6 Reasons Why Your Course Syllabus is Important

Before you take your course syllabus and immediately dump it into the recycling bin, take a moment to consider the importance of this piece of paper and why you should probably keep it stowed somewhere safe. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, your syllabus is divided into multiple sections; each one equally important. Here is a breakdown of each section.

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The Obvious

Every syllabus starts out the same. It will say the course name, the instructor’s name, where and when the class meets, the professor’s contact information, and of course their office hours. You might think that it is not important to look over this section, but you never know if you’ll need it. Knowing your instructor’s office hours is the best way to contact them and is crucial to do well in class.

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Course objectives

This is the section that students usually gloss over. I’ll admit that I do too, but this is where your professor actually put the time in to tell you what you should expect to get out of this class. This can be a very helpful section if you end up transferring. You can use this description, along with the rest of the syllabus, to explain why you should get transfer credits for that one class you took freshman year.

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Expectations

I have only seen this section with some of my professors’ syllabuses, but it has been so helpful for those classes. This section outlines what your professor is looking for in class. It is usually a good way of determining how they award those pesky participation points, or what type of writing they expect out of you for term papers.

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Course Schedule

I shouldn’t have to explain to you why this is important, but in case you did not know: this section will be your lifesaver. This area will provide all of your readings, all of your quiz and test dates, and let’s you know when assignments are due.

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Assignments

A lot of professors will put the assignment descriptions in the syllabus, so you can look at them ahead of time and decide whether or not you’ll start them early. If your professor does include this in the syllabus, than you are responsible for knowing everything about the assignment and should not have questions the day before it is due.

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Grading Scheme

This is where your professor will break down how each assignment will affect your grade. Hey don’t worry! Those reading quizzes are included in with the participation grade! Use this information and be strategic.

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Now that you know why each section of the syllabus is important, you’ll be able rock the rest of the semester…or at least be better prepared for next semester!

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