1. Get involved – and get to know people: Making connections and building a campus support system is essential. And you need to be on campus to do this – so spend time at John Jay. The more time you spend getting to know the college, the more comfortable you will be here. Take advantage of unique programs and educational opportunities, get involved in clubs and organizations, attend campus events, and even invite a classmate to meet after class to study or to grab something to eat.
2. Go to class – and participate: Class attendance really does affect your grade. Don’t assume that if you read the chapter, you will be prepared for exams and assignments. Professors don’t always follow the book, and portions of the exam may be based more on their lectures and class discussion than on the readings. Professors also sometimes make important announcements during class, and some professors have even been known to give exam tips during class.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – and don’t wait until it’s too late: Even if you’re not having difficulties in class, you should still make an appointment with one of the tutoring centers. The centers not only help you review class material, but they also offer workshops and opportunities to further develop the skills you already have. It is also important to communicate with your professor if you don’t fully understand something in class.
4. Go to see your professor – that’s why they have office hours: Your goal should be to attend the office hours of each of your professors during the first few weeks of the semester. Introducing yourself to your professor and attending office hours will let your professor know that you are serious about doing well in class.
5. Make a good impression: Impressions can be everything, especially at the beginning of a new class and before your professor actually gets to know you. The best way to show your professor that you want to be a good student is to be engaged and involved in class. Even if you are feeling nervous, frustrated, or are just having an “off” day in class, choosing a seat in the front of the class, sitting upright, staying awake and attentive, raising your hand, and coming prepared with notes and readings will tell your professor that you want to be there.
6. Get a calendar or planner - and use it: Time management is critical, and you alone are responsible for knowing and meeting deadlines. Create a schedule that involves classes, study time, campus activities, and work obligations.
7. Think about your future – early and often: Your future includes shorter-term plans, like course registration and choosing a major, as well as longer-term plans, like graduate education or career possibilities.
8. Take great notes: Great students take great notes. Anything the professor writes on the board is important. Develop good study habits by reviewing your notes each night and highlighting any questions you have or anything you need clarified. You can talk to your professor about these questions when you attend office hours.
9. Take responsibility: Going to class, doing your assignments, asking questions when you don’t understand something – it’s all up to you. Take an active role in your own education and learn to be your own advocate. Find a study spot that works for you, be proactive about using the resources on campus, and be the person who’s not afraid to speak up.
10. Prepare to challenge yourself – and be challenged: Being in college is an exciting time, but it can also be a big adjustment and there are likely to be times when you are feeling overwhelmed. It’s okay if you don’t know everything. Be open to new experiences as well as change. Now is your time to think critically about your assumptions about the world and to consider other points of view.