30 May 2011

Learning in Large Classes

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High school classes haven’t been that bad, but I’m not sure how I’ll fare in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. How can I stand out to professors and keep from feeling overwhelmed?” – Steve A., Decatur City, IA.

A: Where you sit matters!
Try to sit in one of the first couple of rows—that will put you in a good spot to ask a question or offer a comment before or after the lecture.  If you sit in the middle, you may feel surrounded by a sea of other kids; if you sit in the back, you may feel separated from the lecturer by a wall of other students.  So, sit up front, come to class prepared, maintain eye contact with the prof whenever possible, and, at least twice a quarter, visit your lecturer during office hours.
Susan Marrs – Director of College Counseling - Seven Hills School
A: No need to feel intimidated!
My tip to students is to try and get a copy of the textbook before classes start. Read the first chapter or two before classes start so that you have an idea of the scope and sequence of the subject matter right from the beginning. Go to the lectures—don't rely on others for notes!  If you have questions, raise your hand and ask them! Make sure you touch base with the professor during office hours within the first 4 to 6 weeks of class. If you have concerns express them... if you have thoughts discuss them. Don't be shy—this is your time!

Marie Bullock— Independent Counselor - Washington Lee High School

A: Make Yourself Known and Visible
Unless you will be attending a small liberal arts college, chances are you will have a few large classes. For big lecture classes, be prepared: do the reading, arrive early, sit in front and take good notes. Introduce yourself to the professor. Resist the urge to skip classes, even if no one notices. If the class also has a smaller lab or recitation, make sure you attend these, even if they are optional. You should also use the professor’s office hours as a time to get questions answered or expand on related topics not covered in lecture.

Janet Rosier– College Admissions Consultant - Janet Rosier's Educational Resources

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