This updated classic gives students the tools they need to successfully transition from high school to college, avoid rookie mistakes, and set themselves up for academic success from day one.
College can be the most exciting time in your life, but it also throws you into the deep end, with new academic and social responsibilities often seeming impossible to juggle. College Rules! will save you time and trouble, setting you up for academic success from the get-go. Whether you’re graduating at the top of your high school class or returning to college as an adult, this updated and expanded edition offers practical advice on how to successfully transition into college. Including tips and strategies that won’t ever be taught in lectures, you’ll learn how to:
- Study smarter—not harder
- Use technology in the classroom
- Choose an app for every occasion
- Excel at time management [Read: Balance homework and parties]
- Stay motivated—even in those “yawn” classes
- Plan a manageable course schedule
- Interact effectively with profs
- Become a research ace—online and at the library
- Survive the stress of exam week
- Set yourself up for stellar recommendations
With sad but true stories that teach tough lessons the easy way and inside scoops that provide advice based on actual research, College Rules! will help you make the most of your college years.
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About the Author
SHERRIE NIST-OLEJNIK received her PhD from the University of Florida in 1982. She spent her career at the University of Georgia researching and writing about college student learning. Over the years, she developed a special interest in how students make the academic transition from learning in high school to learning in college. But it was her love of teaching that inspired College Rules!. Years of university teaching led her to a firm belief that students can make a smooth transition from high school to college, and should be able to, if they are given the tools.
Sherrie has published numerous research articles and book chapters that focus on studying and learning, and she has made over 125 presentations at professional meetings. In addition, she has co-authored four textbooks focusing on reading, studying, and learning at the college level, as well as vocabulary texts designed for college students. These texts are used on college campuses nationwide.
Sherrie also has a keen sense of practicality. Because she interacted with thousands of students over the course of her career, she knows firsthand the demands and stresses that are placed on them. She’s heard all the excuses, learned all the lines, and listened to hundreds of students talk about their frustrations, mistakes, successes, and failures. These unique experiences, combined with her knowledge of research, enabled her to write a compelling, upbeat, and realistic guide for academic success in college.
Sherrie lives with her husband, Steve Olejnik, and her dog, Turley, in Athens, Georgia, home of the University of Georgia. She has one daughter, Kama, who lives in Los Angeles. After retiring from UGA in June 2006 with professor emerita status, Sherrie has more time to pursue her love of travel and art. She continues to be an active writer and consultant.
JODI PATRICK HOLSCHUH is a professor and chair in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University. Jodi has been involved in helping students make the transition from high school to college learning for her entire academic career. An award-winning teacher, Jodi is currently the department chair of one of the largest colleges of curriculum and instruction in the country. She has also served as an educational consultant in Texas and Georgia public schools, teaching teachers ways to prepare their students for college learning.
Jodi has presented many conference papers and has written many articles and book chapters on the topic of helping students learn. She has also been involved in several projects with Sherrie Nist-Olejnik, including the Transitions to Learning in College video program and three college textbooks, Active Learning: Strategies for College Success, College Success Strategies, and Effective College Learning.
Jodi lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Doug, her daughter, Maia, and her son, Samuel. When she is not writing, teaching, or researching, Jodi loves rediscovering the world as her children learn new things. She also loves to read good books and travel to new places.
Read an Excerpt
How to Use College Rules!
Although the primary audience for College Rules! is students heading off to campus, we believe there is valuable information here for students at any point in their college career. (We even know some graduate students who would benefit.) However, our major goal is helping college freshmen make the often treacherous transition from learning in high school to learning in college.
To this end, approach reading College Rules! in any way that suits your needs. You can read it the traditional way—start with chapter 1 and read through to the end in consecutive order. If you’re a high school student who will be starting college, this ordered approach might be the best.
You can also use College Rules! as an at-your-fingertips reference for college success. If you feel a bit hesitant as you’re packing up your stuff to head off to campus, read chapters 5, 9, and 10. If you’re getting ready to take your first college exams (and you haven’t even opened this book yet), read chapters 22, 23, and 24. If you can’t manage your time worth a hoot, read chapter 7. And everyone can probably benefit from reading chapter 6, “Learning 2.0: Technology, College, and You,” early on. In other words, we suggest that you read (or reread) the chapters you think will benefit you at any particular time.
With the second approach, however, we offer a few words of caution. We know for a fact that learning in college is a complex process that involves using all of your senses to learn—you use your vision when you read, you speak in discussion, you listen in class, you touch as you create. Being successful is not about doing this or that. Being successful is usually about doing this and that (and then doing some more). There’s no one particular suggestion in College Rules! that’s guaranteed to make you a better student. There are no “magic beans” for college success. Rather, we have provided you with a comprehensive guide to help you hit the campus running at least ten paces ahead of your fellow students.
We wish you the very best of luck as you begin your college journey and hope that, as so many students who had success with the first three editions did, you email us and let us know what you think. Enjoy yourself and have fun—but get your work done, too! College Rules! will show you how.
Table of Contents
01 You’re in the Big Time Now 08
But What If I Wasn’t the World’s Greatest High School Student?
