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The International Student Blog

Going to Class: Make Every Cent Count

Posted on September 4th, 2015 by Bryanna Davis

class helpFor many students, attending college as an international student is also the first time you’ll experience a taste of freedom. Living with friends, setting your own curfew, hitting snooze on the alarm with no one forcing you to wake up – really just becoming independent. However, having this boost of freedom and being the only one responsible for you often leads many students into patterns of laziness, especially when it comes to going to class.

An international education is an investment you decided was worth it, and although campus life has a huge social aspect to it, it’s easy to forget that you’re not in college to simply make lifelong friends or for the cultural experience. Here are 5 reasons why going to class can enrich your entire college experience socially, professionally, and academically.

1. MAKE YOUR MONEY WORTH IT
Once you begin the semester and begin settling into a routine it is easy to forget how much your new life is actually costing you. Most full-time schedules range from 12-16 credit hours. The number of credit hours for a class varies from university to university; however, a basic course is typically 3 credit hours. Life happens and there will be times where you may have to miss a class, but it is good to keep in mind that your full-time job at the moment is to be a student. As a student your goal is to learn, so going to class shouldn’t be something optional – it should be your main priority.

It is easy to not feel guilty for missing class, especially if you consider yourself a very independent student; however when you start to calculate how much money you´re spending out of pocket to attend class it may put it into perspective. The cost of university courses are based on how many credits a class is; per credit prices can range from $300 up to $1600 per unit. What does this mean? That means that your 3-unit ANTH 101 class could be costing you $900 to $4,800.

Going to class basically means you’re getting your money’s worth. By skipping class you’re potentially throwing away thousands of dollars and not taking advantage of the opportunities each course could offer you.

2. YOU ARE NOT IN HIGH SCHOOL (Secondary School) ANYMORE
Professors are a different breed of teachers compared to what you may have been used to in high school. Most professors are interested in student engagement and how students interpret the material. You may find that some exams are mostly open-ended
questions, which means that you cannot simply study the night before- you will need to know the material. When exam day
arrives you will have to be able to pull examples and make references to material you have been discussing throughout the course.

In high school teachers were often there to guide you, teach you study methods, and provide you with all the material you´ll need in class. University courses are quite different and vary immensely depending on each individual professor. Some professors
may compliment their lectures with PowerPoint presentations, but there are many who may not. Whether there is a visual aid or
not what you need to keep in mind is that the most important information from the lecture is what is coming out of your professor’s mouth. Sometimes you may have a professor who like to be helpful and make it a point to say, “This will be on the exam.” If you are not in class to hear it, you just missed out.

Pop quizzes, or surprise exams, are also great resource for college professors to measure where their students in the class are. Most university courses place a huge percentage of the grade on final exams, these pop quizzes help a professor gauge how
the class is following the material and are often used as part of the participation grade.

3. MAKE CLASSES PART OF YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
Just because you take your education seriously, doesn’t mean that there can’t be a social aspect to learning. Going to class, is actually a great way to meet people. Sometimes the class material can be quite challenging so creating study groups is a good way to prepare for an exam. Your classmates may have understood concepts you didn’t quite catch and vice versa. If you never go to class though, you may miss out on these opportunities

4. BEGIN CREATING YOUR PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Students often forget that many college professors also participate in some type of research with the university. In reality, the person standing in front of you could be one of the leading figures in their chosen field and you have the privilege to hear them speak a few hours every week.

On a college campus there are always events going on and something new for students to participate in. It is always smart to get to know your professors because their advice may lead you in the right direction professionally. Creating a good relationship with your professors could help you in the future if you need references, and your professors remember who you were. With so many students you have to make yourself stand out. Although professors offer office hours which you should also
take advantage of, being an active participant in class will also help.

5. REMIND YOURSELF THAT LEARNING IS FUN
Although you will have classes specific to your major, most universities require some type of general education (GE) or core classes. Because these GE courses are not specific to you major it is easy to discard them, but part of the international education experience is to get out of your comfort zone and explore new things.

Written by Bryanna Davis

Bryanna joined EIC in 2011 after returning to the United States from teaching English in China. Her interest in international education, sparked initially by her own study abroad experience in Wales, led her to the company. Bryanna is originally from Missouri and is a graduate from the University of Central Missouri.

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