How to pass your college classes

Books lined up on the shelf at Alden Library

As Bobcat Student Orientation draws near, many high school seniors, as well as their families, begin to think about what their next four years are going to entail: roommates, dorm life, dining halls, parties, interviews, career fairs, apartments… It’s funny how college course are normally not what students look forward to when it comes to the college experience. It’s funny how very few students actually look forward to going to class.

Failing a class is a huge fear among incoming freshmen and their worrisome parents, but taking the right steps and avoiding a few bad habits will ensure success in your college academics. Here’s your crash course on how to pass all your classes.

 

What’s Considered Failing?

In high school, failing was normally denoted with a D or F. College is a little different, though. Some majors have certain grade requirements. For instance, at Ohio University, medical students need a B or higher to receive credit for a class. Students under the Scripps College of Communication, as well as the College of Business, need a C or higher.

 

How Do I Know Which Classes to Pick?

Let’s face it: some professors are better than others. In every university, you’ll find professors experiencing burnout, or you’ll stumble upon professors who seem to have no mercy on their students. That’s why it’s important to do a little research on prospective profs. For instance, ratemyprofessor.com is a great resource to use when you’re trying to decide between class sections: you can tear through many reviews on a variety of professors on campus; after all, a professor can make or break your experience with a certain class.

 

Failing Classes: What’s the Common Denominator?

In a nutshell, not going to class can kill your chances of passing it, and having a set routine of when and what you study will help you to remember assignments and tests.

 

Other Tips for Passing a Challenging Course

1. Send out a group email suggesting a study group.

This may sound cheesy, but it can prove to be very helpful. In most instances, if you’re really confused by a concept you’re going over in class, someone else is not getting it. Talking it out with someone could help you and your classmate(s) figure the subject out.

2. Hire a tutor.

Spending money to pay for a tutor isn’t ideal, but it will save you money in the long run (tuition, fees, and textbooks really do add up). Sometimes people put up flyers on campus offering tutoring services.

3. Talk to the professor during his or her office hours.

When in doubt, ask your professor. That’s what they’re in their office for. If you happen to have a professor who is incredibly busy or unapproachable, hit up your course TA. He or she may have office hours, too.

4. Talk to a person who participates in the class often.

Because he or she speaks up in class quite often, he or she must have some idea of what is happening in the course. *Caveat* Don’t ask for help from the class heckler: it’ll frustrate you more than it will help you. You want to get help from someone who spouts answers to questions, not his or her opinion on every topic related to your course.

5. Look up additional resources online.

When the professor, your classmates, and your textbook fail you, you always have thousands of digital sources to turn to. Schmoop is a solid place for literary and math help, for instance.

6. Check out one of the many academic centers or resources on campus.

If you need help writing a paper, book a tutor at the Writing Center on the 2nd floor of Alden Library. Their staff consists of English and Journalism students and staff trained to critique your paper and help answer your questions. Other course offer Supplemental Instruction, or SI. These sessions are packed with slow-paced information to help you work out the kinks in your understanding of the course content.

 

Now, what happens if you do fail a class? Let’s hear from a music student who admits to struggling in one of her college courses.

If It Happens to You

You’ll need to sit down with your adviser to weigh your options and hash out a plan, ASAP.

You’ll more likely than not have to retake the course; keep in mind, though, that if it was a class that fulfilled a certain requirement for your major, you might be able to take a different course. You may have needed the class for a college requirement, meaning a class you take for the school with which your major is classified. It could also be a general education requirement, or gen-ed. Depending on what requirement the class was fulfilling, you may be able to take another class instead of re-taking the one you failed.

Have no fear, future Bobcats. Freshman year is going to be epic: inside and outside the classroom. Do your part, and you’ll go far.

 

Author: Sydney Dawes

I'm a journalism major at Ohio University. People tell me I'm quirky, but I honestly think that's just their subtle way of telling me I'm weird. I'm a proud (sometimes too proud) ginger who has obsessions with betta fish, the color yellow, and coffee in all forms. I love to write and have no social life. Follow me on Twitter @sydneydawes_95 or on Instagram @syd_the_kid1995.

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