How to Thrive in College (Hint: Syllabus)

Written by: Oak Hills Christian College

Monday, January 23, 2017


"Please read the syllabus carefully before Wednesday, along with chapter one," a professor would say on the first day of class. Some professors would have students sign the back of the syllabus, and some would even hand out a syllabus quiz!

So what is the deal with this piece of paper that is so seemingly unimportant, yet so emphasized?
A syllabus, in short, is the professor's contract with his or her students, and it's filled with clues about how to succeed in the course. It lists:

The professor's contact information, including office location, phone number, email address, and office hours (days/times he or she is available to help students). Ask any successful alumni, and they’ll tell you it’s crucial to build relationship with the professor. Professors love to answer any questions students may have, and (*wink*) remember students that put in extra effort when it’s time to write recommendation letters. No rsvp is required to visit professors unless the syllabus states, "by appointment only."

A semester outline that covers topics you'll be responsible to learn and a schedule of what will be covered each week. Use this to plan your semester ahead, or catch up after missing a class.

The grading rubric that lists the worth of each assignment and exam. Read this section carefully to plan your study schedule. If the exam is worth 25 percent, you should spend more time studying for the exam than writing a paper only worth 15 percent. However, note that failing to turn in the paper (worth 15%), will automatically result in a course grade B or lower.

Attendance Policy. Oak Hills Christian College considers class attendance to be a vital part of education and expects students to regularly attend class. As a rule, an Oak Hills student who misses more than 25% of the class sessions (excused or unexcused) will fail the course. However, as each instructor has the prerogative to adopt a more stringent attendance policy it is imperative to read the syllabus carefully.

Academic Integrity Policy. Oak Hills Christian College stands on the principles of truth and honesty as essential biblical principles for life. It is expected that these principles will be followed in all academic activity. Plagiarism will be confronted and may result in suspension or dismissal from OHCC, and all syllabi will state the policy to remind students of this universal policy.

As a student attending Oak Hills Christian College, you will be immersed in study of the Word of God. What you will learn in a few short years will exceed what many spend a lifetime to acquire. A syllabus exists to guide you through a wave of information, and offer a game plan to stay on top of student’s workload. Form the right study habits early on, and you'll soon be thriving at college and making the most out of the Oak Hills Christian College experience.


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