Four Ways to Win at College

Without a clear guide on how to successfully navigate its wilds, college will hit you with its best shot.

Image by succo from Pixabay

Image by succo from Pixabay

Listen to your teachers, follow directions, pay attention in class, learn something new today, make all A’s and pass…

…College has always been presented as an investment that will pay off in the end. It promises to render long term friends, social and professional networking opportunities, economic stability, diverse perspectives and the opportunity to develop soft skills. 

But who knows how to actually study for a class? Who knows how to read seven lengthy chapters for two classes, not even including additional readings for other classes? 

Reading this may trigger you–it does get better, though

It’s pretty clear that at some point the focus shifted from learning to graduate, to passing to graduate. As a result of this, some students cheat, what some may call “exploring their resources.” Those resources? Chegg, Quizzlet and the beloved Socratic. 

Natalie, a full time dual major student in business and English, also works part time off campus. At some point in her progression from freshman to senior, she noticed that her desire to learn had dwindled.

“I love to learn, but I felt that I didn’t have time to actually learn and retain the information with the deadlines and length of some chapter readings,” Natalie says. “Now I know that you don’t have to sacrifice yourself, work or truly learning by working smarter not harder.”

She suggests loading up your arsenal with these four bullets (wink).

1. Work smarter, not harder

If there are any questions present behind the chapter, you should review them to get an overall view on what portion of the material you should really hone in on.

  • Flip through each page to see what each page contains while keeping the questions in mind. 
  • Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph to get an understanding of what each paragraph entails. 
  • Annotate in the margins and/or on a separate sheet of paper to be an active reader.

2. Initial reading is not studying 

When reading any assigned material or textbook, active reading is essential. Active reading refers to a process of deliberately engaging with the ideas and information in a text and often transforming that information into notes or other artifacts that record one’s understanding of and response to the text. Simply reading the assigned readings is not studying. 

3. Manage your time wisely 

Be sure to look over the syllabi for each class so you can create a tentative schedule regarding what day you will dedicate for initial chapter readings and thorough study days.

4. Actively engage with the process

Its up to you to decide how you will apply yourself. Pace yourself and strive to become better than you were yesterday.

So before giving up or turning to the likes of ChatGPT, try out these tips to give yourself the upper hand on the battlefield of education.