Teacher Preparation Institute

Tips for being successful in college

For students moving from high school to college, there is more than just more challenging academic work ahead. You will learn a new culture and become familiar with language and customs of academia. You'll also need good time management skills.

WORKLOAD: Courses are taught with the expectation that students do much of their learning outside of class. Therefore, students should expect to study approximately 2 hours outside of class for every hour they are in a lecture class. this workload will often result in students' serious consideration of their other commitments. Mt. SAC Teacher Preparation Institute recommends that students who are working full-time (40 hours per week) take no more than 6 units per semester; students who are working part-time (20 hours per week) should take no more than 12 units.

Twelve semester units is considered a full-time load of coursework in college.

TPI students can consider becoming part-time paid tutors as their part-time job, thus gaining insight into the profession and an income at the same time.

ATTENDANCE: One key to success in college is being there! You are expected to attend every session of every class, and to arrive on time; otherwise you may be penalized for missed classes or tardies. Even if you don't, you'll pay by falling behind. If you are unable to attend class due to illness or emergency, contact the instructor or the Supplemental Instructor as soon as possible by email or phone. Arrangements for making up missed work will need to be made individually with the instructor.

Attendance the first day of class is especially important because if you are not present the instructor can assign your seat to someone who wants to add the class.

If you decide to drop a class, you must go through a formal cancellation procedure online or by filling out a form at the Admissions Office. Your instructors will tell you the deadlines for dropping classes without a "W" and with a "W."


The course syllabus, provided by the instructor, is a very important tool for managing you time and workload each semester. The syllabus tells you what exams will be given and when; what assignments you'll be expected to complete, and when they're due; what textbooks and other readings will be assigned; grading policies, instructor and supplemental instructor phone numbers, offices, email addresses and other helpful information. USE IT!

Use your instructor's office hours. Mt. SAC instructors are paid to be available to their students, to answer questions, help with assignments and review returned work. A wise student visits his or her instructor during office hours AT LEAST once during the term, and NOT at the very end of the semester! Your instructor has chosen to make teaching his or her career; find out about teaching from the very people who are helping you learn!

Likewise, if your class has a supplemental instructor, go to the special S.I. sessions for your class. This review and tutoring time is devoted exclusively to you and your classmates, so it is an extremely valuable resource.

To help you be successful in your classes, MT SAC also offers free tutoring, individual half-hour sessions with trained tutors in Math, English, and many other subjects. Beginning the third week of the semester, the Tutorial Center, located in the lower level of the Library, is open from early morning to evening, Mondays through Thursdays, from morning until late afternoon on Fridays, and even on Saturdays.

These suggestions for using all of Mt. SAC'S resources are serious recommendations. Mt. SAC students can transfer to the CSU'S with a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average; however, to be admitted to the credential program (after completing units for the bachelor's degree), you must have an overall 2.67 GPA or a 2.75 GPA in your last 60 units. Your GPA is a critical factor in being admitted into credential programs.

When you have earned your credential you are certified by California that you have completed all steps and passed all tests required of teachers. The first credential you will get, the Preliminary Clear Credential certifies that you have a bachelor's degree or higher degree (including student teaching) with a minimum grade of C, and have passed several tests and courses. A Professional Clear Credential, which is valid for five years and is renewable, is granted upon completion of further education. The school district you teach in, as well as the university from which you are graduated, will help you to complete that further education.