The Power of the Syllabus

Professor: Remember to only email if it is really something important that your TA is not able to handle.

Freshman me: *Obviously this professor doesn’t want to hear from me*


A lot of professors will let you know at the beginning of their course that you should email your TA about anything you may have questions about. Although the everyday freshman may not understand the reason that professors communicate this so bluntly, but it’s actually quite smart if you think about it. TAs are usually very knowledgable about the course in a way that can solve many of the problems that your professor can solve.

Taking this a step further, I would recommend reading the syllabus thoroughly to avoid even emailing your TA. The syllabus is not only a guide to the course, but a treasure map to everything that you need to know to obtain an A+ grade in the course. College is unique in that you will find success (and possibly failure) based solely on the merit of your work. No level of politics or calculation will help your grades in college. It’s always best to dig deeply into every resource available (including the syllabus) in each class you take.

The brilliant thing about modern technology is that it allows us to reach this crucial information that we need to succeed. We don’t even need a hard copy of the syllabus. All we have to do is open a new tab and log in. I can’t even recall how many times this has come in handy. Whether it’s shopping for textbooks or frantically trying to remember how much the group project is worth in the class while out at dinner, my need for information is not limited. In this regard, technology has shown us that this is the best time to be a student.

Regardless of how you reach collegiate success, remember that information is your best friend. This is exactly why the syllabus is so powerful; it can be the difference between an A and B grade. Professors understand this and have helped you more than you know by taking the time to write such a complex and knowledgable document about the class that they have constructed. It’s best to honor this document and professor by reading the information they have given you and use it to become the best student you can.

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