Study Tips: Back to School 2012

New term brings new opportunity
to start right, stay focused

Students in the Quad

Have a great semester, Texas State!

It’s the first day of a new semester at Texas State University. There’s no better time than the first few days of class to set the tone and pace for the entire term. We’ve talked to experienced students, faculty members and learning resources staff on campus to gather the best advice for a great start.

Get the grade.

Of course, put first things first: GO TO CLASS. Every class, every time it meets. But getting the most out of your courses requires more than simply showing up. For starters, make sure your professor knows who you are — by introducing yourself personally and actively participating in class activities and discussions.

Instructor Brittany Wattner continues on that theme with this advice: “The biggest mistake my freshman students make is to assume they can put in the same amount of effort they did in high school and do well.” Whether you’re a freshman or not, “professors notice when you come to class prepared, and they appreciate it,” she says. The following tips will also help raise your grade and minimize your stress when exams roll around:

  • Pay attention in class — sit in front — and take good notes.
  • Let your professor know if you must be absent. Get e-mail addresses and phone numbers of at least three classmates for missed notes.
  • Review your notes after class to add clarifying details while it’s fresh on your mind. It helps retain new information.
  • Study every day. Complete assigned readings before class for better understanding while you’re in class. It will reduce stress at finals and, more importantly, help you learn.
  • Go to your professors’ office hours with questions. Your professors want you to learn and are happy to help. Plus, it shows that you want to learn, too.

Get involved.

Students volunteering for Bobcat Build

Bobcat Build volunteers serve throughout the San Marcos community during a huge event each spring.

Student organizations at Texas State offer something for everyone. From small groups like the Society of Physics Students to huge organizations like the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Bobcat Build, there’s a welcoming niche for every student. Look for yours at the Student Org Fair, scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center.

Studies have shown that being engaged in campus activities improves the college experience experience. Amy Hawkins, a researcher at Purdue University, says, “Participation in student organizations can lead to the development of social and leadership skills, higher retention rates, heightened self-confidence, improved satisfaction with college, the ability to see course curriculum as more relevant, and further success after college.” Additional benefits of joining a student organization are expansive. You can:

  • Meet lifelong friends and mentors.
  • Make connections that could lead to internships, research opportunities and jobs.
  • Gain job skills through groups focused on your chosen profession.
  • Find new hobbies, study partners and workout partners.
  • Discover hidden talents that could affect your life direction.
  • Learn about and qualify for additional scholarships.

If you need help, just ask.

Texas State has hundreds of support services to ensure the success of its hardworking students. Whether you are struggling with a difficult class or looking for additional resources to complete a huge project, there a campus full of people who want to help you reach your goals. Here are just a few of the Academic Support Resources and other services available for free to Texas State students:

Remember: What you put into college is what you’ll get out of it. Take advantage of opportunities to share new experiences with fellow Bobcats and discover something new about yourself and your abilities. Cultivate a big life from your experience at Texas State.

Make it a great semester, Bobcats!

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