Despite high school preparation, many students feel they are not quite ready for the college experience. Many students enter college without a clear set of goals or reasons for being there. Few students have ever had specific training in studying, managing their time or exploring careers.

How to choose the best program for you

  • Consider your interests and aptitudes. It’s hard to choose an area of study if you don’t know what you are interested in or good at. CEGEP is a time for exploration and decision making. Counselors can help you with this process.
  • Consider whether or not you want to go to University. As a CEGEP student, you can follow Career or Pre-University programs of study depending on your goals. One of these programs may be better for you than another.You should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each, making sure that the program you choose satisfies your goals.
  • Consider your academic preparation to date. Do you have the prerequisite courses needed for admission to a new program? If you don’t, how long will it take for you to complete them? How long will it take to complete this program?Will the courses you have already taken count in your new program? Do you have the grades required for admission to this program?
  • What to do if the program you want is closed in January? If you have to wait for September to change, there are some things you can do now!
  • Pass all the courses you are taking this semester. Don’t be discouraged and think that what you are doing now is a waste of time.Your success in these courses will influence your chances for admission in September. Failures could lead to a refusal of your application.
  • Choose your courses for next semester carefully. See an Academic Adviser to find out which courses will be the best for you to follow. If you are missing any prerequisite courses, try to take them.You may also be able to take courses related to the program you are interested in.
  • Prepare early. Some Career programs require students to present portfolios, or appear for an interview or audition. Use the next few months to prepare for these.

Use College Services

At Dawson, you can find help for almost every difficulty you encounter. Take the first step and learn where the services you need are located. Read through the section on Campus Services which will let you know what help is available to you.

Clear Goals

Whatever your reasons for coming to college, it is important to be aware of them, because having clear objectives is one of the best ways to ensure your success.

Success in College demands a high-motivation profile. Without this internal motivation, chances of a student staying in school are much lower, and it will not be a very enjoyable experience.

Techniques for Successful Goal Setting

  1. Look at goals in various aspects of your life.
  2. Be specific about your goals.
  3. Be positive in setting your goals.
  4. Be realistic in setting your goals.
  5. Gather information to clarify your goals.
  6. Be willing to change or adjust goals.
  7. Be objective about obstacles that arise.
  8. Think about your goals as you make decisions.
  9. Listen to other people’s goals.
  10. Make goal-setting a high priority as a first year student.

REMEMBER: Students generally find in college what they expect to find. Those who expec college to be an exciting growth opportunity are usually not disappointed. Ultimately, you get out of college what you put into it. The choice is up to you.

Time Management

Problems in time management include the following:

  • consistently being late for classes or deadlines
  • always feeling pressured and under the gun
  • never having enough time to get everything done
  • making errors because of time pressure
  • forgetting important dates and events
  • never having time to relax and enjoy life.

Effective Time Management:

  1. Create a weekly schedule.
  2. Use a calendar.
  3. Use “To Do” lists.
  4. Avoid putting things off until the last minute.

Study Skills

General guidelines:

  • Study the course outline closely.
  • Determine your study time needs.
  • Study hardest the first two weeks of class.
  • Have a regular place and time to study.
  • Study during the day, not just at night.
  • Study in frequent shorter sessions, not in long cram periods.
  • Experiment with a variety of study techniques.
  • Learn how to read a textbook.
  • Learn how to take lecture notes.
  • Visit the Learning Centre for tips if you have trouble studying.

How to get the most from your teacher

  1. Get to know your teacher: if you want a teacher to give you personal attention, you have to ask for it. You must take the initiative to visit with the teachers, preferably during his or her office hours.
  2. Demonstrate your positive attitude about the class. Teachers want students to show interest and enthusiasm for their subjects. You can demonstrate this attitude in your nonverbal signals as well as your comments about the class. Come to class early and get yourself organized to listen and take notes. Ask intelligent questions based on your reading of the assignment the night before.
  3. Be respectful to your teacher.

Library Survival Skills

The library collection consists of books, videos, periodicals and online research materials that can be an invaluable tool for you in the learning process. The library provides both individual study space and group study rooms available on a “first come, first serve” basis. Bring your own laptop or borrow one at the circulation desk and take advantage of the wireless access to the internet.

Please remember, no food or drinks in the library! Only water is permitted.

Within your first week at Dawson, go and visit the library, become familiar with its resources before you actually have to do your first research project. Check out the Reference Area on the sixth floor where a Reference librarian is always available answer your questions and help you with your research.

Explore the library website for access to powerful online resources available to you both at Dawson or when you are off campus:

Last Modified: January 4, 2021