Learning college English can be a challenge for individuals for whom English is a second language. College English can also be a challenge for people who are native English speakers. The reason for this is both the vocabulary and the diverse means by which English is to be used for college courses.
Learning College English
Check with your local college to see what programs are available for students who are not native speakers. Find out where the language laboratory is and spend time working with available materials. Join groups for students seeking to improve and practice their English speaking skills. New college students must master English before starting their courses.
Learn the specialized English vocabulary for each of your courses. College courses from math to art are full of specialized vocabulary. This can be a challenge for both native and nonnative English speakers. Make a list of all new terms that are unfamiliar. Study the text for the course to see how the words are used. If you have any questions about how the terms are used, contact the instructor for clarification either in class -- you may not be the only one who needs clarification -- or during office hours.
Learn the type of structure to be used for reports in each class. All English formatting is not the same. This step incorporates the specialized vocabulary in the particular formatting a department requires. Consult the instructor if you have any questions about how to proceed.
Visit the writing lab. The writing lab provides additional help outside of the classroom setting for those individuals who want help in understanding English.
Attend presentations by speakers in areas that interest you. Listen to lectures that are recorded, as this helps to increase speed of comprehension. Read journal articles by academic experts. Listen to videos on the Internet.
Keep a schedule for learning new vocabulary. In some subjects, there can be new vocabulary each week. Don’t fall behind. Learn to take notes that emphasize the new terms. Rewrite notes immediately following a lecture if possible.
Joan Reinbold is a writer, author of six books, blogs and makes videos. She has been a tutor for students, library assistant, certified dental assistant and business owner. She has lived (and gardened) on three continents, learning home renovation in the process. She received her Bachelor of Arts in 2006.