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How to Crush Next Semester of College

  • 13th August 2018
  • Lauren Bachelder

Do you ever think, “Okay, Self, I’m going to be a BETTER STUDENT this semester,” only to find yourself scrambling around finals time for the grades that you want? As a senior at SMU, I’ve learned a few tricks to help deal with procrastination, sneaky due dates, and the general struggles of college. Here are some quick tips to start this semester off on the right foot:

  1. Know exactly what you’re getting yourself into!
    That art history class that you signed up for a few months ago may have seemed easy enough at the time, but what if the syllabus is hiding a 12-page research paper? During the week before classes start, read through all of your syllabi to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into! If the class no longer seems like the right fit, you may have time to switch your schedule. Not to mention, some professors hit the ground running, so it’s important to check your email and syllabi for textbooks, materials, assignments, or reading that’s due on the first day of class!
  2. Make a “survival sheet” during syllabus week!
    Syllabus week is all fun and games until you slack off and forget about that quiz during the second week of classes! Find thirty minutes during syllabus week to make a “survival sheet” that includes important due dates, absence/tardy policies, and late assignment procedures. First, go through each syllabus and write down due dates for quizzes, exams, projects, and papers. Having all of this crucial information on the same sheet of paper will help you plan ahead for especially busy weeks and ward off any surprises. It’s also important to understand your professors’ absence and late assignment policies. If you wake up with a cold, can you miss class without a doctor’s note? If you find yourself in a bind, will your professor accept a late paper? All of this crucial information could be found on your “survival sheet!” Keep this precious gem in a safe place, and take a picture with your phone so that you can reference your “survival sheet” frequently.
  3. Find study buddies ASAP!
    Myth: “To have a study buddy, I have to find time to physically meet another flaky college student at the library.” Reality: Taking 30 seconds to exchange numbers with one person from each of your classes may come in handy when the homework doesn’t make sense, when you need class notes after missing a day, or when you actually want someone to physically study with before a big exam.
  4. Seek out good study spots (and be honest with yourself about the bad ones)!
    When you try to set aside time to study but are distracted by your environment, you lose both valuable study time and time that you could have spent doing something you enjoy. When it’s time to study, hunker down, set time goals, and be efficient. If you know that you don’t study well in your dorm room or apartment but find a perfect nook in the library or a coffee shop, it’s worth the trip.

No matter how hard you work to start off the semester strong, some classes are just tough. For one-on-one tutoring with students from your university who are masters in their subject areas (and who may even know your specific professor), visit us at www.apollotutors.org, and click “Find my Tutor!” In 24 hours or less, our team will pair you with a tutor who can meet on your schedule, at whatever location is most convenient for you or over video chat.