Tips for Success

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Study On Campus or Online

Whether you are studying online or on campus, you will need to prepare. Many students take a combination of online and on-campus classes. If you have not taken an online class, but are interested, read the next section to discover if you are suited to online learning.

Are you Prepared to Study Online?

It’s important you think carefully about the decision to take an online class. Ideally, you should be able to answer “yes” to all the questions below.

  1. Can you schedule and manage your time well?
  2. Can you learn independently, by reading/viewing all required class materials, such as books, online articles, videos and more?
  3. Can you follow written instructions to complete a task?
  4. Are you able to articulate your ideas in writing?
  5. Are you self-motivated and capable of working independently?
  6. Do you complete tasks on time?
  7. Do you have the required technology [link to technology requirements page]?
    1. Do you have reliable access to a computer and the internet?
    2. Can you use a web browser to search the internet?
    3. Do you have basic computer skills, such as sending and receiving email or creating, saving and sharing a document?
    4. Are you comfortable asking for help with technology, if needed?

If you answered “no” to a few of these questions, consider the steps you can take to making the answer “yes,” as these are important factors in helping you succeed.

Note: All Dallas College students can use Microsoft Office 365 for free, including Microsoft Word on the web.

Tips from Successful Dallas College Students

Use a planner! I have so many responsibilities to juggle throughout the day. So having a planner makes it easier to remember upcoming assignments and materials that I’ll need to bring to class.

Do the required reading. I know a lot of my classmates don’t do the required reading because it can be a chore, but it can really help you prepare for upcoming lectures and assignments.

Take care of your mental health - give yourself some time and take a break. Whether it is taking a walk, listening to music, watching a movie, spending time with friends or taking a nap, you need some time for yourself.

Stay organized by using the syllabus to plan out all your assignments at the beginning of the semester to help you complete everything on time or even earlier. After the first week of class, sort out which classes need your most attention and which ones you can handle with minimum attention. This will help you focus on the class that needs your attention before it gets out of hand.

Prepare for a College Class

  • Write down your instructors’ contact information. Be prepared to contact your professor when you have questions and need clarification.
  • Set a schedule for class work. The Weekly Study Plan Worksheet (DOCX - 42KB) can help you organize your week. The Weekly Study Plan Example (DOCX - 44KB) will demonstrate how to use it. Set aside time each day to work on your class assignments. Place your schedule and due dates on a calendar or Navigate. Try to work on each class daily to prevent procrastination.
  • Remain engaged through the entire class. Acknowledge that your success depends on your efforts. Monitor your self-talk and stay positive.
  • Take notes and organize information. When reading or studying class content, take notes and prepare visual aids such as charts, flashcards, concept maps or other helpful formats. When taking notes, use your own words. Use different colors of pens and highlighters to organize information.
  • Prepare for exams. Review the required readings. Study your notes. Make practice tests or flash cards to prepare for quizzes, tests and exams. Partner with fellow classmates to have a study session.
  • Seek appropriate student resources and services. Some of these include:
    • Tutoring
    • Library Services
    • Academic Advising
    • Technical Support
    • Disability Services
    • Career assistance
    • Success Coaches
    • And many more!

Prepare for On-campus Learning

In addition to the above tips, the tips below are specific to on-campus learning.

  • Get ready for class. You need to be well rested and have something to eat before class. You won’t learn much if you are tired and hungry. Bring your needed class materials, such as books, notes, paper, pen and calculator. Are laptops and cellphones allowed? Check your class syllabus or ask your instructor.
  • Prepare for class. Complete assigned work. Read all required readings. Review your study materials before class. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask.
  • Get to class early. Find your preferred seat. Begin to review your notes and study materials from the previous class to refresh your memory.
  • Listen carefully. Don’t be so busy with notetaking that you miss what the instructor and other students are saying.
  • Record the class lecture – with the instructor’s permission, of course.
  • Pay attention. Take note of what is and is not included in your lecture handouts. What information do you need to gather on your own? What is the instructor emphasizing in the lecture?
  • Ask questions when you need clarification. Chances are that other students have similar questions.
  • Review your notes. Take at least one minute immediately after class to review what was covered in class. This will help you retain information.

Prepare for Online Learning

In addition to the above tips, the tips below are specific to online learning.

  • Prepare a distraction-free work area. Create a conducive learning environment by having an uncluttered work surface in a quiet area. Turn off distractions such as the TV and cell phone.
  • Take care of yourself. There are times when you need to take a break and step away from the computer. Allow yourself time off to recover.
  • Connect with classmates. Reach out to other students to form a support or study group.