1. Pick the right program/department: You have a great opportunity at SU. Try to reduce your choices to two programs, 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 than your GPA, learn your material.
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, even more 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
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.
If you have suggestions about the program as a whole (e.g. CS), talk to some professors – maybe more than one. There has been many changes in the past, initiated with student requests (course openings, summer courses, term scheduling,…). Such feedback is very useful to the program as well.
If there is something wrong, talk to someone (professor, advisor, dean). Here are some examples I have heard before:
“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.” So this student was waiting for a course that may be never going to be offered again! I told the student to write a dilekçe and ask for a substitution, and he graduated…
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.
If the TAs are somehow not doing their jobs, do tell the course instructor. In all of such complaints, no one gets fired (one reason I hear why people don’t complain), but they get a warning. If you don’t complain, we never learn about a bad situation and it persists.
“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, …
There is a bunch of resources (e.g. Bagem at SU) that can help in many ways.