It is perfectly fine to enter college undecided about your major -- it may even be a good idea to shop around during your first year. But choosing a major right for you gives you a definite goal to reach, keeping you focused and motivated in your studies.
1. Learn about yourself: Assess your interests, values, skills, abilities
Learn about different occupations
Consolidate all the above information
Students arriving in college for the first time frequently assume that it is much like high school and that the same strategies and study habits that earned them a high school diploma will work equally well at Blinn College. But college is not high school, and those old study habits may turn out to be inadequate. With that in mind, the following tips are offered to help you navigate the semester and achieve academic success. (Please note that these suggestions, while generally valid, should never supersede the particular guidelines of your instructor.)
Register for classes as early as possible, in order to assure that you get the courses you want and need. If you register late, you may end up taking courses for which you are not yet prepared.
Budget your time. You will need to spend an average of two to three hours of study time outside class for each hour in class. For example: if you are taking a 15 hour course load, be prepared to study at least 30 hours each week.
Balance work and school hours using the following guidelines:
Before you register for a course, consult the Course Schedule. Check on the prerequisites for courses before you register, and never enroll in a course for which you lack the prerequisites. Knowing the prerequisites and requirements for earning your degree is your responsibility.
Be realistic when structuring your class schedule. If you will have trouble getting to an 8 a.m. class, don’t register for it. Get an alarm clock so you don’t miss classes. Register for courses that meet at the time of day you are most alert (if you’re not a “morning person”, register for afternoon or evening sections of courses).
Get to know an advisor or mentor on campus with whom you can go with questions.
Get to know your instructors. Do not be afraid to ask questions or make appointments to talk with them. If you have a specific problem in a course, make an appointment to meet with your instructor during office hours. In a conference, the instructor can clarify the nature of an assignment; explain why you received a particular grade on an assignment, etc. But don’t make an appointment just to impress the instructor with your earnestness. Teachers can see through such strategies. And if you make an appointment, keep it. It’s very inconsiderate not to show up, nor will it help your standing with the instructor.
Get started on the very first day of classes.* Begin studying the very first night of the semester. Don’t wait until the weekend, or the second week, or the first test. By then, you will be hopelessly behind. You may hear students say that the “the first week doesn’t count”. Don’t believe it! And it’s much easier to master material if you’re not always trying to catch up.
Utilize the facilities on campus for academic and personal help. These services are paid for by your student service fees whether or not you use them:
The Center for Student Development and Counseling Offices offer counseling and workshops directed toward time management, career services, handling of stress, and non-academic problems.
Free tutoring is available at the Learning Center
The Writers Network offers writing tutoring
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Utilize these services at the first sign of academic difficulty.
If you find yourself in a course that’s obviously wrong for you, drop it early so that you can enroll in another course to replace it. That’s what the add-drop period is for. And be aware of all drop dates, in case you need to drop a course later in the semester.
NEVER ASSUME THAT YOU WILL BE DROPPED FROM A COURSE JUST BECAUSE YOU STOP ATTENDING. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DROP A COURSE. Pay close attention to the drop dates listed in the Course Schedule and follow the procedure for dropping classes exactly as stated
Try to balance your course load; don’t register for only problem courses or only reading courses.
Sit near the front of the classroom, especially if the section is large. It’s easier to hear and to ask questions, and the temptation to doze is less.
And do ask questions. Most instructors will welcome the opportunity to explain or to elaborate.
Read the course syllabus, and follow it. The syllabus is basically a contract between the instructor and student. By taking the course, you agree that you will do the work as specified on the syllabus. The syllabus is also your road map to the course, telling you what to expect and when tests and assignments are due. If you have questions about it, ask.
Always read your assignment, or do the assigned problems, before you come to class. A lecture on unfamiliar material can be incomprehensible. And if you’ve completed, or even attempted, assigned problems, you’ll know ahead of time what questions you need to ask.
For reading courses especially, mark up your textbook as you read. At the end of the semester, it should look like a used book. Underline important passages. Make notes in the margin of your questions or related thoughts or ideas. Doing these things will help you make the material your own. It also makes reviewing for tests easier, since you have in effect created a map of what is important in the material, and of your own thoughts about it. Another option is to take separate notes as you read.
Attend class faithfully. It’s impossible to do justice to the course, or to do well in it, if you’re not consistently present.
Begin studying for tests well ahead of time. Last-minute cram sessions are less productive than sustained preparation.
Start preparing for final exams ahead of time, just as you did for earlier tests. If you’ve kept up with your work all semester, finals shouldn’t pose a particularly difficult problem. But if you’ve just done the minimum all semester, finals week is too late to make up the difference.
Keep a file of all correspondence from the college as well as copies of fee statements, drop/add forms, etc.
Do not depend on satisfying degree requirements during the summer semesters. Course offerings are limited.
