What to Know About College-Level Science

From biotech to computer engineering, science currently ranks among the most popular academic fields among U.S. college students. If you’re interested in studying science, you should know that college-level science presents both challenges and invaluable lessons that can help you prepare you for success in your field post graduation.

College-level science courses will likely feel more difficult than high-school level science courses. Despite being tough, however, college-level science courses are totally plausible to succeed in—all you need is a positive attitude and lots of hard work.

Knowing a little about what you’re getting into can be helpful as well. Here’s what to know about college-level science:

1. The beginning and end of college-level science courses may be the toughest

You can think of college-level science courses like a running race; if you don’t get ahead in the beginning, you will be way behind by the end. College professors know this. They work hard to help ensure their students stay on top of their studies, often offering office hours and study sessions. Take advantage of these resources!

That said, you can’t rely completely on your college professors to get you through a college course. It’s up to you to attend lectures, study for exams, and get your work done on time. Again, the beginning and end of the semesters will often be the toughest parts—so be extra vigilant during these times to stay on top of your academic game.

2. Know your math for college-level science

If you’re majoring in a science field, you’ll likely be required to enroll in some math classes as well. That’s because science and math are interrelated subjects. Basic algebra is essential for studying biology and chemistry, for instance. You’ll also need to learn calculus if you want to pursue physics.

[RELATED: What to Know About College-Level Math]

It can pay off to brush up on your math skills before the semester begins. Check out free math resources online, like MOOCs or math flashcards. You may also want to form a study group with friends who are likewise interested in improving their math skills before the start of the semester. Or, consider looking into math tutoring for help.

3. Register for your college-level science courses before other courses, if possible

Most college science courses—especially more foundational science courses—fill up quickly. Many first-time college freshmen make the mistake of waiting to add science courses to their schedules and later find it difficult or impossible to fit them in.

It’s especially important to take science courses in a timely fashion because higher-level science courses will likely have prerequisites (courses you’re required to take before others). Avoid being closed out of the science courses you need to take by adding them to your schedule before other types of classes. It’s much easier to fit lower-demand courses in your schedule than to try adding high-demand ones at the last minute.

4. Maintain endurance in college-level science by taking care of your body

Science majors will often face a tough curriculum: long hours in the classroom, lab, and library are physically and mentally exhausting. Letting this kind of stress get to you is no joke and can make you very sick, so it’s important to continually check in with yourself throughout the semester. Consider making it a goal to achieve the following healthy habits to ensure you’re taking care of yourself:

  • Eating a nutritious diet

  • Getting approximately eight hours of sleep each night

  • Staying active with a sport, an extracurricular, or another activity you enjoy

If you struggle to meet some of these goals, consider taking a step back and assessing what you need to change in your routine to keep yourself happy and healthy.

[RELATED: How Eating Healthy Can Improve Test Scores]

At times it’s possible to fix problems on your own, but sometimes it can be beneficial to get outside help. If it’s the latter case, look no further than your college campus. Colleges have great support resources available to students all day, every day, from nutritionists to recreation centers to student lounges. Put yourself in the best position possible to succeed in school!

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