How to Succeed in College

“I thought it was gonna be like in the movies. You know, inspirational music … a montage, me sharpening my pencils, me reading, writing, falling asleep on a big pile of books with my glasses all crooked, ‘cause in my montage I have glasses.” [Willow nods] “But real life is slow, and it’s starting to hurt my occipital lobe.”
Buffy in Buffy – The Vampire Slayer

College/university is very different from school. Yet, superficially, it might look similar.

Personally, I tell my students that people giving courses at the university are not teachers but scientists. And that a minute spend on teaching is a minute lost on research, which means less chance of getting tenure. I then continue with telling them that this teaching is an offer they can and should use — and which they should respect. I am investing in their teaching. So far, the experiences are really good.

However, there are a lot of things that are important to know, and if you do not have someone around for a basic orientation, the Coursera Course “How to Succeed in College” might be interesting.

I have listened into two video lectures so far and — among others — they also address the issue mentioned above. The also go into note taking and other interesting issues.

Even if you do not want to do the MOOC, just listening to the lectures alone might be worthwhile. You can easily download them with DownThemAll, or use the lecture packages page of the course (very considerate :-)):


After all, the right expectations and skills do make a difference.