Preparing for College

Six Steps to Success


If you want to succeed, you must attend every class-- not almost every class, EVERY class.

When you miss classes, you miss lectures, notes, class discussions, homework explanations, and assignments. You may also miss quizzes and even tests.

Getting copies of someone's notes isn't the same as going to class.


Use an assignment notebook or planner for every class and record each assignment.

Use three-ring binders for class notes to easily insert handouts, and if you miss a class, you can copy someone else's notes and insert them where they belong.

Keep important information (your instructor's office hours, the course syllabus, etc.) in the front of your notebook.

Back up all computer files.

Keep all of your returned papers, quizzes, and tests in the same binder with your lecture notes. 

Keep track of your grades for each class so there are no surprises at the end of the term. If you are unsure as to how you're doing in a class, talk to your instructor.

Make sure that you have a phone number or email address of at least one person in each class. If you are absent, you'll have someone you can contact to find out what you missed. It's also helpful when you have a question about an assignment or an upcoming test.

Maintain a neat and organized study space.


Time management is important for all college students.

Do not overextend yourself.
 If you feel that you're doing more than you can handle, make some changes that will make life easier.

Plan ahead, and don't put things off.

Be organized.

Make the most of your time.


Learn how to adapt to different professors and teaching styles. One professor may encourage discussions while another lectures and you take notes.

Be prepared for each class.
 Complete your assignments before class. Pay attention and focus.

Take care of yourself: Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.

Sit in front whenever possible.

Communicate with your instructors.
 Most instructors will give you their phone numbers, email address, and office hours. Contact them whenever you have a concern, problem, or question.

Be on time to class.
 Arrive early and don't leave early.

Participate in class.
 Show your professor you're interested in the course.


Tests usually cover material the instructor has presented in class. That's why you should have good classroom notes to study from.

Be an active listener.
 When you're actively listening in class, you're thinking about and trying to understand the information being presented.

Take notes to help you pay attention and stay focused.

Take notes that are easy to read.

  • Put the class name, date and page number at the top of each page of notes.
  • Write on only one side of your paper. 
  • Use a pencil or erasable pen to keep your notes neat.
  • Write on every other line. Your notes will be easier to read and you'll have space to add something later.

Go over your notes as soon as possible.
 Clarify anything that was confusing, and highlight important points.

Get the lecture notes if you are absent.
 When you miss a class, find out what you missed.


Find a good place to study where it's quiet, comfortable and there's no loud music, TV, and phone calls.

Find your learning style, what works best for you. Is it drawing pictures or diagrams, reading aloud, using flashcards or testing yourself with practice questions?

Organize your study time. If you have a lot to do, set priorities to make sure you have enough time for the things that are most important.

Know how to use a computer, word processing and spreadsheet programs, how to send and receive email, and how to do research on the Internet.

Youth In Care Corner

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