College Tips: Things Your Syllabus Won’t Tell You


Each class puts a lot of emphasis on their syllabus as your holy grail. It’s an extremely important document that can save you time and headache if you pay attention to it. But there are a lot of equally important things not included in a class syllabus that you need to know about. No matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, these are additional tips to help you with any class you’re enrolled in.

You have to take initiative

Your professors will take time to help you out, but you have to ask for it. Some professors may go out of their way to offer help if they see you struggling. But you’re an adult and they expect you to act like one. Your class time is prime opportunity to ask about anything you may be struggling with. They also make you aware of their office hours as an additional push of encouragement to visit them for a little one on one time.

You have to manage your time

If you’re new to Metiza, we’re huge on planners. If it helps you structure your day and to-do list, you need it for college. Professors don’t care how much homework you have when they assign you work. Figure out what will take you the longest amount of time to complete and start chipping away at that.

On the flip side, you have to take breaks.

Your syllabus won’t tell you this, but in order to operate at your best you have to give your brain a break.

Even if that means watching reality tv for a night. Do it.

Participation isn’t just a part of your grade

Some classes may grade you on your level of participation in class. Not only is this an easy grade to ace, but it’s incredibly helpful to you when you’re learning new material. You get to speak to the students in your class about their takeaways and understanding. I’m an introvert so this was my least favorite thing to do in a class, but it helped me learn and absorb the material more than I would have if I just sat quietly the whole time.

Try not to stress

Looking at what will be required of you and what assignments you’ll have to complete is overwhelming. I remember looking at that list and thinking “How am I going to do this?” Try not to get anxious. All it will do is cause a stress headache leaving you unable to create a solid plan for yourself. No matter what, it will get done. Believe in yourself and your ability to get things done when they need to.

You don’t always need the textbook

Save your money and wait for the first class to hear what your professor says. Your online college portal and online syllabus will outline textbook(s) they want you to get. Yet it seemed as if one out of every 4 classes never actually taught out of a book. More than likely, your in-person classes won’t follow a textbook. Your online classes will require one. Ask a friend who took the class to either see if you can borrow their book, buy it off them at a cheaper price, or just ask if you really need it.

College is a complicated dance that will leave you ragged no matter how many times you’ve participated in it.  Take a deep breath, talk with friends, and work hard. We believe in you.

Get college ready by shopping our back to school list. 

Also published on Medium.