What is Expected from You
Knowing what's expected of you is one of the most important aspects of succeeding at the university. Fulfilling these expectations will mean success at PSU. To learn what's expected of you in your classes, refer to the syllabus. The syllabus is your guide to the specific course requirements. The other expectations may be more subtle and may be unique to one professor or one assignment. The tips below are general guidelines that will hip you navigate the requirements that aren't spelled out as clearly.
How to Do It
- Work hard.
- Be prepared.
- Turn your work in on time, and make sure it's complete.
- Schedule time to study, and then follow through.
- Go to every classes.
- Be on time to class.
- Do what you say you'll do.
Who Can Help
While there are many ways you can access support at PSU, when it comes down to it you're in charge of making sure you understand and can fulfill the expectations your professors, mentors, and colleagues have of you. There are many tip sheets and videos available on this site that address specific issues and available resources, but we'll remind you of one of them now: If you need help, get it ASAP so that problems don't get in the way of your success.
Obtaining a university degree is demanding, there's simply no other way to describe it. You have to put a lot of effort into all the work you do. While your professors are experts in their field, they cannot impart knowledge without sincere effort on your part. It simply means you have to try hard to meet the expectations of your course and your degree. What it doesn't mean is that you should suffer when you need help. If a professor asks you to do an assignment or fulfill a guideline using a tool that you've never heard of or don't know how to use (for example, Microsoft Excel) you can and should ask for help. Whenever you're struggling, take advantage of the resources that are here for you. Once you've received the support you need, work diligently to complete the assignment. The take-home message here is this: Your success ultimately depends on you.
Come to class prepared to fully participate. This means you have to complete your assignments and be prepared to discuss them in class. Generally speaking, assigned readings should be completed before your next class, not after. If after doing the assigned reading you find that you're still not comfortable with the material, consider heading to your professor's office hours to ask questions.
Turn Your Work in on Time and Make Sure It's Complete
One of the most fundamental expectations at the university level is that your work will be turned in on time, with all sections and requirements fulfilled. Your professors will also expect all your work to be free of grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors. How do you ensure you've hit all the necessary points before handing in an assignment? First, complete the readings on time. Next, finish your assignment at least one day before it is due. Lastly, review all the requirements, edit your assignment, and turn it in on time. Late assignments will either incur a penalty (receive fewer points) or simply will not be accepted.
Go to Class
Although some professors grade attendance as an incentive to get folks to come to class and participate, many don't—they leave it up to you. However, just because attendance isn't part of your grade doesn't mean they don't expect you to be present at every lecture and discussion session. If you skip class, you're likely to miss information about updates or changes to the syllabus. While professors certainly don't have favorites, they do notice students who attend class and participate and these students almost always do better, both because they get more out of the class itself and because they glean more from their relationship to their professors. Students who demonstrate true ability and effort are more likely to be given second chances on things like tests or assignments and be offered opportunities to make up assignments due to illness or excused absence.
All that said, what it really comes to down to is this: If you want a good grade in the class, you need to be present to learn. Learning what's being taught in class goes beyond taking notes. Everyone misses class occasionally due to illness or life circumstances, but skipping classes is a total waste of your tuition. If you decide you don't want to be in a class, then drop it during the first two weeks of the term so you can get a refund.
Be on Time to Class
Try to be on time to class each day. Walking in late makes a bad impression and is annoying to other folks in the class. Don't show up with headphones on or talking or texting on your cell phone. Show up like you want to be there. Your professional entrance will be noticed.
Do What You Say You'll Do
One area in which new students often struggle is dealing with the expectations other students have of them. Because working as a team can be a challenge, many students either forget or don't understand that living up to the expectations of their classmates is equally as important as meeting the expectations of the professor. Thus, when working in a group it's important to follow through on what you commit to doing while also ensuring that you've taken on a fair share of the work. Failing to meet these expectations can hurt group dynamics, lower the quality of the project, and result in a lower grade for you.
It's also important to keep your commitment whenever you've scheduled an appointment. Whether that appointment is with your project group, the writing center, the health center, or to meet your professor during office hours, show up on time or, if you can't make it, cancel at least twenty-four hours before the appointment. Continually missing appointments or showing up late is a drag on everyone and in some cases, can cost you money ($25 at the health center for missed appointments, for instance).