Student Success Stories: Laura W.
Laura W.'s Academic Success Story
I made incredible changes from high school to college. I made very good grades in high school, and the material was not incredibly hard, I would take great notes, and study them the night before, but in college, could not always get by with that. I would say that my biggest change was reading the material assigned (I know actually opening the $200 book, who would have thought!) I would write, and re-write my notes, and most importantly STAY ORGANIZED! Once I knew a chapter, I moved on, I never skipped back and fourth.
My overall study method: I love notes. Although I would read the text books, my notes are what got me through. If you can become an amazing "note-taker," then you will be great. Just stay organized, learn short hand, and if you have a gap, look it up or ask the professor to help you out.
My test study method: Honestly, there are some tests you can just not study for. I h ad a marketing class based strictly on case studies, and our tests were about tools and strategies, not multiple choice, what's the definition of, etc... I had many different strategies. It really depended on the class, the professor, and the material. If it is a test of terms and definitions and how to questions, I would study literally the night before, and just commit them to memory. Other tests however, took a little more effort, really digging in to the material, and thinking of all the questions that could derive from it. Just remember, it's college, it's not supposed to be easy, and the first time you get a C don't freak out, its ok.
My time management secret: I love time management, it's my best quality, and honestly, I don't know how or why, it just comes naturally. I have been an athlete for years, so I am sure that it has a little to do with something, but I remember in middle school I would set my alarm to go to school, plan my outfit the night before, keep an agenda, it just is so much less stressful when your life is organized.
How I deal with multiple projects/tests: In college, prioritizing is key. Many times you will have multiple tests on the same day- you can try and sway your professor to changing the date, but you are just one person, most of the time, you will just have to take the tests the same day. I would suggest studying for the easier subjects first, if it is easy to you, that means you understand it, just refresh yourself, and then, make sure you spend plenty of time studying for the more difficult test. Projects are a little more complicated, because they involve more people then just yourself. Coordinating with their schedules is tough, especially because they are just like you and have other tests/projects going on. If you are organized, and want to make good grades, become a group leader. This way you can ensure how the project is run, and if it falls of course, you can get it back on track. this is a little off topic, but in an indirect way it effects the project greatly.
My overall study method: I know many people who break up their studying over several days, or even weeks, and I feel that is a great way to really learn the material and let it sink in. Being a collegiate athlete, however, I did not have the time to study all the subjects a little each night or each week. I still made good grades in college, and often times, studied the night before, or a couple nights before for a few hours each time. Looking back, I would have liked to study in small blocks, I feel like I could take a lot more from it, not just for tests, but to really learn the material.
How I've overcome an initial bad grade: Well, if it is [truly] UN-expected, I would review the test and see where I went wrong, if I understand my mistakes I just have to swallow my pride, and take it. However, if I do not agree with something, perhaps and eraser mark on the scantron, or my professor marked off for something that wasn't clear, I would schedule a meeting with my professor, and talk to them about it. See where I went wrong, and how I can do better. If you show your professors you care about your grades, and want to do better and learn, I honestly believe they take that in to consideration when making the final grade. Establishing that rapport with your professor, is the difference of a C+ to a B-.
How I succeed in team projects: Be a leader. If you can not be the assigned leader, still lead -- question your captain, help other members etc. Be sure to do your share of the work. Group projects are not just for a grade. The amount of group projects I have discussed in interviews, and even while working is incredible. Those "name a time when..." questions are meant for group project answers, and if you can say you were the leader, it just makes you stand out that much more.
DO NOT PICK ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS FOR GROUPS! its college-branch out! Meet new people, and your projects will be great, and creative. but mostly, if you have to have any serious conversations about the project, or everyone pulling their weight, it won't be so hard, since your best friend wont be in the group.
Here are my final words of wisdom for students who want to get better grades in college: Whether you are at a big, or small school, make every effort to be friends with your professors. Get them to know you. Not only will it help you get through class, or make a higher letter grade, but after graduation, they can help you find jobs, give you advice on life, and just be there for you.
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