5 Things You Must Do for Every College Class

Female student studying in park

You deserve to get the most out of your college education. To do so, you should learn from all of your classes, pass your classes, and develop good study habits. The following are five things you should do for every class.

1. Set a goal
For each of your classes, decide on something you want to accomplish, and set a goal to do so. It’s kind of like having a New Year’s resolution for every course: I will get an A on a paper, I will participate more in class, I will improve my writing skills. Whatever you want to achieve—whether it be big or small—set a goal and focus on meeting it before the end of the semester.

2. Plan ahead 
Want to avoid cramming and all-nighters? Plan ahead! If you have a class syllabus, look at the assignments and due-dates, and figure out when you can get things done. Don’t let an essay, project, or quiz sneak up on you; look ahead so you can make a game plan. If you do this for every class, you’ll have a much easier time balancing your workloads and meeting deadlines.

3. Become a chronic note-taker
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll remember something specific that was said in class; it is actually pretty likely that you’ll forget it! When it comes time to study, you’ll definitely wish you had taken a minute to jot down some notes. That’s why it’s important to open your notebook at the start of every class, and be ready to take notes. Don’t just write in your notebook when your professor writes on the board. Be an active listener. This is a great study skill to have. Something that your professor says in class can always show up on a quiz or exam. An added bonus: you might be surprised to find that listening and taking notes throughout class can make the time pass faster.

4. Buddy up with your professors
If you’re falling behind in class, need guidance on an assignment, or just need a little help understanding the course material, it’s always best to talk to your professor. Some professors like using email to communicate (find out their personal preference), but it’s often best to take advantage of their office hours and meet in person. In addition to getting the help you need, seeking out your professor will show them that you take their class seriously. If you have a big class, it will help them to remember your name and face. And it’s always nice to get on a professor’s good side.

5. Attend class!
This one’s really important. All of the above tips are pretty much useless if you don’t actually go to class. Maybe you’re overtired or don’t want to deal with a class you find boring, but don’t give in to the temptation of skipping class! If your school or professor tells you the maximum number of classes you can miss that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to meet that number. If you get sick at some point, you’ll want to be able to take a day off without having to worry about your absence count.  Even if you have a big class where attendance isn’t taken, don’t feel like you can skip whenever you want. Think of your school’s tuition. Are you being charged per class? per credit? Do a little math and find out how much a single day of class costs, and you’ll understand why skipping class is a  big waste.