Selected for common reading at University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County

This updated classic gives students the tools they need to successfully transition from high school to college, avoid rookie mistakes, and set themselves up for academic success from day one. 

College can be the most exciting time in your life, but it also throws you into the deep end, with new academic and social responsibilities often seeming impossible to juggle. College Rules! will save you time and trouble, setting you up for academic success from the get-go. Whether you’re graduating at the top of your high school class or returning to college as an adult, this updated and expanded edition offers practical advice on how to successfully transition into college. Including tips and strategies that won’t ever be taught in lectures, you’ll learn how to:

- Study smarter—not harder
- Use technology in the classroom
- Choose an app for every occasion
- Excel at time management [Read: Balance homework and parties]
- Stay motivated—even in those “yawn” classes
- Plan a manageable course schedule
- Interact effectively with profs
- Become a research ace—online and at the library
- Survive the stress of exam week
- Set yourself up for stellar recommendations

With sad but true stories that teach tough lessons the easy way and inside scoops that provide advice based on actual research, College Rules! will help you make the most of your college years.
How to Use College Rules!
Although the primary audience for College Rules! is students heading off to campus, we believe there is valuable information here for students at any point in their college career. (We even know some graduate students who would benefit.) However, our major goal is helping college freshmen make the often treacherous transition from learning in high school to learning in college.

To this end, approach reading College Rules! in any way that suits your needs. You can read it the traditional way—start with chapter 1 and read through to the end in consecutive order. If you’re a high school student who will be starting college, this ordered approach might be the best. 

You can also use College Rules! as an at-your-fingertips reference for college success. If you feel a bit hesitant as you’re packing up your stuff to head off to campus, read chapters 5, 9, and 10. If you’re getting ready to take your first college exams (and you haven’t even opened this book yet), read chapters 22, 23, and 24. If you can’t manage your time worth a hoot, read chapter 7. And everyone can probably benefit from reading chapter 6, “Learning 2.0: Technology, College, and You,” early on. In other words, we suggest that you read (or reread) the chapters you think will benefit you at any particular time.

With the second approach, however, we offer a few words of caution. We know for a fact that learning in college is a complex process that involves using all of your senses to learn—you use your vision when you read, you speak in discussion, you listen in class, you touch as you create. Being successful is not about doing this or that. Being successful is usually about doing this and that (and then doing some more). There’s no one particular suggestion in College Rules! that’s guaranteed to make you a better student. There are no “magic beans” for college success. Rather, we have provided you with a comprehensive guide to help you hit the campus running at least ten paces ahead of your fellow students. 

We wish you the very best of luck as you begin your college journey and hope that, as so many students who had success with the first three editions did, you email us and let us know what you think. Enjoy yourself and have fun—but get your work done, too! College Rules! will show you how.

Sherrie Nist-Olejnik, PhD, is a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia who lives with her husband in Athens, Georgia. 

