If this is your first time to college, you may be mystified by the strange, multi-paged document that professors pass out on the first day of class: the syllabus.
While it may be tempting to turn it into a paper airplane and launch it into the nearest recycling bin—think again. The syllabus can actually save you. Remember in high school how teachers reminded you about due dates? The cruel reality is that in college, you have to remind yourself. That’s where the syllabus comes in.
It is packed with information to help you take charge of your studies and usually includes:
- A schedule of when certain topics will be covered
- Due dates for projects
- Rubric on how you will be graded
- A List of required reading materials
- Professor contact information
- Policies on absenteeism or lateness
- Course objectives
- Tips on how to succeed in the course
In sum, the syllabus is like a how-to manual for succeeding in your class. Reading it will give you a preview of what to expect. Keep a printed copy in your notebook, even if it is available online. If you refer to it regularly throughout the semester, it will help you keep on top of assignments.