August 29, 2012 | | Leave a comment You need only take a look at your first syllabus to realize that college courses take a lot of work. Keeping track of assignments, exams, and lectures–times however many courses you’re taking–can feel like a logistical nightmare. But there are some simple guidelines you can follow to be successful in every course you take. As you’ll see in the list below, communication and prioritization are the watchwords here. On the other hand, letting things slip for even one day and isolating yourself will kill your grades. To help you get through this, we’ve provided these five tips to help you be a success in any college course you take: 1. Attend every lecture. The quickest way to take yourself out of the loop is to miss class. Class is where you get to know your instructor’s preferences and expectations and the things they will test you on. As much knowledge as there is in textbooks and other readings, ultimately your instructor will test you on what was discussed in class. So, as busy as you are, make sure you absolutely attend every lecture (except in the event of medical emergencies and the like). 2. Don’t get behind on homework. As discussed in our post on maximizing lecture time, homework exists to prepare students for the next lecture. So if you start getting backlogged on your homework, you won’t get anything out of lecture. This leads to you getting disconnected, discouraged, and disinterested in the course. On top of that, if doing one week’s worth of homework is tough, try doing three week’s worth in one week. Not fun. Save yourself the grief and get homework assignments done when they’re due. You will learn more and you will be much happier. 3. Participate in class. Once you’re all prepared and ready for lectures, participate. Make comments. Ask questions. Answer the instructor’s questions. You will gain favor with the instructor (always a good thing when it comes to your grade) and increase your quality of learning in the classroom. For more tips on making the most of classroom time, as mentioned earlier, see our lecture post. 4. Get friendly with the T.A./instructor. In addition to participating during lectures, take time before or after lectures or during other times to stop by and chat things up with your instructor and T.A. Having a friendly rapport with them can go a long way. Yes, your grade shouldn’t have anything to do with your personal relationship with an instructor or T.A. However, when it comes to getting answers to questions or help on an assignment, it certainly helps to already have an open line of communication with them. Realistically speaking, the way they grade your assignments will be affected in some degree by their overall impression of you. Like Michael Jackson said, “It’s human nature.” 5. Get help when you need it. Having an open line of communication with your instructor makes it a lot easier to get assistance when you start struggling. Unfortunately, many students clam up when they get behind or aren’t understanding certain concepts. Rather than seek help, they try to suffer through it alone and eventually settle for a terrible grade. There’s no shame in approaching your instructor for help. Mostly, they care about your learning and will try to help you figure out a solution. It’s sort of their job. If you ask for help early, they will have more ability to help. The longer you wait, the less they can help. What guidelines do you follow to be successful in your college classes? What things do you absolutely avoid? Share the goods in the comments below!