college classes

How to Master College Courses 101

college courses

Summer is officially over which means class is now in session. For college students, classes could cause a whole lot of stress. With papers, exams, morning classes, labs and everything else wedged in there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This is especially true for freshmen. Regardless of your major, things are going to be a lot harder than high school. Not only is there a heavier workload, but students have to constantly find new ways to manage time. After 3 years, 6 semesters and a study abroad trip, I’ve finally worked through the ins and outs and comprised a master plan for all college students alike on how to get through your courses and earn a good grade without increasing your risk for heart disease. Here’s how to master college courses:

Get to Class

First off, I’d like to show you, monetarily, how valuable college courses are. Let’s say you go to a private university. According to, the average tuition and fees, not including other expenses like room and board, is approximately $32,000. Yikes. Assuming you’re a full time student, that’s about 10 classes a year and most schools have about 15 weeks per semester. Therefore, each day ranges at about $72-$213 per class. That’s like two months worth of Chipotle per class missed. Beyond money, classes still go a very long way. By going to class (and paying attention there), you receive valuable information in the lecture that you can’t through your book or another student’s notes. Also, it’s also looks good on your part to show your face, especially when it’s grade time.


Let’s say you do make it to almost every class (nobody’s perfect). Most college professors appreciate participation. If you’re in a small-medium sized class, chances are it’s going to be somewhat necessary. Without overdoing it put in some input here and there. It will indefinitely look good to your professor who is in charge of your grade. The first few times you speak in class might be nerve wracking, it always is for me. But once you do it once or twice, it starts to become a lot easier.

Get to Know Your Professor

By going to class and participating, you’re automatically getting some appreciation from your professor. They live for that stuff. Past grades, because college isn’t only about doing well in class, your professors are invaluable. Talk to them after class occasionally and show up for office hours. Showing that you’re interested in the class can help you out in the long run. They could serve as mentors and help you out with finding the path you want to go on post-graduation. Most professors want you to succeed. Let them help you!

Keep Up With Your Work

One of student’s biggest culprits for stress is procrastination. It’s so easy to put things off until the last minute and end up in the library for 10 hours straight alternating between espresso shots and Red Bulls. THIS CAN AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED. Read over notes every night before bed. When you receive an assignment, immediately start plotting how you plan on putting it together. Doing even a little bit at a time could save you both stress and points in the long run. Most professors give you assignments in advance so there is no excuse. In short: pace yourself to avoid the worst!

I hope these tips help you get organized for your college courses and remind you to work hard to make sure your tuition money is well spent. Have some tips of your own to share? Drop us a comment below! 

Take Notes on Taking Notes


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We’ve all heard Dorothy’s famous quote from The Wizard of Oz “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” used in various contexts. Well, Dorothy, unfortunately, you’re not in high school anymore. That means no more notes being passed out in thick packets or being neatly organized to deal with certain topics on certain days. College takes taking notes to a whole new level, and a difficult one at that. Therefore, here is a list of useful tips for the next time you are getting flustered with note-taking:


1.) Don’t try and write down every word your professor says! Focus on key points of information. It will save you time when studying and will save your hand from cramping.

2.) Avoid copying PowerPoint/Prezi slides word for word. Figure out the main point and write that, and only that. And if you are not sure what Prezi is, you need to find out!

3.) Use the marginal method. You know that space at the end of college-ruled notebook paper where it has a faint line? Fold that into your page. Now, only take notes in the non-folded section. Any of your questions, potential test questions or special highlighted notes you take away from the lecture should go in the folded tab, keeping your notes clean and organized.

4.) If a word or phrase is repeated, write it down! There is a reason your professor is repeating it, trust me. It will most likely show up on your test later or help you understand test materials.

5.) Ask if you’re allowed to use your laptop to take notes. People tend to type faster than they can write things down. Just make sure you turn off the Internet to avoid being tempted by social media. Unless of course you’re using one of our recommended apps to stay organized!

These tips are sure-fire ways to taking great notes in college. Got any others? Tell them to us in the comments section below!

An Argument Against Gen-Eds

Recently in an English class, we were assigned to write an argument. I chose to argue General Education requirements. Because I have a lot of passion for this topic, and because I want a lot of you to read what I have to say, I chose to share some of my basic thoughts in this week’s blog. General Education requirements in college not only take up 2 years of your time in school, they also use up a lot of your money. College is an exciting time in most students’ lives. The strenuous schedule of required gen-ed courses can add unnecessary stress to this exciting time.  For the amount of money students pay, they should be able to choose what courses they take, what are universities doing with all of this money?  I will be focusing on a few main points including: The extra cost Gen-Eds create for students, why Gen-Eds aren’t necessary for students who have already decided a major, and the time wasted spending four years in college due to Gen-Ed courses. Allow me to begin with the extra cost Gen-Eds present for students wallets.

Just imagine if two years of school could be subtracted from your bills, we’d be saving so much money in the long run. To me, there is no sense in paying for two years of classes that have absolutely nothing to do with your major. I am currently enrolled in a theatre class and a music class. My major is broadcast journalism. Taking a theatre class when I have no interest in acting doesn’t make since to me, but it fulfills one of my gen-ed requirements. Although I have learned all about acting in this class, I will likely never pursue this field, or need any of this information. I’d rather enroll in broadcasting or journalism courses because they will actually aid me in my future career.

This brings me to my next point; Gen-Eds are unnecessary for students who have chosen a major. Many people argue that Gen-Eds create more well-rounded students. I argue that the fundamental stages in a person’s life are for becoming “well rounded”, college is for getting a degree and going to work. The overall goal of college is to gain a successful career. If a journalism major wanted to spend thousands of dollars taking art and music classes, they would have chosen to be an art or music major. Isn’t it better to be an expert on one skill than to be mediocre in many?   Focusing solely on one’s major as opposed to being distracted by gen-ed courses might help students to enter the workforce more prepared for their jobs.

Many people also believe that taking Gen-Ed courses is smart because students change their majors so often. My justification is that it wouldn’t matter if a student changed their major if they were only going to school for two years because they’d be so young, they’d technically have 2 years to spare. Because a bachelor’s degree would only require two years of school, most students could graduate by the time they were twenty years old. If a twenty year old were to change their major, they could attend two more years of school in their new major and still graduate at twenty-two. The point of a two-year bachelor degree program would be to give students who are sure on their major a head start on their chosen career.

My final reason for why Gen-Eds shouldn’t be required is that they are a waste of time. As I mentioned before, why spend four years in college when your actual major only takes two? If student could finish school in two years, (obviously this excludes doctors, lawyers, etc.) they could get two years of work under their belt.  That’s two years of making money instead of spending thousands on school. In another circumstance, if a student wanted to take a couple years after high school to work and save for college they would be able to without much set back.

I can see that Gen-Eds could be useful to students who don’t already know their major. Gen-Eds are a great source for students to explore different fields of study and to find out what interests them. Gen-Eds can also benefit students in their major later on by creating a foundation that’s easier to build on. While Gen-Eds do have their benefits, I find that the consequences of money and time outweigh those benefits. High school was a great foundation for college; I now want to move past high school and focus on my career. My hope is that enough of you will agree with me and that our numbers could make a difference. I’m assuming that all of you believe in and value higher education. I’m assuming that you all wish that you could save thousands of dollars and still achieve your bachelor’s degree. If my assumptions are correct, we need to stand together and make a change.

-Speedy G.

I’m reading Microsoft Office 2010