The info is all there One of the steps to becoming a successful college student is to know how to read the syllabus for important course information; information that other students might miss Unlike high school, the professor is letting you know ahead of time what topics will be covered each day and when exams are
Anatomy of a SyllabusThe first items on a syllabusshould give course information: Course title/number Instructor Information Materials and Required Textbook Days and hours of the class Location of the class General information (professor’s philosophy about the class) Expectations regarding assignments Grading Course Schedule
Instructor Information Full name/title Office location Where to leave assignments Office hours Email address Office phone number Pay close attention to any restrictions ex. “No calls between 10:30pm and 8:30am.”
Textbooks Your syllabus will list all required reading materials for your class. Information should include: Title Author Date/Edition Publisher
Materials Although many courses only require print material, there are also some courses that require additional materials, such as: lab/safety equipment, art supplies, special calculators, etc. Be sure you are aware of what special materials you are required to have for the class, if any.
Course Descriptions & ObjectivesThis info will most likely be similar to the description in your course catalog : a paragraph describing the general content of the course.Info about instructional methods may also be included
Course Calendar/Schedule A daily or weekly schedule of topics to be covered. Dates for exams, quizzes, and major assignments Required special events may also be included ex. a lecture by a visiting speaker, a musical performance, field trip, etc. *This schedule can be tentative and subject to change depending on the progress of the class*
Attendance & Tardiness A statement regarding attendance should be included Professors should state how many absences are allowed before penalization. Usually if you miss any more classes than allowed, it will reduce your grade. Sometimes, too many tardies can equal an absence. If this is the case, it should be stated in the syllabus.
Class Participation If active participation is required – especially if it plays a part in your grade – then the syllabus will typically say so. The syllabus will also usually indicate how participation will be graded.
Missed Exams or Assignments The syllabus should give you the following information about missed exams and assignments: Whether or not they can be made up How many points are deducted each day for a late assignment If the professor will take it later than the specified due date
Lab Safety & Health If necessary, the syllabus should include a short statement about the importance of these issuesIn some courses, these issues can literally be a matter of life and death.
Academic Dishonesty The syllabus should address questions related to academic dishonesty Cheating Plagiarism These matters are very serious, and the end result of either could be an Fx in the class.
GradingEach syllabus should indicate how the students will be evaluated. How grades are weighted Factors included in the grading process Information regarding extra credit opportunities, if they are available.
Available Support Services The library is probably the oldest resource, and perhaps still the richest. Campbell’s Student Support Services offers: One-on-one tutoring Tutoring Center Writing center Group reviews for specific courses Disability services Career guidance Retention assistance
Be proactive from the beginning After the first day of classes, go through your syllabi and highlight all the important information – keep the syllabus for each class in your notebook for that class. An even better way to ensure you know when assignments are due and exams will be held is to transfer all due dates onto a calendar.
Last But Not Least Whether your professor says it in class or not, if it’s in the syllabus, you must adhere to it. Not knowing is not an excuse if it’s in the syllabus.