Practical advice for college students
Some practical advice for college students…
1. Attendance/Arriving late
You need to make every effort to attend every class session and arrive on time.
If you do arrive late, it is usually best to quietly enter the room, find a seat and sit down.
If your professor is lecturing when you arrive late, do not approach him or her, and announce “I’m here now!” This is really disruptive and rude. There will be time after the lecture to make sure they have you recorded on the attendance sheet.
Some professors have very specific rules about entering a class when you are late. When this is the case, they will generally let you know at the beginning of the semester.
Mostly, professors don’t want to hear an excuse for arriving late. Whatever the reason, you missed some information.
2. Lecture notes if you’re late or absent
Your professor carefully prepares his/her presentation for specific class periods, and cannot repeat a lecture for just one student.
It is usually not good form to ask the professor (either in person or on email) if you “missed anything” when late or absent. If you were not in class, of course you missed something!
A more appropriate question would be: “I’ve missed class, and need to catch up, could you give me some advice on how I might do that?”
Generally, you need to ask someone else in the class for a copy of their notes, and ask them for any specific assignments you have missed. Also, look at your syllabus. It will provide you with a map of what is happening in each class each day.
If a professor has a different policy concerning missed materials, they will let you know.
Remember: you are the one who missed class, and it is your responsibility to get caught up with the material.
3. If you miss an assignment or quiz or test
You are in college. This is not high school or junior high. It is your responsibility to keep up with everything going on in all your classes.
In my classes, I do not accept late projects. If you don’t turn in a project, you get no credit for it. There is no “makeup.”
Ask your professor about their policy on late work, if you don’t know. Some professors allow late work, but will give you fewer points on an assignment.
4. Don’t hesitate to ask questions
There are no stupid questions in my classes. There is no shame in not knowing something. That’s why you’re in college. (I’m betting that most of my colleagues feel the same way.)
If you have a question about something, chances are someone else might have the same question. Maybe your professor forgot to tell you something about an assignment, and everyone in the class is confused. Speak up! Ask questions when you don’t understand. This is a good skill to acquire and use. It will serve you well in college, as well as later in life.
5. Final Exams
Final exam week is always scheduled differently than the rest of the semester.
There will only be one meeting of the class during finals week, and the final may begin and end at a different time than the regular schedule.
To find out when your final exams are scheduled for your classes, you’ll need to look in the class schedule or the BC website at the “Finals Schedule.”
Most professors also put this information in their syllabi. You might want to put these dates on a calendar.
6. Lecture/lab versus lecture only…
Lecture/lab classes meet twice as long as classes which are lecture only.
This is true in the Art Department, as well as other departments (it’s true of lecture/lab courses at any college or university).
The class schedule lists these as separate items, but they are actually two parts of one class, and cannot be separated.
You will also notice a small break in the middle of the two parts. This allows for a 10 minute break, which we will take.
So — a 3 unit lecture/lab course (like Art B20) meets 6 hours a week, and a 3 unit lecture course (like Survey of Western Art I) meets 3 hours a week.
7. The buildings and the map
The buildings on this campus are marked clearly, but it is often difficult to find a classroom. Bakersfield College is not unique, many campuses are difficult to navigate.
Make sure to look at the map in the back of the class schedule (or the catalog) and the abbreviations usually match the names listed on your schedule. If not, ask someone! (see #3 above)
8. Office hours
All full-time professors are all required by law to post and keep office hours. If you’re having a problem in a class, seek out your professor during office hours and ask for help. It’s part of their job.
A few words on office etiquette:
• If you approach your professor’s office during office hours, and the door is open, and he/she is on the phone, it’s best to quietly wait until they are done with their conversation. It’s rude to just walk in and announce “I’m here and I need some help.”
• If you approach your professor’s office during office hours, and the door is closed, it’s perfectly fine to knock quietly to see if they are available.
Experts say that you should plan on 3 hours of preparation for every hour of lecture.
If you have a class which meets 3 hours per week, that is 9 hours of outside work.
Work outside of class work includes: reading assignments, research, writing papers, studying, preparing for quizzes or tests, rough sketches (digital arts courses), practice drawings (drawing or life drawing courses), etc…
10. How to get good grades in lecture courses
a. Read the assignment before class.
b. Take notes in class during lectures.
c. Tape the lectures (with permission of the instructor).
d. Listen to the tape of the lecture.
e. Type your lecture notes into a word processor, then go back using the tape and fill in any gaps.
f. Use your notes to study for quizzes and tests.
g. For Art History or Art Appreciation, consider making a “book” of images to use for study.
11. Keep rude or inappropriate remarks to yourself
Stay on your best behavior, and keep rude and offensive comments (that you might make to anyone) to yourself.
In college, if you make a rude or suggestive remark to someone of the opposite sex, it can be considered sexual harassment.
If a professor hears a student utter a remark which even seems to be remotely like sexual harassment, he/she must report it.
12. Cell phones
Cellphones are everywhere in society, and it is common to talk on them while in line at the grocery store, in the car, at restaurants — I even saw someone take a call at a funeral!
Making or taking a call on your cell phone during class is perhaps one of the rudest things you can do to a professor and the rest of the class.
You are devaluing your time in the class, and devaluing the class itself. Unless you are a medical professional who is on call (doctor), or an emergency worker (fireman, policeman) there is no excuse to have your cell phone on during class.
I will excuse you for the rest of the day if your cell phone rings in class and you answer it. You will receive no credit for the day’s work.
High school versus college
In High School…
You have to enroll by law.
You must attend classes.
You are given many short assignments. Information is carefully “spooned out.”
You are told exactly what to do, and how to study.
Most everyone passes (generally).
Students are treated as children.
Inappropriate behavior might get you sent to the office.
It is a privilege to attend, you’ve chosen to be here.
Attendance is your choice, and the consequences due to the lack of attendance are your responsibility.
Assignments are fewer and more demanding. Effective note-taking skills and successful study strategies are your responsibility.
There is much more ambiguity in your assignments. Your education is your responsibility. You must manage your time and commitments and get the work finished.
If you don’t do the work, you will fail.
Students are adults, and treated as such.
Inappropriate behavior may result in getting you dropped from the class or expelled from the college.