This list comprises answers to questions I received from undergraduates in the last year; it certainly does not address many issues, but it is a start.

 

Unfortunately many students don’t raise their concerns or difficulties during the course of the problem, but only afterwards. I wanted to remind you here that you have many means at SU, for constructive feedback and positive changes.

 

 

ADVICE  for UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

 

1.      Pick the right program: You have a great opportunity at SU. Try to reduce your choices to two, take their introductory courses, audit some if necessary (even a few lectures may be enough to give you an idea), and choose a program that you like and that you will find “easy”. You cannot be very happy about something you struggle with.

2.      Go to lectures: This is the best way to learn the topic.

3.      Improve your GPA: Try to get the best GPA possible, as you may need it when you change your mind about grad. studies later.

4.      Learn: More important then your GPA, learn your material. You may be an excellent programmer, in addition to or instead of having good GPA.

5.      References: Sooner or later, you will need a reference letter etc., it would be great if at least one prof. knows you well and s/he really supports you. It also helps if you have shown integrity, hard work, timeliness in addition to academic credentials. More often than not, these things are as useful in a grad. student or employee, than academic credentials.

6.      Get a mentor: This could be your advisor and if that does not work for you, some instructor who you like (and hopefully whose course you go to and have done well). This is one of the biggest mistake I see – not using the  mentor relationships offered to you at Sabanci University.

7.      Volunteer for research: Professors will get to know you and you will get close supervision.

 

 

GIVING FEEDBACK and RESOLVING ISSUES

 

  1. Fill out course evaluation forms: They are collected by a 3rd party and are shown only in summary to the instructor. The purpose is improvement. The instructor wants to know how s/he can improve learning; everyone wants higher quality lectures etc.
  2. If you have suggestions about the program (e.g. CS), talk to some professors – maybe more than one. There has been many changes in the past, initiates with student requests (course openings, summer courses, term scheduling,…). Such feedback is very useful for the program as well.
  3. If there is something wrong, talk to someone (professor, advisor, dean). Here are some examples I have heard before:
    1. “I can’t take this and this course, because I have to first pass this other course first, but it is not offered the last few terms.” This was one of the most extremes where I told the student to write a dilekçe and ask for a substitiution, since this course may never be offered again!
    2. If the instructor can change a certain thing (e.g. if you ask him to give more examples), to improve the course or your learning, ask him/her.
    3. If the TAs are somehow not doing their jobs, do thell the course instructor. In all of such complaints, noone gets fired (one reason I hear why people don’t complain) only get a warning. If you don’t complain, we never learn about a bad situation and it persists.
    4. “The instructor gives too much homework”. Make a fair evaluation (track your hours and see if other people also have the same problem), so that you can talk to the instructor with some data, …
    5. There is a bunch of resources (e.g. Bagem) that can help in many ways.