Thursday, January 8, 2015

Semester Prep

Syllabus week is the most glorious of them all. No real homework and lots of time to reconnect with friends. However, to ensure a successful semester your syllabus week shouldn't be all fun and games. Take just a little time to set up some systems & you'll thank yourself for them later on! 



Get Prepared
First, order those textbooks! After the first day of class you have a good idea if you'll need the book or not so now is the time to decided if you will buy or rent. I usually like to look up prices before the semester starts so I have an idea. My favorite site to compare prices is Textbook Rentals.

Don't forget to purchase any needed school supplies. Notebooks, pens, binders, printer ink - whatever works for you. Just make sure you have everything you need so you don't have to run out last minute!

Plan Ahead
Once you have a syllabus, make sure you write down all the important due dates! I use my paper planner to keep track of when things are due. Need to encourage yourself to start projects early? Write down reminders in the week or two before an assignment is actually due. Throughout the semester, I usually look at my planner two weeks at a time so nothing sneaks up on me.

I'm notorious for switching note taking systems partly through the semester. I've used pen & paper, printed slides, Pages, OneNote and Google Docs. But, I've found that it's extremely hard to review notes when they're in three different formats! Once you know how your professor is going to lecture, pick a system for taking notes and stick with it. If you do decide to switch, make sure you transition all of your previous notes to the new system.

Help Future You
After you've written down all your due dates, find the grading section of that syllabus. I like to create an excel sheet to keep track of my grades. I plug in all of the formulas at the beginning so I don't have to worry about them. Not an excel fan? Grade Tracker is a great option too. 

What's your back to school preparation routine? 

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