Syllabi should be available to students before classes start

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Dioslyn Oliva | Staff Writer

I’m someone who heavily depends on course syllabi to better understand my professors and  courses. But receiving them all on the first day of class brings many kinds of unnecessary struggles.

The first week of the semester always feels like a million things are simultaneously being thrown at me. If syllabuses were accessible before the semester begins, the first week wouldn’t be as overwhelming. I’d have access to important dates and deadlines for assignments and exams so I can better plan out my commitments weeks in advance. 

FIU’s official university policy states that “students should receive or have access to the course syllabus no later than the first class meeting for lecture and lab courses.”

This policy should be revised to better help out FIU students.

Our syllabuses contain our professor’s contact information, course policies and other important information that can greatly help a student prepare for their classes. Most importantly, the required textbooks. Which is another reason why syllabuses should be sent out to students a week in advance.

Sometimes participating in the Panther Book Pack program – the partnership with Barnes and Noble in which students rent books and materials for their classes – is not enough.

Students tend to wait until they receive their syllabus to see whether or not they should participate in the program and rent the books needed, or purchase them elsewhere – which explains the long and painful waiting period some people go through to pick up their books. 

Last semester, I had to wait a week to pick up an access code for a book.

Having to wait to pick up books stops students from reaching their maximum potential, especially during the first week. They might even risk falling behind on assignments.

Students have a lot on their plates. Not only do they have classes to worry about but they’re also busy with other aspects of their lives such as part-time jobs, extracurricular activities and family commitments.

Professors and faculty should note that if we had access to our syllabuses before the semester started, we’d have a greater chance of succeeding academically. Studies have shown that when students plan out and allocate their time wisely, they’re more likely to perform well.

Reading through each syllabus is important to better comprehend what our professors want us to know and their expectations of us as students. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of skimming through them, then later in the semester having questions that can easily be answered with the syllabus.

Having access to syllabi at least a week in advance would be extremely beneficial so that students can plan and organize their time for the semester ahead. It’s also fair for professors. It’s very likely that, if they send out syllabi beforehand, students would come in prepared for their classes and would greatly please many professors.

FIU should consider changing their policy on syllabi, as it could greatly help students prepare for upcoming semesters before it begins.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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