Tips for Success at
Illinois Valley Community College
Congratulations on your choice of
Illinois Valley Community College! We are pleased to welcome you to our
dynamic and exciting campus. Succeeding in college can be tough and
takes hard work and dedication. Drawing both from my own experiences as a
college student (at IVCC, Illinois State University, and Northern
Illinois University) and as a professional educator, I am happy to offer
a list of tips that should help you achieve your goals during your time
Realize that success takes time and
Any college course you take will be
challenging and rigorous. Although we all lead busy lives, you must be
willing to commit significant amounts of time to course work.
Instructors certainly realize that many students have jobs, children,
and other responsibilities outside of their course work, but these do
not excuse any student from dedicating the necessary time. Carefully
plan and manage your schedule in such a way that it is not too
burdensome. As a general rule, one hour of class time results in two
hours of outside work. Be prepared to commit to this rigorous schedule.
Get to know your instructors and keep
in contact with them.
In each course, take note of how to
contact your instructor and where his or her office is located. This
information can often be found on the course outline or on the
instructor’s webpage. You can also locate any instructor through the
directory on the IVCC website. It is crucial that you stay in touch with
your instructor about any problems or concerns you may have. Visit
office hours for extra help or to discuss any issues you may be having.
Attend class regularly.
One of the most frequent ways students
fall short of success is simply through failure to show up. Regular
attendance is crucial to your success. Disappearing from class, sporadic
attendance, or frequent tardiness will negatively affect your grade and
could result in withdrawal or failure for the course. Even if you are
trying to stay caught up, you will surely miss important information if
you do not attend class. Most instructors have a clear attendance policy
of which you should be aware. Keep track of your absences and remember
that with few exceptions, there is no such thing as an excused absence
in a college course.
Be prepared for class.
You will be expected to complete every reading and assignment in a timely manner.
Come prepared to discuss readings, assignments, projects, etc. You should do more than simply complete the
assigned readings; you should re-read, comprehend, question, challenge, and evaluate each
reading assignment. Have a dictionary close at hand for reference. Take notes,
highlight, and/or annotate your text to help enhance your critical
interpretation of it. Bring your required materials
and an open mind to each class meeting.
Use technology to your advantage.
You will be given a username name and
password for logging onto campus computers. It is imperative that you
know your username and password and are able to access technology while
on campus. If you experience any problems, visit the Student Help Desk in the Learning Commons (D201).
Also, be sure to save all the work you
complete for classes in multiple locations. While your U drive is useful
for saving and accessing work, no system is failsafe. Therefore, it is a
great idea to save work in more than one place. Many students have had
the awful experience of losing a flash drive or having a computer crash,
resulting in a loss of important work. If you save in more than one
place, you can avoid this problem.
Furthermore, each student at IVCC has an
email account through the school that should be checked regularly (at
least once a day). Instructors often contact students through this
email, so you may miss important information if you neglect your
Similarly, you should become very
familiar with Blackboard, WebAdvisor, and other technologies used on
campus. If you are experiencing a problem, contact your instructor or
the Student Help Desk as soon as possible.
Finally, if you are not comfortable with
technology, you should seek help. Often, students who return to school
after time away feel at a loss when faced with technology. However,
there are many resources on campus to assist you with any problems you
may be having. Speak to your instructor or visit the Student Help Desk for more information.
Since many courses frequently use discussion, you will be expected to contribute significantly during each class.
Successful students are willing and able to talk about the
matters at hand in a meaningful way. An unwillingness to participate in class can be equated
with an unwillingness to succeed and may be detrimental to your grade. Come to class prepared with ideas and
questions about the readings and assignments.
Respect yourself, your classmates,
your classroom, and your instructor.
Our campus is diverse and welcomes
students from all walks of life. Therefore, it is important that you
treat yourself and your peers with respect. Our classrooms and campus
are a source of pride and should be treated accordingly. Instructors are
here to facilitate your success and will treat you with respect—be sure
to return the sentiment.
Follow IVCC’s core values:
responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness, and respect.
These five attributes can help you find
success in any aspect of your life, but are especially important at
Give instructors poor excuses for
If you feel the need to justify an
absence, realize that instructors do not appreciate hearing poor excuses
such as “My alarm didn’t go off” or “I had to complete an essay for
another class.” Also, please avoid over-sharing with your instructor;
the details of your personal life are your business alone.
Ask if you missed “anything
Asking if you missed anything in class
implies that there is a possibility that the class just sat and stared
at the floor on the day you were absent. You should always assume that
you missed something and find out what it was. Ask a classmate for notes
or contact your instructor for information.
Use your cell phone in any way during
Turn off your cell phone during class
(this means all the way off, not set to “vibrate”). If you forget and
your phone rings, apologize and silence it immediately. Make it a habit
to double-check your ringer before entering the classroom. Your phone should be out of sight during class time.
Also, please realize that texting during
class is never acceptable. Even if you hold your phone under the desk,
your instructor can still see what you are doing. This level of
inattention is improper in a college classroom.
Visit social networking sites or
other sites unrelated to class work during class time.
There is never a time during any class
when it would be appropriate to check your Facebook or visit non-class
related sites. When using computers for class work, stay focused on that
work. Never work on assignments for other classes during class time.
All of the teacher’s computer stations have technology available that
allows them to view your computer screen on their computer, so even if
your computer screen is not facing the instructor, he or she can still
keep an eye on what you are doing.
Disappear from class.
If you do not show up for a few classes
in a row, you run the risk of being dropped or failing the course. Stay
in touch with your instructor.
Waiting until the last moment to complete
an assignment is irresponsible and will be detrimental to your grade.
Begin working on assignments several days before they are due. You will
avoid a lot of stress if you wisely manage your time.
Sabotage yourself with a negative
When faced with a difficult task, some
students develop a fatalistic attitude: “I’ll never be able to write a
10 page paper!” If you believe you will fail, you certainly will fail.
However, if you maintain a positive attitude, your road to success will
be much smoother. This is especially important for nontraditional and
returning students. Everyone has the right to a quality education and
everyone belongs equally at IVCC. Never feel the need to apologize
because you may not fit the stereotypical college student mold. Take
pride in your decision to pursue your education! Approach your
coursework with a positive attitude and you can go as far as you can
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