The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Coordinator gives survival tips to first-year students

By Karen Simonson/reporter

College students must take responsibility for their own academic success, a South Campus coordinator said Aug. 26.

In First Year Experience, Chris Carcerano of the academic success center provided first-year students college survival tips.

Students need to “understand that they will receive less individualized attention because there is more competition,” he said. “Less individualized attention means if the rest of the class gets it and you don’t, you will have to use your spare time to get it.”

Carcerano suggested first-year students select classes that provide balance such as reading and writing and take only one difficult class. In addition to the recommended reading and writing classes, Carcerano said students should take an elective that appeals to their interests and should not feel pressured to declare a major right away.

Students should also make their presence known, Carcerano said.

“Make sure the professors know your face and your name,” he said. “Find out your professor’s office hours, and don’t be afraid to make an appointment.”

Carcerano said planning is important so students should use the CampusCruiser calendar or a planner to keep up with tests and assignments. 

Since good notes help students succeed, Carcerano described the Cornell Note Taking system, which can help students organize the main lecture points. Carcerano told students concerned about note taking to pick a person and establish a note exchange system so they can compare.

To be successful, Carcerano said students must develop a good study routine and practice it every day as athletes develop a good physical training routine.

“All you need to do is give yourself one opportunity to slack, and it will happen again,” he said.

Sticking to a study schedule also prevents the student from procrastinating, Carcerano said.

“[Procrastination is] the death of all academic work because it limits your creativity,” he said.

Study groups should have no more than two people because he said it is too easy to get sidetracked in a large study group.

“Students should record notes in their own vernacular so key points are easier to remember and listen to the notes while commuting, working out or doing other activities,” he said.

“You know the material when you can provide a good summary of the day’s lecture.”

Carcerano also gave tips for passing tests such as creating a study environment similar to the testing environment.

“If you study with loud music on, but you test in silence, your brain will become distracted by the silence, making it harder for you to concentrate,” he said.

Students should also read the syllabus because it “contains information that your instructor might not have told you but you are responsible for knowing, such as how the class operates,” he said. “It’s really a contract between you and the teacher.”

Carcerano said students who have questions should not be afraid to speak up.

“The old high school excuse of ‘Nobody told me’ doesn’t work in college,” he said. “You have to ask for what you need and be familiar with the school rules in the catalog.”

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