Try College 101

Course Syllabus for "Try College 101"

Please note: a fully-supported version of this course is available at https://learn.saylor.org/course/view.php?id=348. This legacy version does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.

This course is designed to equip you with the basic academic, professional, and personal skills you will need to be successful in college. You are probably already familiar with some of the skills and topics that will be covered here; other concepts may be brand-new to you. For example, perhaps you have already learned some effective test-taking strategies that work well for you, but you have never heard of the concept of learning styles. Or, you may be familiar with your learning style, but you want to improve your listening skills and learn how to adapt your learning style to a new academic environment. Each student will have a different skill set when he or she starts this course. The point of this course is to give you—a new college student or a person considering a college education—a purposeful, thorough overview of the many tools and skills needed for undergraduate success, as well as to help you understand how you can improve each of these skills over time. Keep in mind that the terms skills, tools, and resources can refer to academic, social, psychological, and emotional skills and techniques as well as physical objects such as books and supplies. You may be tempted to consider some of the broad learning outcomes that are outlined in this course as unimportant for your immediate success in college. For example, you may wonder whether it is really worth your time to think about your long-term career goals or your exercise habits at the very beginning of your college experience. However, having a sense of purpose that motivates you and a lifestyle that supports your ability to focus on your academic goals are the basic building blocks of success in college and beyond. The first unit of this course will help you determine your goals for your college education. In other words, you will have the opportunity to thoughtfully answer the question, why am I pursuing an undergraduate degree? Knowing the answer to this question will help you stay motivated when you encounter challenges during your college experience. In units 2 and 3 of this course, you will learn how to manage your personal space and time in order to maximize your ability to learn, and in units 4 through 8 of this course, you will explore the learning process itself and the different skills and tools you can use to improve your academic performance. Unit 9 focuses on tests and test-taking, a subject that can cause great anxiety for many students, and units 10 and 11 provide you with general strategies for effectively communicating with college instructors as well as managing stress, anxiety, and other factors that affect your academic goals and overall health during college. Being a college student can present unique and new challenges to your health, and staying healthy, both physically and mentally, are crucial components of your success. Unit 12 of this course addresses the importance of your social life to your college success, and Unit 13, the final unit of this course, equips you with some tools to help prepare you for a career after college. By the end of this course, you will have gained a comprehensive overview of the skills, tools, and resources you will need for a successful, healthy, and happy college experience. You will understand how to apply the concepts discussed in this course to your individual academic and personal goals, and to practice the skills you have learned by testing them in specific college courses that you plan to take or are already taking. Finally, you will possess a strong starting point for applying your newfound skills to your job search and your career beyond college.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Clarify and state your individual educational goals, and formulate specific plans to work towards the goals.
  • Design and implement a personal time management plan.
  • Identify your preferred learning style.
  • Describe and employ strategies for effective reading.
  • Describe and employ critical thinking and creative thinking skills.
  • Adequately describe effective listening, note taking, memory retention, and writing skills, and methods for improving these skills.
  • Identify and accurately judge the credibility of websites.
  • Describe and use different methods of exam preparation.
  • Explain test anxiety and list strategies for reducing it.
  • Describe the interview process and strategies for successful interviewing.
  • Create a resume and a cover letter.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Have competency in the English language.

Course Information

Welcome to TRY COLLEGE 101.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements.  Please keep in mind that this course is designed to support your ability to succeed in other college courses. You will benefit from this course by taking it before or during your college studies.

Course Designer: Erika Cole Gillette

Primary Resources: This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Most units will require you to complete checkpoint exercises that review the textbook information as well as self-reflective short answer questions that ask you to apply the information.  In addition to these, you will also need to complete the Final Exam.

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to have a strong command of all the material covered in the course.  The most efficient and effective way for you to learn this material is to simply work through all the units and complete all the activities as the instructor and course designer have presented them.

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam, which is administered electronically through the Saylor.org Moodle system.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you approximately 83.25 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you should expect to spend on each subunit.  These are only approximate times meant to help you plan your time accordingly, and could vary considerably for you.  Please particularly note that the time commitment for each unit varies significantly; for example, Unit 2 should take you less than 2.5 hours, while Unit 5 will likely take you 11 hours.  It is a good idea to use the time estimates to help you plan in advance when you will find time to complete each unit.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you 4.75 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 and 1.2 (a total of 1.5 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.3 (a total of 3 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.

Tips/Suggestions: The material in this course is designed to be applied generally across all the other courses you will take during your college experience.  As you complete each unit, try to apply that unit’s main ideas to other work you are doing as soon as possible.

Preliminary Information

  • College Success

    You will be prompted to read sections of this book throughout the course.  You may choose to download the text in full now and skip to the appropriate section as prompted by the resource boxes below, or you can simply download the specific sections of the text assigned as you progress through each resource box below.

    Reading: College Success (PDF)

    Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.