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PLEASE NOTE: This site is still being updated for 2014. This site will be fully updated on May 16, the date Mailing #1 will be mailed to students.

How to Succeed at Carleton: Advice from the Class of '13

  • Each term, take one class you have to take, one class you want to take, and something random!
  • Audit a few classes!
  • Ask for help with technology early and often. Yes, there are stupid questions, and yes, you'll have to ask them, because sometimes you need someone to show you where the power button is, and there's just no getting around that if you want to learn.
  • Know when it's time to sleep
  • Be academically fearless. You got in to Carleton; if you have the prerequisites for a class, you will do fine. In the end, you will regret the classes that you never tried so much more than the classes you wish you hadn't taken.
  • Don't let the academic rigor keep you from prioritizing personal relationships. When things get stressful, those relationships are what keep you sane.
  • College is too short for taking certain classes out of feeling like you "ought."  Select your courses based on what genuinely interests you, and the distribution requirements tend to work themselves out over four years.
  • Work as much or as little as you need to in order to feel proud of what you've done. No more, no less.
  • If you have an assignment that you really care about, challenge yourself not to procrastinate. Give it the time it deserves, because it sucks to have to turn something in just when you're really getting into it.
  • Go now and connect with a professor as your friend and mentor. They love you and really want you to come and talk to them frequently about more than just your class.
  • If you do double major, do one of your comps as a junior. 
  • Don't let your parents dictate your education.
  • Use your support systems!  The Academic Support Center, Career Center, and all the centers are here to help YOU.
  • Always be humble. Ask questions!!
  • Get excited about the classes you are about to take.  The more enthusiasm and energy you bring to your classes the more you will get out of them.
  • Study abroad!  I was surprised at how much I learned simply by being in a new place with new professors and classmates.
  • Take an Art class if you're a Science person, and a Science class if you're an Art person. There is more in common between the two than first meets the eye.
  • Know that no matter how daunting the assignment seems, you will never have to tackle it completely alone. Your classmates, prefects, peer tutors, and professors are all there to help you; you just have to ask.
  • The internet can be your best and worst friend. Treat it with caution.
  • You cannot finish ALL of your homework—don’t try to read and take notes on every page, or try to perfect every word of every paper or Moodle post. It’s just not possible. Decide beforehand how much time you can devote to an assignment, then sit down, do your best, and move on.
  • Get a libe locker! Put all work in there, and separate work from the rest of your life.
  • If you don’t understand something, be proactive and get help before you fall behind.
  • Meet with your professors! Office hours are not as scary as you think. Even if you’re a slacker from time to time (like me) they can give you guidance.
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Almost everyone here is lovely and wants to help. Make friends.
  • Waitlist for things you want to get into!
  • Ask for EXTENSIONS! If you need time, your class dean can help you!
  • Stress if you don’t tend to stress. Don’t stress if you tend to stress.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new!
  • More time does not necessarily mean better studying. Make sure you adopt your studying strategies for different courses.
  • EXPLORE
  • Go to office hours and PLAN to work on your paper immediately afterward.
  • Take classes in as many departments as possible your first year. 
  • Don’t be afraid to underload (especially senior year), and don’t be afraid to take a class that interests you but might be out of your comfort zone.
  • JSTOR is usually not recommended reading…it is required…
  • If you feel the impulse to do homework, definitely take advantage of that—but if you just can’t focus, give yourself a break! 8 hours in the libe is almost never totally productive.
  • Study with friends, but learn how to do work alone as well.
  • Go. To. Class. Also, see profs about papers. They like that.
  • Work hard, try new things, push yourself, and get to know your professors, but remember that you are a person before you are a student.
  • Take advantage of the academic resources available as early as possible.  It makes doing more advanced work and especially COMPS so much easier if you have practiced some of the same independent research techniques--using reference librarians, ILL, search databases, and reference management tools--in previous projects, even when it may not be entirely necessary.
  • If you find a subject you think you'd enjoy if it were easier for you, keep doing it--it will get easier, and you'll get bored doing something you found easy from the start.
  • Read through an entire course catalog. Knowing what is offered not only helps you plan what you want to do, but allows you to discover classes and topics that you might have never considered. Those can be some of the best classes.
  • Save yourself some time right now and ask for help. Then, use that saved time for somebody who needs help.