Usually two to three hours outside class for each hour spent in class. This can be a big adjustment from high school work loads, depending on what your high school was like and what classes you took. Many students report that they studied less than six hours a week in high school. That means the first year of college will be very different from the last year of high school. Remember that faculty members have a tremendous commitment to and love for their discipline. They are genuinely excited about it and hope others will be enthusiastic as well.
A college education helps prepare you to solve unscripted problems and to be ready to make a real contribution to a “diverse and complex world.” Through hard work, you are learning the virtues of tenacity, time management, self-discipline, and the love of a subject area greater than yourself. You're preparing yourself to meet the challenges of life after college.
Talk to your Instructor. It can be hard to say, "I don't understand," but almost all faculty members are happy to talk with students outside of class. Check their office hours, stop by, and talk to them after class. You can also go to the Learning Center, where tutors can help you improve your writing and mathematics skills. The Counseling Offices have counselors and advisors who are available to talk with you about your concerns.
Attending classes is essential to being successful in college. If you're not there, you can't be learning. Please don't expect the instructor to go over material you have missed. You will need to rely on other students for that. Check course syllabi for attendance policies and consequences for non-attendance.
Most instructors will excuse the occasional exceptional absence if you can provide written verification of illness from a doctor. Excused absences do not, however, excuse you from the requirements of the course. If you must miss an exam because of illness, call or e-mail your instructor before the absence. Talk with your instructor immediately following an absence to get advice about making up missed work.
It is a mistake to think that nothing happens on the first day of class. During this important first day, the instructor sets the tone for the semester, answers questions, reviews the syllabus, and usually lectures on some initial component of the course.
Students with documented disabilities may seek support from Blinn College’s Office of Disability Services.
Students are encouraged to contact this office as early as possible to initiate services. To make an appointment or to receive more information about services on all campuses, please call the Office of Disability Services at (979) 830-4157.
Numerous scholarships are available for Blinn College students. Students interested in applying for college scholarships should call (979) 830-4144 on the Brenham campus, (979) 209-7230 on the Bryan Campus, (979) 743-5200 on the Schulenburg campus or (979) 627-7997 on the Sealy campus. Scholarship application deadlines are noted on the official college calendar.
Applications can be obtained from the Blinn College web page under Quicklinks, Scholarships
The campus bookstore carries textbooks for all classes, plus various school and office supplies. It is recommended that when buying books, you have your schedules to help ensure you get the correct books. Books must be paid for at the time of purchase, with cash, check, credit card, or a financial aid voucher (funds permitting). New books should not be marked in until you are sure you have the right books.
Blinn College has four campuses located in: Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg, and Sealy.
College progress is normally determined by a grade point average or ratio. Grade points are calculated by assigning values to each grade. The value is illustrated below.
Grade Points Per Semester Hour
I, W, WP, WF, IP
A grade point average is the ratio of grade points earned to credit hours completed. The grade point average (GPA) can be computed easily using grade points (A=4, B=3, etc.) as illustrated in the following example of one student’s semester grades.
BIOL 1413 .................B = 3 grade points x (4) semester hours = 12 points
ENGL 2331 ................C = 2 grade points x (3) semester hours = 6 points
ACCT 2401 ................A = 4 grade points x (4) semester hours = 16 points
PSYC 2301 ................A = 4 grade points x (3) semester hours = 12 points
KINE 1101 .................D = 1 grade point x (1) semester hour = 1 point
TOTALS .....................15 semester hours = 47 points
Grade point average (GPA) = 47 divided by 15 = 3.13
It is important to remember that in determining GPA, grades of F and WF count as hours attempted. Grades of I, IP, W, and WP do not count as hours attempted.
A student I. D. card is your official college identification card. It should be carried at all times and presented upon request. The I. D. card entitles you to be admitted to specific college sponsored events, to exercise college voting privileges, to check out library books, to sell textbooks, and to participate in any other specified functions sponsored by the College. The I.D. with a meal plan code (Brenham Campus) must be presented in the dining hall for each meal. Because the meal is coded on the card, students without a card will not be allowed in the cafeteria until a new card is purchased. The I. D. card should never be loaned to anyone for any purpose. If an I. D. card is lost, a new one may be purchased for a fee of $7 to be paid in Enrollment Services.
It is your responsibility to obtain a student vehicle parking permit for each vehicle that you intend to operate on campus. These permits are available at the time of registration and subsequently are available at the Enrollment Services office. In order to purchase a student vehicle parking permit, you must supply the vehicle’s year and license plate number.
Peer and professional tutoring is provided for many subjects, including math, foreign language, and writing through the Learning Center. Services are free to all Blinn students who present a valid Blinn ID card.
Part-time student worker jobs are available periodically in various offices throughout the campus. Job search and application is available online through the Human Resources web page.