Have you ever struggled when it comes to studying? Or is your transition to college level work more rigorous than you expected? For some students the jump from high school to college is more than just a new living environment.
California Polytechnic Institute State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) freshman have reported to study 3-5 hours per week during high school. This is probably due to the fact that high school students are in class for about 30 hours a week. In college, student class time is cut drastically, at times less than 15 hours per week. Due to this cutback in class hours, college students are expected to study more in their own time, yet since most only studied a few hours a week when in high school, this change is often difficult.
A recent program known as the College of Science and Mathematics 25-35 Study Program has shown that “at Cal Poly, the most successful students are on the 25/35 study plan.” This study plan is based on the idea that one must study at least 2 hours per unit, per week. Assuming that students take on 13-17 units per quarter/semester, students must study 26-34 hours outside of class. This averages to 3.7-4.8 hours of studying per day, including weekends.
After speaking to students currently attending college, the idea of studying so many hours shocked them and many admitted to not studying enough. They instead supplied helpful hints on how they study and how they keep their minds focused.
Leigh Sanders, currently attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) says that taking short brisk walk breaks, helps keep her focused when studying.
“If I find that I can’t focus on my readings I get up and stretch my legs a little. If it’s not too hot outside, I go for a short walk around my building. I find that the cold helps me stay awake.”
Leigh also suggests switching study spots when loosing focus.
“Sometimes I just get my books and go outside for a while. When I’m in my room I can get distracted if my roommates are reading aloud or listening to music. I guess the fresh air I get helps too.”
Stacey Pavia, a student from San Diego State University (SDSU) uses a different approach when motivating herself to study.
“Sometimes it can be easy, I need to study because I don’t want to fail. But most of the time I tell myself that studying is a lot better than exercising. I see it as a half-cup kind of thing…I tell myself that exercising is a lot worse and then I feel more motivated.”
Stacey, like some students, encourages herself to study by comparing studying to something she highly dislikes, in her case it was exercising. Once she realized that her situation could be worse, studying became a lot easier.
Another student, Erik Ostlund, currently attending California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) suggests taking good notes and paying attention in class.
“I don’t like reading from the book much so I take really good notes during lecture and I only refer to the book when I didn’t understand something in class. I also go and ask help from my professors during office hours. This really helps when you want individual attention because most students don’t take advantage of office hours.”
Even with the expectation of studying a lot more than you did in high school, college can be an easier transition if you learn to prepare yourself. Try looking over your books before the start of the quarter/semester and always take advantage of the free tutoring & individual attention your professors and campus provide. A transition into college may not come easily, but in due time students grow accustomed to the “25/35” study week.
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