Syllabus week: A term that incoming, college students will soon become very familiar with. The first few classes of each semester are dedicated to professors explaining coursework and expectations. Students who pay close attention and utilize their syllabus as a planning tool are more likely to succeed than students who don’t. Here’s how to make the most of your syllabus:

Mark Your Calendar

Keep track of assignment due dates and exams by filling in a calendar at the start of the semester. Writing down key dates is important for planning ahead to prevent stress.  The visual overview for all class requirements also helps with time management and task prioritization.

Understand Course Policies

Pay attention to the varying policies for each professor.  Course policies include: attendance and participation requirements, grading scale, missed assignments and exams, cell phone policy, etc. Every professor will have different expectations, so it is important to be aware of what is required in each course to ensure maximum success.

Purchase Course Materials

Professors often require certain textbooks for their courses, which can be purchased from various locations.  Some may only be available at the campus bookstore, while others could be ordered online or from students who have previously taken the course. Do some research on how to get the best deal.

Save Instructor Information

It is extremely valuable to visit a professor during office hours.  Asking a professor for help with an assignment or clarification on a concept shows a dedicated initiative to the class. A positive relationship with a professor is also beneficial when letters of recommendation are needed.

The syllabus allows students to plan the entire semester in advance. Use this as motivation to get ahead and finish projects early.  A proper plan prevents poor performance!