Top tips for undergrads

Education | Brighten Youth Edu Centre 13 Oct 2020

This week, we'll be offering tips for new varsity students adapting to online learning platforms. How can you get the best out of college when you're stuck at home, or perhaps even in a different country from your classmates? How can you focus in self-isolation? What do you do when you've never met your professors in real life?

While technology has benefits, it also erects barriers. Educators or students mostly prefer face-to-face interactions.

However, we need to find ways to cope. Academic work needs to remain a top priority. Other opportunities will follow.

Aim for perfect attendance in class. This might not be a possibility, but going out of your way to attend class represents the kind of work ethic that will bring you success later.

With this in mind, don't ask for make-up exams, or hand in work late.

Having said this, tutors are more than happy to meet with you in other contexts. All have office hours, so try to meet each of them once a term.

Ensure this meeting has an aim. Knowing your face may have a useful impact when they grade your work, it demonstrates a proactive attitude and helps them remember you if you choose to ask for a reference later.

In order to impress, study twice as hard as you think you need to. Perhaps this doesn't apply to the anxiety-ridden students who never leave their rooms, but most students need far more time in the library than they think, particularly for tests.

Adopt a proactive approach. Seek help before problems arise. If your school offers writing clinics or study skills platforms, make use of them before you write your first essay and your tutors highlight all your embarrassing mistakes.

Stay connected with your family, but don't feel the need to travel home every weekend if that is a possibility. You need to grow roots in your new home, and this isn't possible if you're always heading back to mom.

If you have chosen to fly the nest, embrace the opportunity this offers. Try to make a diverse selection of friends, beyond your community and beyond your comfort zone.

This is particularly important if you're studying in a second or third language. See everyone as having something to offer.

If you have any questions about our column, or the issues raised within it, please e-mail them to us:

Search Archive

Advanced Search
November 2020

Today's Standard