Vital Information for a Strong College Year

Ensure that you get vital information. Initiating effective communication is a great way to ignite a successful school year. A strong start with the right information can sustain your productivity, optimism, and direction throughout your coursework.

Give information:

1. Make room in your schedule for meet and greet events, such as open house or departmental socials. As a student, introduce yourself and let the teacher or professor know that you are looking forward to a great school year. A formal introduction at the start of the semester sends the first message to professors that you are engaged and ready for the journey ahead.

2. Give accurate contact information at the start of the year. The information should always include acute addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. It is important that faculty and staff know how to reach you with easily accessible information. This information allows faculty and staff to keep you informed of regular occurrences, new opportunities, or notify you in case of emergencies.

3. Ensure that teachers are aware of any identified needs and the accompanying medical or instructional plans. It’s better to proactively share pertinent information at the start of the year or semester, than to wait for a time later in the semester.

Get information:

1. Inquire abut hours of availability. Make sure you are aware of the days, times, and modes of access that your teacher has for extra assistance or meeting to discuss class concerns.

2. Take a close look at the syllabus/course description. Some students may store a syllabus away and forget to reference it later. However, being proactively aware, of the policies and procedures of a course, provides a student with a plan to pace their assignments and studying. Be sure to understand the homework and late work policies. Not that you plan to have late work, but sometimes illness and emergencies happen. It is best to know before hand how to proceed in a way that supports your goals. The course syllabus can be a guide to a strategic conversation with your teacher.

3. Find additional resources that may assist in the class. Often when asked, teachers and professors have extra resources in mind that they know will specifically assist you in your studies. These resources are not necessities, but it may be a supplemental book, study strategy, software, community association, or article that could assist in a successful college or class experience. If there is not a readily available answer, your teacher is guaranteed to keep you in mind if something useful becomes available later.

Be Observant:

1. Determine the teacher’s instructional style. Take notice of the routines of each of your teachers. Do they tend to give lessons in a lecture style with handouts or power point slides? Do they provide extra information with an expectation of consistent independent chapter reading? Once you have determined the instructional style of each teacher, you will know how to prepare, study, and ask for help or advice.

2. Find out the best way to gain clarity when confused (i.e.  after class, office hours, online forum) Teachers and students share the responsibility of student success. Be sure to do your part and assist the teacher in meeting your student needs. Do not settle for less from yourself or from the teacher. Plan ahead for strategic conversation and build partnerships that leverage you for success.

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