Essential College Skills: Timeliness and Punctuality

Once you've been accepted into college, you might ask, "Now what?" You want to do well, but success in college is not automatic, no matter how many billboards or TV ads you see featuring happy coeds. Successful college students work hard for their degrees, forming good study habits along the way to make the journey easier. College coursework is demanding, but using your time effectively and handing in assignments on time are ways to make the load more manageable.

Here are five time-related tips to help you be successful in college:

  1. Go to class.
    Attending class sounds like a no-brainer, but new college students often have a hard time adjusting to college attendance requirements, which are more relaxed than high school policies. For instance, it's easy for a student in a large lecture hall to skip class, knowing that the professor won't know and won’t care. Being tired may seem like a good reason to skip an 8 a.m. class, but it's up to you to stay motivated to attend class regularly, despite your best excuses. Forming strong attendance habits will benefit you in the long run and as a professional worker later. For online learners, regular attendance means logging in at least five times a week and interacting with the lessons and your classmates at least three times a week.

Why is attending class important?

  1. Establish your priorities.
    Balancing class attendance with studying, recreation, and employment isn't easy. It's important to develop a schedule or routine each semester so that you devote enough time to each area and prioritize coursework. Attending class is important, but so is studying. You may find that science courses, for instance, require more studying than history courses, depending on your interests and strengths. Adjust your routine accordingly so that you maximize study time.
  1. Do your work well.
    Give your best effort on each assignment. Some college instructors give grades only on the midterm and final exams, or on just a handful of assignments. It's important that you try your best on each assignment.
  1. Be on time and don't procrastinate.
    Late penalties can turn your "A" paper into a "D," assuming your professor will even accept a late paper. Get the credit you deserve by meeting deadlines and turning in work on time. At the beginning of each semester, instructors will usually distribute a syllabus, which is a class outline that includes important dates and assignments. Highlight important dates or track them in your personal calendar. Make time to finish coursework as soon as possible, giving yourself time to review the work before you turn it in. If real and challenging life events occur that cause you to miss a deadline, communicate early and often with your instructor and be willing to provide any documents that verify your tardiness.
  1. Know what is expected from you.
    The class syllabus should also include a list of objectives and goals. Review the material so that you fully understand your professor's expectations. This will guide your study time and homework throughout the semester. If you aren't sure about what is expected from you, ask your instructor. Visit him or her during office hours or send an email. It is important that you are comfortable asking for help, especially when you are struggling with a concept.