How To Coast Through Your College Years

June 14 2011
by Cloud 9

Don’t make college any harder than it should be. Scratch that; don’t make college hard at all. One thing that was painfully obvious to me throughout college is that more work does not equal better grades. Get creative, learn the process, and get ahead of the curve (pun intended).

Note: There isn’t any one piece of advice that makes the work disappear, but leveraging these ideas together can take a lot off of your shoulders.

Take Classes With Friends
            Obviously you’re not going to be able team up with your buddies in every single class, but taking courses with friends is helpful in many ways. For starters, somebody is going to be in the loop with everything going on, i.e. you probably won’t miss too many assignments. Second, it gives you the ability to split up readings, homework, and study guides. Trust me, this makes studying for tests and completing homework assignments a lot easier. It also makes skipping class a hell of a lot easier when your friends can fill you in. If your friends don’t have the same schedule as you, look for the classes with the most athletes.
Check Out Median Grade Reports
            Most colleges post median grade reports online from past semesters. If not, the registrar should have access to these reports. This might be the best way to screen for easy classes. Don’t be a dumbass and take a class with a median grade of a C+. Most business administration courses have averages around a B+ and are helpful for all majors, add one of those to your schedule instead. Some core classes might be impossible to avoid, but maybe this way you’ll know which semester to take the class in.
            If I could describe Rate My Professor in one word it would be UNDERAPPRECIATED. This website is old school, but absolutely works when trying to figure out which teachers are the best/easiest. Most of the posts are brutally honest, and can throw up red flags about a disastrous experience. Leverage this tip with median grade reports and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Download course material a semester in advance
If you know what classes you need to take in the future, why wouldn’t you download all of the problem sets, answers, practice tests, and actual exams prior to your semester? Most teachers post the same problem sets, and exams year after year. This gives you more practice when studying for a test, but could also land you the exact same questions on your test. Another great resource is Course Hero. This website has plenty of old tests, notes, and problem sets.

Independent Study
            This is literally the easiest class in college. Develop a relationship with a cool professor and get him to sponsor you for an independent study. You set your own guidelines, work load, and schedule. You’d be an idiot if you got anything below an A in this course. Pick a subject that you’re already familiar with or one that you’re interested in.

Develop relationships with your teachers
            This isn’t as lame as it sounds. I’m not saying that you need to be a teacher’s pet, or be the douche bag that answers every question in class. You just need to show (or pretend) that you care. More times than not a teacher will help you out when it comes time to deciding grades if you’ve made an effort to get to know them. I can’t tell you how many times I received a B+ in a class when my work was at most a B-. The key to this is showing up in office hours every now and then. Even if you’re asking questions that you already know the answers to, office hours are the best way to get on a teacher’s good side.
These six tips can save you a ton of time and a ridiculous amount of stress. Take it from somebody who graduated with a 3.5. Take my advice and do a little research before you sign up for your classes. Don’t make college any harder than it should be. Scratch that; don’t forget my advice.
Bird’s eye over cloud 9.

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4 thoughts on “How To Coast Through Your College Years

  1. Hmm never thought about enrolling in a class on blackboard just to get the materials and then taking it next semester..great stuff.

    Ratemyprofessor is such a throwback, but I've actually used it and it's pretty accurate.

    Good article. I'll have to try this out fall '11. Thanks!

  2. lexi – i always wanted to try this blackboard trick but never got around to it. too bogged down. but for classes where they actually post answers to exams and assignments one semester, then REUSE those exams and assignments the next, this trick can be golden. yeah, ratemyprofessor is on point. ever heard of Unigo?

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