shortcut to content

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Helpful Suggestions

Page address: http://cset.mnsu.edu/sacc/suggestions/

Study! Study!! Study!!!

Set priorities - academics should come FIRST! Attend classes. Arrive on time. Go to class prepared. (There is no substitute for good preparation.) Take good notes. (Old Chinese proverb: "The palest ink is better than the best memory.") Rewrite and organize your notes after class. Study with friends, or organize study groups with other students in your classes. Review your notes... review your textbooks... review each day... review each week. Don't try to "get by" with cramming. It's simply not effective.

Learn to Manage Your Time

Remember that being a full-time student is a full-time job. Plan on two hours of study outside of class for each hour in class. For example, a student taking 12 credits per semester should count on 12 class hours plus 24 hours of outside study, or 36 hours per week. If you have a job and plan to work more than 15 hours per week, consider taking fewer credits. Use daytime "free" hours (between classes) for study. Don't leave all the work for evening. Be sure to allow time for some fun. As your schedule permits, participate in extra-curricular activities, student government, recreational activities or service groups. Allow time just to relax.

Work With Your Advisor

Plan to meet regularly with your advisor. Most students see their advisors at least once each semester before registration. Plan to meet much more frequently as you progress through your program or if you experience academic difficulties. If you don't like your advisor, or if your advisor isn't available when you have time to meet, it may be a good idea to change advisors. Contact the Student Relations Coordinator in the appropriate college, or see one of the pre-major advisors in the Career Development Office to initiate an advisor change.

Seek Help When It's Needed, and Learn Where to Find It.

Don't ever hesitate to ask questions. No question is unimportant or trivial. Friends and fellow classmates are GREAT support - but don't rely on their expertise in interpreting university requirements. Learn to check with the appropriate campus office or with your advisor about policies which may affect you. Review University publications carefully. Review your catalog, course schedules, class syllabuses and the Basic Stuff handbook. You are expected to be familiar with this information. You will find little sympathy if you "don't know" something that is clearly outlined in the catalog, schedule or syllabus. If you begin to have problems in a particular class, seek assistance immediately. Contact the instructor first. Delay in dealing with a problem usually adds to the problem. Finally, remember, YOU are ultimately responsible for your educational program and progress. University faculty and staff are eager for you to succeed, and we want to help if we can, but only YOU can make it happen!

Make the Most of Your Advisor

  1. Start the relationship off on a positive note.
    • Check your advisor's office hours (usually posted just outside the office door) to determine a good time to meet or contact him/her.
    • Call or contact your advisor in advance to schedule an appointment. If you are unable to reach your advisor directly, contact the department office to leave a message.
    • Address your advisor appropriately. Use the advisor's professional title (Doctor Smith or Professor Smith), rather than his/her first name, unless you are specifically invited to do so.
    • Arrive at your appointment on time and prepared for the business at hand. You are both busy, and your advisor will appreciate that you recognize and are considerate of the constraints on their time.
    • If you can't keep an appointment, try to contact your advisor in advance and reschedule.
  2. Go prepared! Take along
    • a copy of your transfer evaluation form (if you transferred any courses to the University)
    • an outline of a proposed schedule / list of classes for next semester
    • a list of any questions you might have