How to take an Active Approach to Learning in College

Get the most out of your college education by taking advantage of three benefits that won’t cost you anything.

The first benefit is your professors’ office hours. Be sure to take advantage of this one-on-one time. Your professors will appreciate your effort and the rewards far exceed the time you commit. These well-educated folks specialize in their disciplines; they generally must either do a certain amount of annual research, or they may have consulting jobs in their areas of expertise. When going to their office hours, start by discussing any assignments, tests, or lectures. Then move into a discussion about their research or consulting gigs. These discussions might inspire you to grad school or provide job contacts. They will, at least, help you understand the course’s material and help you get a better grade.

The second benefit not to bypass is the websites that accompany your textbooks. Even if you purchased a used text or none at all, the publishers generally maintain free, content-specific websites. Here, you can find self-quizzing, chapter tests, glossary flashcards or even the lecture Power Points. Be sure to visit these websites prior to your mid-terms and finals. The major publishers’ websites are,,,, and Search on your textbooks’ authors, and you can locate the websites for your books.

The final benefit in which to take advantage is the campus volunteer center. Volunteering is the last benefit for which you must find time to participate, even if it’s only two hours a week. Volunteering can clarify your assumptions about a job or career. It is also very rewarding. You might make additional job contacts through your volunteer work. Plus, your future employer will find that your volunteer work shows character and commitment.

College can be very expensive, but there are several freebies that will round out your experience. Take advantage of your professors’ office hours, the free websites that come with your textbooks, and the volunteer center at your college. These three items are a 1-2-3 punch to activating your college learning.