Friday, January 17, 2014

Enrolled in a Large Class? Success Tips

Guest Blogger:  Jennifer Merino-Moncada, U of U Alumna

You walk into class and realize you are in a class of 200+ students. You think to yourself, “how am I going to get through this?” Your palms start to sweat, you’re feeling anxious. High school was so different, you were in class with the same 30 people, and the instructor knew your name, now you feel like just another face in the crowd. 
This is the same scenario most new students experience. It can be very intimidating and overwhelming. However, with the right approach you can get through this experience and be successful in a large class setting.  

Even though there are no assigned seats in most college classes once students find where they feel comfortable they tend to sit there every class time. You can take advantage of this by getting to know the students that sit around you because they are probably the same people you will sit next to for the rest of the semester. Start by making small talk, introduce yourself and ask your neighbors why they took the class. You want to continue to get to know those around you because you will need a friend, an ally, a study companion. You never know when you will unexpectedly have to miss class. Having a friend in class that you can ask for notes and updates on what you missed is a key aspect of thriving in a large class setting. 

There are a few classes that require study groups or discussions to break up a large class to smaller sections, however many classes will not have that component so it will be up to you to form study groups and work on assignments together. This will become a regular aspect of your time in college. It is so frustrating when you are working on an assignment but get stuck on something. Having a study partner that you can text or email for help can alleviate some of that frustration. 
You may feel out of your element when stepping into a large class. You may feel uncomfortable asking a new person to let you borrow their notes or ask a question about the assignment but in reality those students around you are probably just as uncomfortable and feeling disconnected just like you. College is about taking control of your education, even when it is out of your comfort zone.  Take the initiative and start forming those connections. You will feel more connected to the university community and to those that spent countless of hours cramming with you for your next exam.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome to Spring 2014!

The University of Utah will begin the spring 2014 term on Monday, Jan. 6.  The campus will be a buzz as students and faculty return to classes.  Academic advisors become a major source of assistance during this period to make sure that students are moving forward in achieving their goals.

Here's just a few tips for the beginning of the term:

1.  KNOW IMPORTANT DATES - The Registrar's Office updates a website with a calendar for dates and deadlines such as adding classes, dropping classes, withdrawing, and paying tuition.  Find out more at:

2.  ATTEND THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS - A higher education myth is that nothing happens on the first day.  Actually this is the day that you meet faculty, teaching assistants, and engage with the syllabus.  Also, you are paying for this day so don't miss out on beginning the term with all the information you need for success.

3.  CHECK YOUR SCHEDULE - Once you have completed enrolling and dropping classes, check your final schedule through the Campus Information Services (CIS).  You should confirm that you are in the courses and sections that you are attending.  It is much easier to correct errors at the beginning of the term than later in your academic experience.

4.  CHECK-OUT PLAZA FEST on Wednesday, Jan. 8 in the Union - This is a great opportunity to refresh your memory on all the opportunities available to you at the U of U!
Welcome Back!!!!!