Engage in Student Life
Think campus organizations are just for graduating high school seniors? Think again! Colleges throughout Mississippi offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities that can help you connect and meet people as well as get involved in your area of study. Whatever your interests, chances are you can find a club or organization to meet your needs! Extracurricular activities exist within student government, athletics, academic and professional organizations, volunteer and service related organizations, multicultural activities, the arts, social clubs and fraternities, and other areas.
Don’t know how to get involved? Check out the university newspaper, union, or institutional website for ideas. Chances are you’ll find people who share your interests and experiences!
What to Expect in College
Good time management skills are critical - you may have to balance family, work, class, homework, and other things that are important to you, such as church or friends.
- Your course schedule will not be set for you. You must arrange it on your own in consultation with your adviser, so know what the requirements are for degree completion. Also, remember that schedules tend to look lighter than they really are.
- Graduation requirements are complex, and differ from year to year. You are expected to know those that apply to you.
- The academic year is usually divided into two separate 15-week semesters, plus a week after each semester for exams. Some colleges operate on a quarter system, where the academic year is divided into four separate quarters. Three 10-week quarters make up the academic year. One quarter is the summer.
- Classes may number 100 students or more.
- Unless you have a photographic memory, you should plan to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. It helps to review class notes and text material regularly.
- You will likely be assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing, which may not be directly addressed in class. You will still be responsible for knowing what you've read.
- Professors may not always check completed homework, but they will assume you can perform the same tasks on tests.
- Professors may not remind you of incomplete work.
- Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance.
- Professors expect and want you to attend their scheduled office hours. If they conflict with work or other obligations, let the professor know, and he or she will likely be happy to schedule an alternate meeting time.
- Professors have been trained as experts in their particular areas of research.
- Professors expect you to get from classmates any notes from classes you missed. Most likely, they will not give your their notes.
- Professors may not follow the textbook. Instead, to amplify the text, they may give illustrations, provide background information, or discuss research about the topic you are studying. Or they may expect you to relate the classes to the textbook readings.
- Professors may lecture nonstop, expecting you to identify the important points in your notes. When professors write on the board, it may be to amplify the lecture, not to summarize it. Good note-taking skills are a must.
- Professors expect you to think about and synthesize seemingly unrelated topics.
- Professors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded.
- Professors may not formally take roll, but they are still likely to know whether or not you attended, especially in smaller upper-level classes.
- Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.
- You, not the professor, need to organize the material to prepare for the test.
- A particular course may have only 2 or 3 tests in a semester.
- Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them.
- Professors in different courses usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities.
- Professors rarely offer review sessions, and when they do, they expect you to be an active participant, one who comes prepared with questions.
- Mastery of the subject is often seen as the ability to apply what you've learned to new situations or to solve new kinds of problems.
- Grades may not be provided for all assigned work.
- Grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade.
- Extra credit projects cannot, generally speaking, be used to raise a grade in a college course.
- Watch out for your first tests. These are usually "wake-up calls" to let you know what is expected--but they also may account for a substantial part of your course grade. You may be shocked when you get your grades.
- You may graduate only if your average in classes meets the departmental standard--check your catalog for your major's standard.
- "Results count." Though "good-faith effort" is important in regard to the professor's willingness to help you achieve good results, it will not substitute for results in the grading process.