The Carroll School of Management (CSOM) is a prestigious business school at Boston College. It is one of the more difficult schools at BC to get into, and is known for having the most work. But, don’t let this turn you away. It is a great school, and while in the beginning it may seem harder than the other schools within BC, it all evens out by the end! Here is a guide to some of the most important take-aways and tips from my first semester as a Boston College CSOM student.
1. There is no syllabus week.
While there is a widely known phenomena that the first week of classes is “syllabus week”, this is not always the case for every school. The stereotypical syllabus week – a full week of no homework and important lessons in class – is really a day at Boston College Carroll School of Management. After the first day, the readings begin, assignments start to roll in, and the class is in full throttle.
2. Speaking of syllabus, read it, save it on your computer, and check it regularly!
While most classes will use a site called Canvas and have it regularly updated, this isn’t necessarily true. Some professors would prefer to rely on the syllabus. Even the classes that use Canvas, still put the most important aspects of the course on the syllabus. It tells you about office hours, how the teacher grades, assignments, necessary materials, and what makes up your grade. Also, unlike high school, professors don’t remind you what is due or what is coming up. So, if you don’t want to walk into class feeling completely unprepared and missing homework’s or quizzes, READ the syllabus. And more importantly, check it. Check it before class and write the assignments down to keep up with the work and what is coming up. A huge part of college is keeping up with the readings and the syllabus is the key to staying on top of your work.
3. You have to go to class.
While you may have friends attending huge state schools with 40,000 undergraduate students, Boston College, especially the Carroll School of Management, is very small and selective. Your first year classes usually won’t be more than 30 kids, meaning yes, they take attendance and you need to go. You aren’t in high school anymore. You can’t have your mom call the school saying you are sick. Those “mental days” do not exist in college. So, don’t snooze that alarm and sleep through class because professors only allow minimal missed classes and you should probably save it for when you’re green in the face and can’t move.
4. Participation is key.
Portico is a mandatory class for Carroll School of Management freshmen. The class is a business ethics class and completely discussion based. Participation can make or break the grade you get. In general, participating will make your teacher know you better and allow you to really engage in the information. It may seem small, but it goes a long way. So, raise your hand, get comfortable, and speak your mind!
5. CSOM is known for its emphasis on group work.
You either love working in groups or hate it. If you love it, you probably are one to lay back and let other people do most of the work. And, if you hate it, you probably are that person that does all the work. Regardless of which type of person you are, CSOM does not care. Professors love to emphasize that you will do a lot of group and collaboration work in the academic and professional years to come, so a lot of the assignments and presentations will revolve around working in a group. It is important to be a helpful group member, pick people you can successfully collaborate with, and realize that regardless of what you put into the project you will all get the same grade. Everyone receiving the same grade can be a perk for some, and a horrible thing for others, so remember it is your GPA on the line.
6. It gets easier.
The first week of class can be one of the most overwhelming times of the year, with the exception of finals. Everyone feels the same way. Don’t be embarrassed to call your parents, have a nice cry, or talk to your friends. And, while it seems like the end of the world, it isn’t. Plus, it can, and only does, go uphill from there. You will figure out how to manage the school work, find your friends, and learn to live in this completely different atmosphere.
With this all being said, these are some of the key things to remember when trying to survive the academic aspect of your first year at Boston College. College is hard and people will tell you that all the time, but you don’t understand until you experience it. College is on a whole different continent then high school. You must be self-sufficient, hard-working, and determined to succeed, while also living completely on your own (sometimes in a different state). You can’t sleep away your days and you actually have to dedicate a majority of your time to school work – especially in the beginning. And, while these tips may seem obvious and easy, they are things that aren’t always emphasized in high school and important to remember.