View titles by Sherrie Nist-Olejnik
Jodi Patrick Holschuh, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University who lives with her husband and two children in Austin, Texas. Together they have helped thousands of students transition to college successfully. View titles by Jodi Patrick Holschuh
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xiii
Introduction 01
01 You’re in the Big Time Now 08
Doing College
But What If I Wasn’t the World’s Greatest High School Student?
Six Ways College Differs from High School
Start Off Strong  
02 Where to Find the Help You Need 22 
I Need Help!
Getting Hassle-Free Help  
03 A Few Words about Professors 31
Just What the Heck Do Professors Do?
I Have an Appointment with One of “Them”—Now What?
Hangin’ with Your Profs
What Do Your Profs Think about You?  
04 Major Decisions:
Selecting COURSES AND A MAjoR 43 
Help! I Don’t Know What I Want to Do When I Grow Up
Reality Check
So Many Choices!
Why Choosing a Major ≠ Choosing a Career
Racking Up the Credits: How Many Courses Should You Take?
Creating a Balanced Schedule
Working with Your Advisor
Choosing Your Professors
Making a Plan
Withdrawal Symptoms
Know Thy GPA
05 Classes, Work, and Play:
Adjusting to the Demands of College 62
Lots of Changes
Characteristics of Well-Rounded Students  
06 Learning 2.0: Technology, College, and You 74
Tech to Expect
Classroom (N)Etiquette
Classrooms Without Walls
Password Protect Yourself
If You Wouldn’t Put It on Your Resume, Don’t Post It Online
Some Common Social Media Missteps to Avoid
Keep It Clean 
07 Timely Tips: The ABC(& D)s of Time Management 87
The Forty-Hour Mind-Set
The Alphabet Approach: The ABC(& D)s of Managing Your Life
The Advantages of Excelling at Time Management  
08 “I Think I Can, I Think I Can”:
Getting and Staying Motivated 101
Setting Goals You Can Accomplish
Getting Motivated
And Staying Motivated
Reviving Your Motivation  
09 Igniting the Fire:
Discovering Your Inner Learner 113
What Is Your Orientation?
Is Interest Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
Faking It
Who’s to Blame for Success and Failure?
Get Your Learning Groove Back
10 Arrrrrrrgh!:
and Other Ways to Handle Stress 123
Good Stress/Bad Stress
What Causes College Stress?
Academic Stress
Nonacademic College Stress
What Does Stress Do to You?
Reducing Stress Levels  
11 What’s It All About?:
Understanding How You Learn 134
Profiles of Amazing Students
How the Learning Thing REALLY Works
Learning Matters  
12 Can You Believe That? 144
How Certain Are You?
Is It Really That Simple?
How Quick Should Learning Be?
Who’s in Charge?
Are You Math-Brained or English-Brained?
Transforming Your Beliefs  
13 Shhhhh . . . A Moment of Silence, Please:
Concentrating While You Study 155
Creating a First-Rate Learning Environment
Getting Rid of Distractions
Seven Ways to Improve Concentration  
14 Your Course Syllabus Is Your Friend 166 
Anatomy of a Syllabus
What Can Your Syllabus Do for You?  
15 What’s Up, Doc?: Understanding
Your Prof’s Expectations 176
Why Bother Figuring Out the Tasks?
Figuring It Out
But What If You Still Don’t Get It?
Smart Strategy Selection  
16 Take Note! 187
Write On: Some Terrific Note-Taking Tips
Be Creative: Use the Split-Page Method of Note Taking
You’re Almost There: Self-Testing Using the Split-Page Method
Different Strokes for Different Folks: Modifying the Split-Page Method
Should You Use a Laptop (or Tablet, or Phone) in Class?
To Help or Not to Help: Online Lecture Notes
17 Words! Words! Words! 203
How Can I Be in College and Still Need to Learn New Words?
Building Your Vocabulary
Using Context
Using the Dictionary or Glossary
Using Word Structure
Knowing a Word
18 Active Reading 216
Reading for Learning
Warming Up: Previewing Before You Read
Annotation: Text Messages for Active Reading
The Nuts and Bolts of Annotation
A Sample Annotation
Studying Your Annotations
Reading on the Screen
19 Three Rs and an M: Remembering What
You Have Read and Heard 232
Reflecting: Thinking about Information
Rehearsing: Getting Information into Your Memory
Reviewing: Keeping Information in Memory
Monitoring Your Learning  
20 Studying Smarter 247
Being Flexible: Selecting and Modifying Strategies
Acting like Einstein: Studying in the Sciences
Beyond Freud and Mead: Studying in the Social Sciences
The Art of the Dance: Studying in the Humanities
Parlez-vous Français?: Studying Foreign Languages
X + Y = What?: Studying Mathematics  
21 Everything You Wanted to Know
about Research and Presentations
but Were Afraid to Ask 262
Finding Resources in the Library and on the Web
Forget the Five-Paragraph Essay
The Confusing World of Plagiarism
Creating First-Rate Presentations  
22 It’s More than Multiple Guess: Prepping
for and Taking Objective Exams 276
Studying for Objective Exams
Tips for Taking Objective Exams
Exams Go High Tech
Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe . . . If You Have to Guess
An A+ for You: Evaluating Your Test Performance  
23 Bluebook Blues: Prepping for and
Taking Essay Exams 289 
Studying for Essay Exams
It’s All in the Way It’s Worded
Elements of a Good Essay
Put It in Writing
24 Is That Your Final Answer? 301
Smart Exam Prep
A Word about Cramming
Surviving Midterms and Finals  
25 Just the FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions 310 
One Final, Unsolicited Piece of Advice  
About the authors 315
Index 317

About

Selected for common reading at University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County

This updated classic gives students the tools they need to successfully transition from high school to college, avoid rookie mistakes, and set themselves up for academic success from day one. 

