The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.
Remember your mother begging you to read ahead on school assignments and you just rolled your eyes at her? Well, it turns out mom was right (isn’t she always). She was advocating the psychological principle of Advance Organizers. The goal is for students to be introduced to new information prior to actually receiving formal instruction on a given topic. Find a favorite website, such as Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/) or Free Video Lectures (http://freevideolectures.com/). There, a short tutorial can be viewed exposing you to key concepts preceding the next day’s lecture. With just minimal planning, this simple cognitive strategy will help you better integrate the material and clarify complex lessons.
One of the best things you can do to “practice” college classes is to begin taking them in high school. If your state doesn’t offer college classes as a high school option, take a class or two in the summer. If you’re ready to start college classes and haven’t had prior experience with them, take a small load – anything over 12 hours qualifies as full-time – and a mix of large and small classes. If you’re going to be part of a living group, ask returning students for their recommendations when you attend summer registration. Choose at least one class you can say you’re taking because it’s of interest and not just a requirement.
Transitioning from smaller classes in high school to a large lecture hall in college can be daunting. First and foremost, it is important that you attend class and treat it like any other class in which you are enrolled. You want to sit in the front of the lecture hall so that you won’t be distracted when the students in front of you pull out their laptops and start browsing Facebook. You might even want to audio record the class so that if you miss something you can review it when you are back in your dorm. Remember to stay focused – this class is an investment in your future.