21 ways to make the most of your courses

Jan. 6, 2023

Whether you’re studying online, in person, or a combination of both, our student success advisors have some tips to help you succeed – especially for those new to college.

Person using laptop from home

Get familiar with Georgian’s student services. We’re here to support you every step of the way with research, writing, math, tutoring, financial aid, counselling, accommodations and more. Review the list of student services and how to access each.

Take the time to get to know your classmates and allow them the opportunity to get to know you, by arriving early and participating. Not only will this help you to cultivate friendships, but you’ll be building a support network.

Don’t hit the snooze button, even on those days when you don’t feel motivated. We know, it’s easier sometimes to hide under the covers but you’ll get more out of your Georgian experience if you consistently show up for your courses. Create good morning habits!

If you’re studying remotely, designate a quiet, comfortable space for learning, free from distractions like your phone.

Take time at the beginning of each course to understand what’s expected of you. Every course and professor will be different.

Figure out your learning style and develop study habits to reflect it. For example, if you’re a visual learner you may want to rework your notes into pictures, mindmaps or diagrams.

Keep up with readings. Try to read every day if you can. Schedule it into your daily to-do list.

Know your deadlines and work toward them. Map out what’s due and when. You can download a digital version of the Georgian College Students’ Association student planner. Check out additional templates and links to how-to videos on MyGCLife.

Break assignments and projects into small, manageable chunks. That way, they won’t feel so overwhelming. Use an assignment tracker to help plan.
Don’t multi-task; focus on one thing at a time. Research has proven that multi-tasking is not effective.

Participate in discussions – be brave and share your voice. Some of the best learning will come from the conversations you have with your classmates and professors.

On the flip side, listen and absorb. Not only are your professors subject matter experts, but your classmates have amazing experience and insight too.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is silly and chances are if you’re thinking it, others are too.

Develop your own system for your notes, e.g., use symbols, abbreviations and shorthand like with = w/ or because = b/c. You can also use mindmaps or draw charts, shapes or illustrations while taking notes if it aids your understanding.

Rewrite, type or re-read your notes after class to help you retain information.

Complete assignments worth the largest percentage first. For example, if you have an assignment worth 10 per cent and an essay worth 25 per cent and they’re both due at the same time, finish the one worth 25 per cent before you do the other one.

Say goodbye to cramming and schedule in regular study time each week. Better yet, organize an online study group or find a study buddy.

Get to know your profs. They can offer great career advice and may become mentors or future references. They want you to succeed, so don’t hesitate to talk to them if you’re falling behind or don’t understand a key concept.

Reflect on your assignments when you get them back. What did you do well? What do you need to work on for the next one? If you’re unclear, ask for more feedback.

Take a break. Studying is important, but make sure you set aside time for rest, self-care and activities you love.

Reach out to us. Georgian’s student success advisors are here to support you. To book an appointment, visit MyGCLife. Once logged in, in the top left-hand corner of your screen you’ll find who your advisor is and the times they’re available to meet. While you wait, check out our page for lots of useful resources. Alternatively, you can email us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This article was originally published in May 2020. It was updated and re-shared in September 2021, January 2022 and January 2023.

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