Taking college courses, especially when you haven't been a student for some time, can be overwhelming! But you can do it! Taking college classes and following a plan for success can be rewarding, in addition to helping you enhance skills you need in the workforce. Although everyone is different in how they approach college coursework, a general strategy can help you stay on track.
1. Get into Blackboard to view your classes as soon as you can and READ the syllabus for each class! This will help you prepare for what will be expected weekly in each class throughout the semester.
2. Try to develop a routine to check your classes weekly online, if you do not meet with a class face-to-face. Commit to setting boundaries for yourself to invest in your academic efforts! If you are a totally-online student, try to find a place in your home or elsewhere so you can go to focus on your schoolwork regularly. Set aside time on a schedule as best you can to study and work on upcoming assignments, i.e. projects or tests.
3. Develop a support system! Reach out to your course instructor with questions. Find classmates to study with. Locate MCTC student services to help you when you are struggling, including library, tutoring, counseling, Student Support Services, and more. College employees are standing by to help you face any challenges you encounter in your academic journey! Be sure to download the KCTCS App to connect with other students, too.
4. Take care of yourself! (See the "Taking Time for Self-Care" page.) Try to follow a regular meal and sleep schedule - it's hard to focus on learning when you are hungry or tired! Each campus offers a snack pantry if you are in need (See MCTC SSS Services on the "Getting Involved on Campus" page in this guide for more information.)
5. Reward yourself! When you set a goal and achieve it, give yourself a treat even if it's something small or an experience. For example, if you study for 2 hours and stay focused, reward yourself with a walk or watch a television show you enjoy. Figure out what motivates you and use that for your personal incentive!
Watch this YouTube video to get some tips for taking notes in college! Read more below.
Why bother taking notes? There are several reasons! Taking notes helps you strengthen your listening and concentration skills to stay focused on the content being presented. Many people find that taking notes improves their memory of the content and provides a study guide to review for tests. Notes, if done accurately, are generally a reflection of what an instructor deems important for you to know. Notes can be done in different ways, such as writing with pen and paper, typing on a laptop or other device, or even on index cards for ease of study later. Below are some tips to help you improve your note-taking skills!
One tool many researchers use to organize their work is outlining. Outlines arrange the content of a research project in a hierarchical order and are often written or jotted down before writers begin actually writing. This tool can also help with brainstorming and writer's block. Below are some resources to help you use this tool to get your research project on track.
When reading or working on an assignment, you should conduct your research with a critical eye. As you read or view your research sources, consider not only the content provided by the writer(s) but its purpose and how it is written. Consider the who is the audience for which it was written and evaluate the supporting information provided by the author. Does the author use unbiased or emotionally-charged language? Learn to distinguish between fact and interpretation. Draw your own conclusions!
Critical readers tend to have the following traits: