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Note Taking in College: Challenges For New College Students

Updated: May 22



As a new college student, your freshman will be faced with increased academic responsibilities on Day 1. A common challenge faced by many college students is keeping up with the pace of lectures while taking effective notes. In this article we explore the reasons behind these note taking struggles so college-bound students can prepare for note taking success throughout their college journey.


The Overflowing Information Avalanche


Picture this: you're sitting in a lecture, and your professor is dropping knowledge bombs left and right. It's not that the information isn't fascinating; it's just that there's so much of it!  Professors, in their quest to cover course content comprehensively, may deliver a barrage of information in a relatively short span. As a result, students often find it challenging to discern the most critical points, leading to a struggle to capture and organize the material effectively.


Turbo-Charged Lectures


College lectures can be fast-paced, leaving little time for students to absorb and synthesize information before the professor moves on to the next topic. In this high-pressure environment, students may find themselves torn between listening attentively, comprehending the material, and jotting down key points. The struggle to strike a balance between active listening and note-taking can leave students feeling overwhelmed and hinder their ability to retain information.


Everyone's Got Their Own Style


Just like we all have that one quirky friend with a unique sense of humor, students have their own distinct learning styles. Some folks are all about visuals – give them a chart, a diagram, or a doodle, and they're golden. Others thrive on auditory learning, absorbing information through active listening. The challenge arises when a professor's teaching style clashes with a student's learning style and students are tasked with taking notes while trying to absorb information in a nonpreferred teaching style.


Tech Temptations & Distractions


Laptops and tablets have become classroom staples but with great power comes great distraction. Social media, emails, texts and computer video games can distract even students with the best intentions. Resisting the allure of technology and staying focused on a professor's lecture about the Cold War or South American Geography can be a difficult task.


The Lost Art of Note-Taking


Despite having good educators, high school isn't exactly a boot camp for effective note-taking. The transition to college, where notes are the unsung heroes of academic success, can catch students off guard. Students may lack the strategies needed to capture essential information efficiently and organize it for later review.


Conclusion


Most (if not all) first year college students struggle with note taking in their new environment. Note-taking is the superhero skill which leads to college success but is often an underdeveloped skill in high school students. Old-fashioned note taking practice as well as 1:1 training on note taking technology (apps and software) can help bridge this gap in skills. Now is the time to get ready for college - students and families, you've got this!


If you're interested in note taking technology training for your college-bound student, give us a call (860) 880-2224!

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