How To Make The Most Out Of Your Syllabus

Congrats! You survived your first week of Spring semester. You’re probably trying to figure out what to do next. A good start to figuring out what your semester will look like is to go through your syllabus. Your syllabus is your timeline for the semester, and it tells you exactly what you should expect out of each class.

You will either get your syllabus in person or it will be available online. Most times, if a professor gives you a syllabus in person they will also put it on their Canvas page or e-mail it to you. The front page of your syllabus might look something like this.


As you can see form this example, there are a couple important things. Boxed in red is the course name and number. This is essential– you don’t want to follow the wrong syllabus for your classes!! In blue is the semester and instructor. Pink is important course information, where the professor’s office is located, office hours, email address, sometimes even a phone number or a website. The orange box is the start of the mechanics of your syllabus! Every syllabus will include the description of the course and the course objectives.


Every syllabus should have the required text and supplies. Sometimes, this will be a long list, and sometimes there will be no required texts. In blue is the grading plan. Most professors will give you something like this which maps out exactly how to succeed in class. Then in green and purple, the professor went through and explained how to succeed.


Here you can find what to expect on the final exam, the attendance policy, and some general grading policies. The classroom rules of conduct can be found on most syllabi, and is essential to succeeding. You can see that there is no drawing in this class unless the professor says so, and when it is drawing time you can use radios with headphones. However, you cannot use any radios outside of drawing time.


This is the best part of the syllabus! You have suggestions for success and the tentative schedule. Most times, a schedule on a syllabus is subject to change. Professors don’t want to change their schedule but will if they need to. It could be a good idea to map out the semester in a planner. Write out the due dates and what’s due every class. Assignments, readings, drawings, or pre-labs can all be stressful if left for the last minute! I didn’t include the entire schedule, but most times this is where you can find your final exam date and time. If not, you can always look at the final exam schedule for Salem State!


Good luck this semester, and if you need help reading your syllabus reach out to us at FYE! We’re located in Meier Hall 100A, you can email us at or you can call us at (978)542-2618! 🙂


-FYM Kaitlynn


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