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10 Simple Tips for Success in College Classrooms for a Homeschooler - by Anna Eileen

10 Simple Tips for Success in College Classrooms for a Homeschooler

College learning is a big adjustment. This is especially true for homeschoolers, who often have not been in a formal classroom environment.

It can seem like there are a lot of unwritten rules that everyone else knows. I’ve been there — and here’s what I learned from the transition.

1. Show up with time to spare.

A lot of times, students can lose points off their class grades for failing to show up on time. Plus, arriving to class early makes the class experience less stressful.

By arriving early, you can have time to set up your things and prepare yourself mentally for learning.

2. Ask questions.

Do not worry about “dumb” questions. I learn so much not just by asking questions myself, but by listening to other students’ questions.

If those students had been worried about sounding dumb, I would not have been able to learn from the professor’s response to their questions.

3. Read the textbook ahead of time.

This is so important because it is hard to follow a lecture if you have no idea what the teacher is saying.

On the flip side, it’s totally okay to be confused about some, if not most of the material before class. This happens to me sometimes, but even being familiar with some of the definitions in the chapter helps me follow the lecture, even if I did not understand the reading as a whole.

4. Take notes effectively.

Don’t stress about getting everything from the lecture down on paper. Instead, summarize what the professor says in your words.

I find that if I write down the information as I comprehend it, I understand the material so much better. If I need to look up something I missed, I can always go back later and find the information in the book.

In addition, teachers often make their powerpoint slides accessible to students online for later reference.

5. Review your notes soon after class.

I know that when I wait awhile to study what I have learned, I have already forgotten a good bit of the material.

6. Write down details about assignments carefully during class.

Unlike Seton, college professors often do not give out a detailed rubric of what they expect a completed assignment to look like. This makes it really important to write down all details about projects and papers before you leave the classroom.

I bring my planner with me to class, so that I can write down important information about assignments as well as when they are due.

Once, I neglected to do this, and it made it a lot harder to work on my paper since I did not know exactly what I should do.

7. Print off any assignments that are due well ahead of time.

One of my biggest anxieties about the transition to a classroom environment was that I would forget to turn in papers on time. I still check my folder about three times before going to class.

It was unusual for me to have to print off papers, since I always used Seton’s online grading system. My suggestion is to print off assignments and place them in your backpack as soon as you are completely finished working on them so that you do not have to worry about printer issues or forgetting.

8. Don’t goof off on your laptop or phone.

I see people doing this, and it is a terrible habit. Even if you do not think that particular subject matter is important, you still never know what will end up on a test.

More importantly, college isn’t just about getting good grades — it is about learning.

9. Bring the Basics

Bring the following items: a notebook or notebook paper, a pen, a pencil, and a folder/binder for handouts (make sure it has a pocket for non-hole-punched handouts.).

For some, this may go without saying, but for those like me, who honestly expected an elementary-school-style supply list, I hope this puts you ease!

10. Don’t worry that you will have a hard time adjusting to a classroom.

While some people will obviously have different experiences than others, my fellow former homeschoolers and I generally don’t have any trouble.

I hope this information is helpful. By knowing what to expect in a classroom, you will be able to show up confident and prepared for your first day of college.

About Anna Eileen

Anna Eileen

Anna Eileen is a member of the Seton Home Study School Class of 2014. She is currently a freshman nursing major at Aquinas College in Nashville, TN. When she is not studying, you can usually find her cycling, listening to music, or spending time with family and friends.

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