Monday, May 18, 2015

Five Tips on How to Prepare for Class

image of a clock, text: "Time to plan."

What can you expect as a new Rio Salado student?  Is there a way you can prepare?  What can enhance your chances for success? Here are some answers to those questions from Rio Salado's Counseling Services.

The most important thing to consider is that every class is different, every instructor is different, and online learning is different! Here are some key things you should know and plan to do before taking college courses at Rio Salado.

Learn how to use Rio Salado's online platforms

There are many ways to accomplish this and it’s critical to succeeding in your classes. The college website at and the Start at Rio web page has a plethora of information. There are also many links to student services, counseling, financial aid, certificates and degrees, college departments and more.

Here's an introductory video about using three key online platforms.

New students are automatically enrolled in New Student Orientation (NSO101), a free, non-credit class that provides an overview of the college and introduces you to RioLearn, our online learning system.

If you're still left scratching your head, you can always call the Instructional Helpdesk. This team is there to answer questions and help train you, as well as act as a liaison between students and instructors. They can be reached at: 480-517-8380, 866-511-8380 and at

Know your responsibilities
It’s best to assume the first day and week of classes will provide valuable information, which can be found in the syllabus, welcome letter, announcements and during instructor discussions. Make sure you fully investigate and understand course requirements.

Prepare for homework assignments first day of class
Don't be the one who gets blindsided when an instructor launches a discussion forum on the first day of class about an assignment.  It is common for college instructors to expect you to have an assignment completed for the first day or week of class. These assignments are typically given via e-mail, posted online or printed on the syllabus — so keep a lookout.

Reach out to classmates

This can be more of a challenge online, however, there are often discussions in online classes.

RioLounge is available for students to communicate and offer support, friendship, and information. You can form and find study groups and quick support from other peers. Don't underestimate the ability of your classmates.

Sleep, stay healthy and plan ahead
These common sense tips will help you in all areas of your life-- classes, career, and relationships. Being successful takes work and being prepared for class is the first step. You’ve got this!

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardott on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services.