehearse and review, and Translate what you have learned into your own representations and frameworks.

8. Understand the material, know the jargon, and avoid memorizing.

Look at how and why a concept works rather than finding ways to solve it so if you need to apply a concept or change it around a little under various conditions, you are able to. As for jargon, the best way to understand it is to apply it regularly: use jargon often when you write about or talk about things related to that course.

9. For every hour in class/tutorial/lab spend 3 hours studying that material.

Now, this may seem like quite a lot, especially if you are taking several courses in one semester, but with this much commitment, one is nearly guaranteed above-average results.

10. Take everything one step at a time and don’t sweat the small stuff.

I had to get groceries and cook every meal for myself. I was in a new city, with no friends or relatives. I couldn’t find my way to my classes without a map, yet I was already behind in every one of them. I was overwhelmed, and ready to quit. After shedding a few tears and taking a few deep breaths, I realized everyone was in the same boat. I learned to just take it one step at a time and it all came together.


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