Student Survival Guide – Volume I – Beginning of the Semester Questions
You have begun a journey that holds many possibilities for your future. At MCC student success is our main priority. In fact our vision statement is…
“Middlesex County College puts students first and measures its success only by the success of its students. All members of the College community contribute to student success.”
People attend college for many different reasons. You may be here to earn an Associate Degree, with plans to continue your education at a four-year institution, or you may want to begin your career after graduation. Some students may be here to take a few courses; others are full-time professionals who are returning to college after some time. Whatever your reason, we are here to support your goals.
Here are the answers to questions you may have as you begin your studies at Middlesex County College:
1. How do I know what my professor expects of me?
- READ your syllabus. At the beginning of the semester you will receive a syllabus. It contains a breakdown of assignments, tests, etc. including the dates that they are due.
- Communicate with your professor. All full-time professors have office hours. Check out the link to see if your professor holds office hours. Not all professors are full time. If you don’t see your professor on the list, check your syllabus for contact information.
- Contact your professor. Information about how to do that is listed on the syllabus. It will probably list the professor’s phone number and/or email address as well as office hours in case you need some extra help or have questions. It is the best way to know your professor’s grading policy and how much exams, participation, and assignments are worth toward your final grade.
- If you have any questions about the grading policy for a course, contact your professor.
2. How can I get good grades?
- Attend class! It is important that your professor knows you.
- Know what your professor expects from you. Your professor’s expectations are often described in the course outline or syllabus. Talk to your professor during office hours or after class if time allows.
- Reading a college textbook is one of the most important skills you will need as a college student.
- Take good notes and set aside enough study time to earn good grades. Remember to check your progress as you go along.
- Participate in class discussions, ask questions, and be involved.
- Don’t wait! Take action as soon as you receive a grade of C or lower on any assignment or test. Make sure that what you underline in your text or include in your notes matches the test and assignment questions.
- If your grades do not meet your expectations or goals, change the way you study or allocate your time.
- Workshops are offered throughout the semester on a variety of topics related to student success.
- Log on to CampusCruiser for up-to-date information on everything from class cancellation, grades and class assignments.
- Pat yourself on the back if you are earning the grades you deserve.
3. How can I meet new people on campus?
- Student Activities: You can learn more about clubs on campus. There are lots of opportunities for getting connected. At the beginning of each semester, there is a huge Student Activities Fair where you will get the chance to sign up for any clubs or organizations on campus that interest you.
- CampusCruiser has a list of all clubs and activities on campus.
- Sports: Middlesex County College offers intercollegiate as well as intramural sports. The Department of Athletics and Recreation can provide you with information on sports and recreational activities.
- Say Hello! Get to know your classmates! Join a study group or simply turn to the classmate next to you. Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. They are there to answer your questions.
4. How can I juggle college, my job, family and friends?
- Balance is the name of this game. You may need to work 25 or more hours per week. We understand that! However, if you need to work 25 hours or more, you may want to consider taking classes on a part-time basis.
- Successful college students KNOW that college takes time and that learning takes time. You will have a lot of work to doOUTSIDE of the classroom. Try doing your assignments on campus after class or before you leave for work or home. This way, when you leave, your time is your own.
- Learning effective time management techniques will enable you to organize your time. The Department of Counseling & Career Services, the Office of Minority Student Affairs, and the Educational Opportunity Fund office can help you with these tough decisions.
5. I’m feeling stressed out. Where can I turn for help?
- Sometimes family problems, outside pressures, health or money issues can interfere with your ability to do well or to focus on college, or perhaps it has been a long time since you have attended school.
- The Department of Counseling & Career Services offers you a chance to speak individually with a counselor who cares about your goals and who knows what resources are available on and off campus to help you achieve success.
6. What happens if I miss a class?
- Attending class and arriving on time shows interest and motivation.
- Alert your professor ahead of time if you plan to be absent or late.
- If you miss a class, you will definitely miss important information! If there is a “real” reason to miss class, you need to remember that you are still responsible for what happened in class.
- You need to know the content covered and if assignments or test dates have changed.
- If you miss class unexpectedly, speak with the professor as soon as possible. You can also visit during their office hours.
- Ask a classmate. It is important to get phone numbers and email addresses from other students on the first day of class. You can also find your classmates’ email address on CampusCruiser.
- Follow the syllabus to keep up with the work.
- Every professor addresses attendance issues differently. The professor’s policy can be found in the syllabus.
7. What can I do if I’m doing poorly in class?
8. I’m thinking of dropping a course. How do I decide whether to drop it or not?
- You may be considering dropping a course if you are not passing the course, your course load is more than you can handle this semester, or for personal reasons.
- The last day to withdraw with a grade of W is Thursday, November 7, 2013. Check CampusCruiser for important dates.
- Before dropping your course you may want to speak with:
- Not attending a course does NOT mean that you have withdrawn. Your withdrawal is official only if you withdraw from the course. You may drop classes from your schedule on the web through CampusCruiser/WebAdvisor or complete anAdd/Drop Form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar. Failure to do this is likely to result in a course grade of F.
9. What do I do if I need money to help pay for my college education?
- Contact the Financial Aid office to find out if you are eligible for a grant or loan.
- You should also see if you qualify for the Educational Opportunity Fund.
- Middlesex County College’s Career Services office can assist you with finding a part-time job.
- If you are concerned about paying for the upcoming semester, the Business Office has payment plan options available.
10. Why do I have to take non-credit classes?
- Middlesex County College wants you to be successful. These courses help you build the skills needed for college level courses.
- Although skill building courses do not count toward graduation, they are the foundation for your success.
- Your confidence will soar because you will start your studies from a position of academic strength, not weakness.
- The skills taught in our developmental courses are required to enter college-level courses. Many students say that developmental courses help them gain confidence as a learner.
- Students who are placed into a developmental course must pass the course with a grade of C or better.