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Staying on task.  This is one section of a set of informational slides designed to give new students an overview of what to expect during the first semester.

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Presentation on theme: "Staying on task.  This is one section of a set of informational slides designed to give new students an overview of what to expect during the first semester."— Presentation transcript:

1 Staying on task

2  This is one section of a set of informational slides designed to give new students an overview of what to expect during the first semester of college.  The other sections are: ◦ Introduction ◦ The First Day of Classes ◦ The Second Six Weeks ◦ The Last Weeks and Exams ◦ Year to Year Checklist  The whole set is posted as one presentation under the title “Tips for New Students” in the “For Students” section of the English Department Website.

3  Read the assignment ahead of time. Most syllabi tell what is due on the day that the class meets, not what you will read/do during or after class.  If you don’t have specific instructions on how to prepare, one way is to take notes where you summarize the main ideas as you understand them and identify two or three questions for further study.  Bring your book(s) to class every day. If you are not sure which book you will need, bring them all. Bring supplies you may need for in class writing and/or taking notes. Don’t forget any assignments that may be due.

4 But don’t overlook instructions, directions and advice intended to ensure that you satisfy class or program requirements. In college classes, professors will not always go over everything with you. You are responsible for making connections between the reading, the lecture and the class discussion. You are responsible for reading and understanding the syllabus, assignment instructions and remembering deadlines. Even though the faculty will generally help and guide you, the final responsibility is yours.

5  Most English classes value and encourage class participation.  You may participate by asking questions, answering questions or making comments that are appropriate and relevant to the subject.  If you just sit in the back and drowse, you will not be participating.  Energetic note taking is not really participating.  Always pay more attention to what others are saying than to what you are reading or eating (even if the teacher allows eating).  Always be respectful of other people, even when you disagree.  Don’t take disagreement or corrections personally. In academic dialogue, disagreement is sometimes the beginning of new learning.

6 When you waste your time at school, you are wasting money also. Let’s do the math. Including fees, each in-state student pays close to $300 per credit hour. Therefore, for in-state students a 3 credit hour class costs roughly $900. A typical semester is 15 weeks long. That’s $60 a week for each 3-credit class. Have you ever thought how much each class costs? For a class that meets twice a week, if you miss one class or don’t do the work, you are wasting $30. What else could you be doing with that money?

7 Do the reading.Do the writing.Come to class.

8  Contact a classmate for information about what you missed. In particular, make sure you didn’t miss any new assignments.  E-mail professor with a brief apology.  If you needed to be assigned a partner, pick a topic, get a particular form, etc. ask the professor how you can catch up before you come to the next class.

9  In many English classes, especially writing classes, group work of some sort is part of the classroom environment.  It is very important to use group time to do what your instructor assigned you to do. Don’t waste time chatting and then have to make the work up after class on your own.  If you are peer-editing or reviewing, be sure to be thorough in your comments. Be supportive, but think about comments that will help the other person, not just flatter or reassure. And don’t be upset by criticism. If we don’t receive criticism, we don’t learn.  If group work means a group grade, and one or more of your fellow group members is slacking off, it is your obligation to alert the teacher to the problem before the group work is graded.

10 Instructors will have specific instructors for their assignments, but here is a an overview of the process:  Familiarize yourself with your subject.  Think about your topic—brainstorm.  Outline and/or write a rough draft.  Revise your rough draft or flesh out your outline.  Leave it alone– preferably a few days- so when you come back, the text is new. But don’t stop thinking about the topic.  Revise again as many times as necessary until you are satisfied or the deadline arrives.  Proofread. Watch out for spell checker errors. Make sure you followed all instructions.  Have the paper ready to submit according to instructions before class begins.

11 As in high school, some teachers will give small assessments in the form of quizzes. These may be announced or not, according to the teacher’s practice. A test usually focuses on an area of the subject while an examination-especially a midterm or final examination will cover material from a specific period. Tests and exams should be listed on your syllabus or announced in class. If you have been keeping up with the work, attending class, doing the reading and required writing, etc. and you don’t do as well as you expected in early quizzes, tests or writing assignments, TALK TO THE TEACHER.

12 In addition to your professor, here are some good resources:  The University Writing Center (for help with writing, mechanics, etc.)  The Learning Resource Center ( for videos and audio books)  The Library (for books and materials)  The University Counseling Center (for personal crises, time-management help, etc.)  Your academic advisor (for academic guidance and also to steer you through the university experience.)

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