We all know what a course syllabus is. A syllabus is a contract created by your professor to give you information that is essential to successfully completing your course. The syllabus most often includes:
- Course description and objectives including professor expectations
- Summary of what will be covered in the course
- Contact information for your professor
- Assignments and due dates
- Exams and research papers
- Course policies and procedures
- Required books and materials
- Grading scale
- Mandatory meetings or out of class activities
- Pretty important information right?
When I was in undergraduate the professor would print out the syllabus and go over it on the first day of class. The information age has brought about changes. With the increase of Blackboard, Moodle, and other education management platforms, many universities and professors have gone paperless. With this technology comes the expectation that students bookmark, save, or print their syllabus.
College is not like high school where you receive numerous reminders about upcoming assignments. What I’ve found in my years as a student and years as an intern supervisor, mentor, and parent is that many college students don’t give a course syllabus the value and attention it deserves. Many questions students have can be answered by reading the syllabus in its entirety. Reading your syllabus eliminates guesswork. A planner and binder (or section in your binder) dedicated to each course are excellent tools to get organized but your syllabus is one of the most important tools to stay on track in each course.
BONUS: Reading your syllabi from each course allows you to compare assignment and test dates, create a study schedule, potentially link assignments together, and hopefully avoid a bit of overwhelm.
Nicki Sanders is an experienced trainer, group facilitator, and program manager. She has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and over 15 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a training and professional development company. Packaged For Success provides career coaching to college students, entry-level job hunters, and experienced employees seeking a promotion. Packaged For Success also offers communication and productivity improvement training for employees and supervisors and provides consultation on building sustainable, impactful, socially responsible corporate programs.
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