College can be the most exciting time in your life, but it also throws you into the deep end, with new academic and social responsibilities often seeming impossible to juggle. College Rules! will save you time and trouble, setting you up for academic success from the get-go. Whether you’re graduating at the top of your high school class or returning to college as an adult, this updated and expanded edition offers practical advice on how to successfully transition into college. Including tips and strategies that won’t ever be taught in lectures, you’ll learn how to:

- Study smarter—not harder
- Use technology in the classroom
- Choose an app for every occasion
- Excel at time management [Read: Balance homework and parties]
- Stay motivated—even in those “yawn” classes
- Plan a manageable course schedule
- Interact effectively with profs
- Become a research ace—online and at the library
- Survive the stress of exam week
- Set yourself up for stellar recommendations

With sad but true stories that teach tough lessons the easy way and inside scoops that provide advice based on actual research, College Rules! will help you make the most of your college years.

Excerpt

How to Use College Rules!
Although the primary audience for College Rules! is students heading off to campus, we believe there is valuable information here for students at any point in their college career. (We even know some graduate students who would benefit.) However, our major goal is helping college freshmen make the often treacherous transition from learning in high school to learning in college.

To this end, approach reading College Rules! in any way that suits your needs. You can read it the traditional way—start with chapter 1 and read through to the end in consecutive order. If you’re a high school student who will be starting college, this ordered approach might be the best. 

You can also use College Rules! as an at-your-fingertips reference for college success. If you feel a bit hesitant as you’re packing up your stuff to head off to campus, read chapters 5, 9, and 10. If you’re getting ready to take your first college exams (and you haven’t even opened this book yet), read chapters 22, 23, and 24. If you can’t manage your time worth a hoot, read chapter 7. And everyone can probably benefit from reading chapter 6, “Learning 2.0: Technology, College, and You,” early on. In other words, we suggest that you read (or reread) the chapters you think will benefit you at any particular time.

With the second approach, however, we offer a few words of caution. We know for a fact that learning in college is a complex process that involves using all of your senses to learn—you use your vision when you read, you speak in discussion, you listen in class, you touch as you create. Being successful is not about doing this or that. Being successful is usually about doing this and that (and then doing some more). There’s no one particular suggestion in College Rules! that’s guaranteed to make you a better student. There are no “magic beans” for college success. Rather, we have provided you with a comprehensive guide to help you hit the campus running at least ten paces ahead of your fellow students. 

We wish you the very best of luck as you begin your college journey and hope that, as so many students who had success with the first three editions did, you email us and let us know what you think. Enjoy yourself and have fun—but get your work done, too! College Rules! will show you how.

Author

Sherrie Nist-Olejnik, PhD, is a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia who lives with her husband in Athens, Georgia. 

View titles by Sherrie Nist-Olejnik
Jodi Patrick Holschuh, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University who lives with her husband and two children in Austin, Texas. Together they have helped thousands of students transition to college successfully. View titles by Jodi Patrick Holschuh

