Advice for all college students

Came across this list of 7 things graduating high school seniors should know as they head off for college.  It’s a great list.  And I would not limit it at all to new college students.  Sadly, I know plenty of juniors and seniors who could use this advice.  Anyway, two in particular I really liked:

Every Class Counts

There is a lot of redundancy built into high school courses. Many classes go over what was done before, some classes are devoted to preparing for tests, and, once in a while, you don’t really do much at all.

In college, it’s different. Professors have only 30 or 40 lectures in which to cover the subject, so they try to make each class count. If you miss more than two or three lectures, you are likely to miss out on some content that will be difficult to fill in on your own.

Yep.  Actually, I had forgotten that fact about high school in comparison to college.  Presumably helps explain why some students don’t take attendance as seriously as they should.

But this final point I think is really important:

The Professor Would Like to Help You Succeed

Professors need not be distant figures whose only job is to give lectures in large auditoriums and spend the rest of their time doing research. In addition to those tasks, professors are also teachers, whose self-conception is often invested in whether students are doing well. They are often delighted to help students construct a paper or prepare for an exam. They also have office hours throughout the week so they may devote time to helping students.

Yes!  We want to help our students and we want them to do well.  I hate giving C’s and lower, especially to students I’ve come to know and like.  When students get poor grades, I sometimes feel that I have, at least in part, failed them.  I really want all my students (who actually care and try) to succeed.  It’s a shame that many students do not realize that my colleagues and I are actually on their side, not antagonists.  Of course, I think part of that lies on faculty, who really need to make sure that students appreciate this fact.

Anyway, the whole list of 7 is actually quite good (and short) so check it out.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Advice for all college students

  1. Alex says:

    While class attendance is true for some lectures, I didn’t think it was true for all. In one particular engineering class, I stopped going to the lecture when the professor, in one particularly bad day, failed to provide any information that wasn’t part of the pre-class reading or exercises, and answered four different (and not that complicated) questions with “Hmm, I don’t know.” I found that to be true of many of my intro classes.

    Sadly, there are very few consequences when classes like that happen.

    (Thankfully, I agree that this wasn’t true in any of my CHASS classes, nor was it true for any of my upper-level classes.)

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