College Success Tips

Some of these tips will repeat things you've heard before, some will be new, but each of them will be just as important as ever. Trust us... these may not seem important and some maybe even common sense, but the faculty in IST guarantee that if you follow these tips you will have a much better chance of being successful, having a higher GPA, graduating, and landing opportunities outside of class — including internships and jobs.

  1. Go to class

    Go to class. It sounds simple, but being an adult and on your own, many students do not go to class thinking they can ask a friend what was covered and/or study the content on their own. The interactions with your classmates and professor in the classroom are very valuable and something that cannot be replaced if you miss class. Success starts in the classroom.

  2. Read your syllabi

    Read your syllabi. Just like going to class, this may sound simple, or at best, boring, but each professor packs an incredible amount of information in your course syllabus and each one is unique. Professors typically cover the syllabus in the first class, but there is no way that they can read every word or go in to depth on every policy, date, etc. found therein. Take some time, especially after this first week of class to read your syllabi and familiarize yourself with each class’ individual policies. Translate the due dates for items found in the syllabus on to an organizer, smart phone, paper-based calendar, etc. so that you will always know what is coming your way and that you can plan ahead.

  3. Take notes in class

    Take notes in class, either electronically or via the traditional method – pencil and paper. Most college classes will have so much information disseminated in a short amount of time that it will be impossible to understand or remember everything that was discussed. For some great tips on note taking, check out http://www.notetakinghelp.com/
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  4. Think before dropping a class

    Before you decide to drop a class, speak with your advisor to see how it will affect your graduation plans. Often times a course is offered once per year, or in some rare occurrences, once every other year. If that course is a prerequisite for other courses in your major, it may delay your graduation.
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  5. Read your required readings

    Read your required readings. Your professor will list on your syllabus any required, suggested, and optional readings for your course. Always read the required readings, preferably before the material is to be covered in lecture. By doing this, you can use the lectures to fill in the blanks or spots that may have been sticking points while reading your book. Do not wait until after the lecture or just before an exam, as that time spent in the classroom will have been lost because of lack of comprehension of what was being discussed from the first minute to the last. If you can, also pick up or browse the suggested readings list as these are meant to supplement and help you. If a professor does not list a suggested list, ask them for additional recommendations.
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  6. Talk to your professors

    Talk to your professors, especially if/when you are having trouble with content, assignments, or class in general. They have office hours for a reason.
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  7. Ask (intelligent) questions in class

    Take time in class to ask (intelligent) questions. Every single instructor should encourage questions in class. The big difference between learning in a classroom and learning from a book is the interactive element. Get all that you are paying for. Plus, it makes classes much more interesting.
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  8. Participate outside of classes

    Look for ways besides classes to make connections and develop experience. Many people will graduate with the same piece of paper as you, but what will make you stand out? Stand out!
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  9. Look for available resources

    While you are on campus, look around for resources that are available to you. There are more services (Writing Center, Tutoring Center, Lydna software training, etc) offered throughout Marshall's campus and in electronic form than could ever fit into an orientation seminar (even if you could remember them all afterwards). If you need help with something, look and ask around.
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  10. Schedule your classes ASAP

    With over 200 IST majors, it is difficult to fit everyone in to a schedule that they desire if you pass up your scheduled day to register. See your advisor before your scheduled day to register so that they can recommend important classes before they fill up. If you ever have a question about what your advisor in the College of Science recommends for you, please see your secondary advisor.
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  11. Don't fall into a post-break slump

    Coming back to school after a long break, especially when it's near the end of the semester, can be hard on some. It can also be a time when many may feel inclined to just relax and kick it in cruise mode — quite the opposite is true. This will be the time of the semester when many professors will begin to speed up and cram material that they wished they had already covered, but are behind on. Come back to class today refreshed from your break, but ready to kick it into high gear. Buckle down and work hard!
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  12. Finish strong

    When staring down the barrel of finals week, some of you may be calm and relaxed and some may be panicking. Either emotion is natural, depending on your personality. In either case, all that you can do at this point is to perform to the best of your abilities and finish the semester strong. Do not let down at this point.

    Concentrate where you know that the most effort is going to pay off in the end. Talk to your professors about concerns, issues, or perhaps what you need to do to achieve a particular level, but at the same time, do not beg for a grade. Grades are earned based on your performance. Grades are not given away.

    Most importantly, after you finish your finals, relax for a bit. For those of you who taking their last round of finals, congratulations, and we wish you the best. For those of you returning to us in the spring, take some time to enjoy friends and family during the time between semesters and come back ready to do it all again. For those who are taking their first round of finals, now you know what to expect. If you had a particular bad experience, do not let that dictate to you that this is college or that's just the way it is going to be, but instead learn from it. Even so, no one is being thrown out there and told to do it all alone. The faculty and staff of IST are here to help you succeed through college and into your career. If there is anything we can do for you, please let us know.
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Integrated Science & Technology • One John Marshall Drive • Morrow Library 116 • Huntington, WV 25755
isat@marshall.edu • (304) 696-6498