Working Towards Successful Semesters

Students can follow these steps to ensure their academic success in classes this year and so on

Essentials > Working Towards Successful Semesters
Working Towards Successful Semesters
As the spring 2021 semester comes to an end, students can check out these tips for success in their classes and begin to prepare for next semester.
Maria Paz-Lopez, Staff Writer

With the semester coming to a close and another one approaching soon after, students have been navigating their way through classes alone. If students find themselves at a roadblock, unsure of how to get that perfect score and ace their classes, they can look to the following tips to prepare themselves for the end of the semester and the start of the next.

1. Get Organized

There are hundreds of ways to stay organized for classes. Getting assignments done effectively and efficiently is key in keeping oneself together through classes. Some students choose to print out their syllabi and check off one by one as they get things done. Other students might like physical or online planners or even creating to-do lists.

Stephanie Lewin, professor in the psychology department, explains how to make an effective to-do list. She understands that coursework can get daunting, "If your list says 'write two term papers, study for three finals...' you may still be overwhelmed."

Instead, Lewin suggests breaking down the to-do list into doable tasks like, "Read two articles tonight, summarize one article tomorrow," while still leaving room for change, "If you can't get to something that day, make it top priority tomorrow."

2. Take Notes

It can become difficult to remember everything that was said in a lecture. Students should jot down some important concepts, words or ideas that can help them recall the topics covered in class. Writing exactly what is said should be avoided as it can make note-taking very stressful and lessen what one retains.

Professor Michael Carter, from the department of history, tells, "To be successful as a student in my history classes would be to see the modern relevance of the material and engage with it in that way."

He understands that some students might not see much value in history in the contemporary sense and he wants to make sure that students see this value and realize just how much history matters. Noting important events while bridging them to the current world can help students build a better understanding of historical events.

3. Be an Active Student

Participating and contributing to discussions, whether online or in-person can create an enriched academic experience.

Jan Balakian Ph.D., professor in the school of English studies, shares some insights on how to be successful in her class.

"Do the reading! Always ask questions about what confuses you. If you fall behind, don't be afraid to schedule an appointment with your professor," Dr. Balakian says, "Attitude wins the day so stay positive!" Dr. Balakian advises students to utilize The Writing Center to give them the upper hand and extra help if needed.

4. Talk with your professors

Staying in touch with professors is essential to have a successful semester. Kean professors love communicating with their students and can be reached out through email or during office hours.

For advisement from professors, Barbara Lee Ed.D. from the College of Education encourages all advisees to review their program evaluation before the advisement session.

"I map out their path to graduation with a visual chart broken out by semester with the exact courses they need to take," says Dr. Lee. She understands that there are variables that may preclude a semester's course completion but this visual map can help students immensely. "I attempt to provide enough time for each student and always give them the opportunity to feel comfortable."

All the professors and staff at Kean University are working together to make a Kean student's college experience the best it can be. Students should also keep in mind their mental health. It is important to take breaks, get a good night's sleep and eat well.

If students find themselves having a hard time, they can reach out to Kean's Counselling Center and set up an appointment to push them into the right path for success.

about the author

Maria Paz-Lopez, Staff Writer

Maria Paz-Lopez is an English Education K-12 major. She joined The Cougar's Byte in Spring 2021. Some of her interests include film, music and art. After her time at Kean, she hopes to become a teacher and go on to teach English in a different country.