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xiii
Introduction 01
01 You’re in the Big Time Now 08
Doing College
But What If I Wasn’t the World’s Greatest High School Student?
Six Ways College Differs from High School
Start Off Strong  
02 Where to Find the Help You Need 22 
I Need Help!
Getting Hassle-Free Help  
03 A Few Words about Professors 31
Just What the Heck Do Professors Do?
I Have an Appointment with One of “Them”—Now What?
Hangin’ with Your Profs
What Do Your Profs Think about You?  
04 Major Decisions:
Selecting COURSES AND A MAjoR 43 
Help! I Don’t Know What I Want to Do When I Grow Up
Reality Check
So Many Choices!
Why Choosing a Major ≠ Choosing a Career
Racking Up the Credits: How Many Courses Should You Take?
Creating a Balanced Schedule
Working with Your Advisor
Choosing Your Professors
Making a Plan
Withdrawal Symptoms
Know Thy GPA
05 Classes, Work, and Play:
Adjusting to the Demands of College 62
Lots of Changes
Characteristics of Well-Rounded Students  
06 Learning 2.0: Technology, College, and You 74
Tech to Expect
Classroom (N)Etiquette
Classrooms Without Walls
Password Protect Yourself
If You Wouldn’t Put It on Your Resume, Don’t Post It Online
Some Common Social Media Missteps to Avoid
Keep It Clean 
07 Timely Tips: The ABC(& D)s of Time Management 87
The Forty-Hour Mind-Set
The Alphabet Approach: The ABC(& D)s of Managing Your Life
The Advantages of Excelling at Time Management  
08 “I Think I Can, I Think I Can”:
Getting and Staying Motivated 101
Setting Goals You Can Accomplish
Getting Motivated
And Staying Motivated
Reviving Your Motivation  
09 Igniting the Fire:
Discovering Your Inner Learner 113
What Is Your Orientation?
Is Interest Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
Faking It
Who’s to Blame for Success and Failure?
Get Your Learning Groove Back
10 Arrrrrrrgh!:
and Other Ways to Handle Stress 123
Good Stress/Bad Stress
What Causes College Stress?
Academic Stress
Nonacademic College Stress
What Does Stress Do to You?
Reducing Stress Levels  
11 What’s It All About?:
Understanding How You Learn 134
Profiles of Amazing Students
How the Learning Thing REALLY Works
Learning Matters  
12 Can You Believe That? 144
How Certain Are You?
Is It Really That Simple?
How Quick Should Learning Be?
Who’s in Charge?
Are You Math-Brained or English-Brained?
Transforming Your Beliefs  
13 Shhhhh . . . A Moment of Silence, Please:
Concentrating While You Study 155
Creating a First-Rate Learning Environment
Getting Rid of Distractions
Seven Ways to Improve Concentration  
14 Your Course Syllabus Is Your Friend 166 
Anatomy of a Syllabus
What Can Your Syllabus Do for You?  
15 What’s Up, Doc?: Understanding
Your Prof’s Expectations 176
Why Bother Figuring Out the Tasks?
Figuring It Out
But What If You Still Don’t Get It?
Smart Strategy Selection  
16 Take Note! 187
Write On: Some Terrific Note-Taking Tips
Be Creative: Use the Split-Page Method of Note Taking
You’re Almost There: Self-Testing Using the Split-Page Method
Different Strokes for Different Folks: Modifying the Split-Page Method
Should You Use a Laptop (or Tablet, or Phone) in Class?
To Help or Not to Help: Online Lecture Notes
17 Words! Words! Words! 203
How Can I Be in College and Still Need to Learn New Words?
Building Your Vocabulary
Using Context
Using the Dictionary or Glossary
Using Word Structure
Knowing a Word
18 Active Reading 216
Reading for Learning
Warming Up: Previewing Before You Read
Annotation: Text Messages for Active Reading
The Nuts and Bolts of Annotation
A Sample Annotation
Studying Your Annotations
Reading on the Screen
19 Three Rs and an M: Remembering What
You Have Read and Heard 232
Reflecting: Thinking about Information
Rehearsing: Getting Information into Your Memory
Reviewing: Keeping Information in Memory
Monitoring Your Learning  
20 Studying Smarter 247
Being Flexible: Selecting and Modifying Strategies
Acting like Einstein: Studying in the Sciences
Beyond Freud and Mead: Studying in the Social Sciences
The Art of the Dance: Studying in the Humanities
Parlez-vous Français?: Studying Foreign Languages
X + Y = What?: Studying Mathematics  
21 Everything You Wanted to Know
about Research and Presentations
but Were Afraid to Ask 262
Finding Resources in the Library and on the Web
Forget the Five-Paragraph Essay
The Confusing World of Plagiarism
Creating First-Rate Presentations  
22 It’s More than Multiple Guess: Prepping
for and Taking Objective Exams 276
Studying for Objective Exams
Tips for Taking Objective Exams
Exams Go High Tech
Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe . . . If You Have to Guess
An A+ for You: Evaluating Your Test Performance  
23 Bluebook Blues: Prepping for and
Taking Essay Exams 289 
Studying for Essay Exams
It’s All in the Way It’s Worded
Elements of a Good Essay
Put It in Writing
24 Is That Your Final Answer? 301
Smart Exam Prep
A Word about Cramming
Surviving Midterms and Finals  
25 Just the FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions 310 
One Final, Unsolicited Piece of Advice  
About the authors 315
Index 317