Six Ways College Differs from High School
Start Off Strong
02 Where to Find the Help You Need 22
I Need Help!
Getting Hassle-Free Help
03 A Few Words about Professors 31
Just What the Heck Do Professors Do?
I Have an Appointment with One of “Them”—Now What?
Hangin’ with Your Profs
What Do Your Profs Think about You?
04 Major Decisions:
Selecting COURSES AND A MAjoR 43
Help! I Don’t Know What I Want to Do When I Grow Up
So Many Choices!
Why Choosing a Major ≠ Choosing a Career
Racking Up the Credits: How Many Courses Should You Take?
Creating a Balanced Schedule
Working with Your Advisor
Choosing Your Professors
Making a Plan
Know Thy GPA
05 Classes, Work, and Play:
Adjusting to the Demands of College 62
Lots of Changes
Characteristics of Well-Rounded Students
06 Learning 2.0: Technology, College, and You 74
Tech to Expect
Classrooms Without Walls
Password Protect Yourself
If You Wouldn’t Put It on Your Resume, Don’t Post It Online
Some Common Social Media Missteps to Avoid
Keep It Clean
07 Timely Tips: The ABC(& D)s of Time Management 87
The Forty-Hour Mind-Set
The Alphabet Approach: The ABC(& D)s of Managing Your Life
The Advantages of Excelling at Time Management
08 “I Think I Can, I Think I Can”:
Getting and Staying Motivated 101
Setting Goals You Can Accomplish
And Staying Motivated
Reviving Your Motivation
09 Igniting the Fire:
Discovering Your Inner Learner 113
What Is Your Orientation?
Is Interest Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
Who’s to Blame for Success and Failure?
Get Your Learning Groove Back
and Other Ways to Handle Stress 123
Good Stress/Bad Stress
What Causes College Stress?
Nonacademic College Stress
What Does Stress Do to You?
Reducing Stress Levels
11 What’s It All About?:
Understanding How You Learn 134
Profiles of Amazing Students
How the Learning Thing REALLY Works
12 Can You Believe That? 144
How Certain Are You?
Is It Really That Simple?
How Quick Should Learning Be?
Who’s in Charge?
Are You Math-Brained or English-Brained?
Transforming Your Beliefs
13 Shhhhh . . . A Moment of Silence, Please:
Concentrating While You Study 155
Creating a First-Rate Learning Environment
Getting Rid of Distractions
Seven Ways to Improve Concentration
14 Your Course Syllabus Is Your Friend 166
Anatomy of a Syllabus
What Can Your Syllabus Do for You?
15 What’s Up, Doc?: Understanding
Your Prof’s Expectations 176
Why Bother Figuring Out the Tasks?
Figuring It Out
But What If You Still Don’t Get It?
Smart Strategy Selection
16 Take Note! 187
Write On: Some Terrific Note-Taking Tips
Be Creative: Use the Split-Page Method of Note Taking
You’re Almost There: Self-Testing Using the Split-Page Method
Different Strokes for Different Folks: Modifying the Split-Page Method
Should You Use a Laptop (or Tablet, or Phone) in Class?
To Help or Not to Help: Online Lecture Notes
17 Words! Words! Words! 203
How Can I Be in College and Still Need to Learn New Words?
Building Your Vocabulary
Using the Dictionary or Glossary
Using Word Structure
Knowing a Word
18 Active Reading 216
Reading for Learning
Warming Up: Previewing Before You Read
Annotation: Text Messages for Active Reading
The Nuts and Bolts of Annotation
A Sample Annotation
Studying Your Annotations
Reading on the Screen
19 Three Rs and an M: Remembering What
You Have Read and Heard 232
Reflecting: Thinking about Information
Rehearsing: Getting Information into Your Memory
Reviewing: Keeping Information in Memory
Monitoring Your Learning
20 Studying Smarter 247
Being Flexible: Selecting and Modifying Strategies
Acting like Einstein: Studying in the Sciences
Beyond Freud and Mead: Studying in the Social Sciences
The Art of the Dance: Studying in the Humanities
Parlez-vous Français?: Studying Foreign Languages
X + Y = What?: Studying Mathematics
21 Everything You Wanted to Know about Research and Presentations but Were Afraid to Ask 262
Finding Resources in the Library and on the Web
Forget the Five-Paragraph Essay
The Confusing World of Plagiarism
Creating First-Rate Presentations
22 It’s More than Multiple Guess: Prepping for and Taking Objective Exams 276
Studying for Objective Exams
Tips for Taking Objective Exams
Exams Go High Tech
Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe . . . If You Have to Guess
An A+ for You: Evaluating Your Test Performance
23 Bluebook Blues: Prepping for and
Taking Essay Exams 289
Studying for Essay Exams
It’s All in the Way It’s Worded
Elements of a Good Essay
Put It in Writing
24 Is That Your Final Answer? 301
Smart Exam Prep
A Word about Cramming
Surviving Midterms and Finals
25 Just the FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions 310
One Final, Unsolicited Piece of Advice
About the authors 315