Note taking can be a struggle. Especially if you didn't really have to take notes in high school because you were just given worksheets or mostly pre-filled notes. In college, you have to take your own notes because teachers are not going to baby you and do it for you. Your notes are what you will be using to mostly study off of, so you want to make sure that they are of good quality.
Check the class website for already uploaded lecture notes
A good way to prepare yourself for class is to try and glance over the professors powerpoint or lecture notes before even going to class. In doing this, you already have a preview as to what to expect during class time, so nothing can catch you off guard while you are trying to listen or take notes. This is also a great way to start thinking of any potential question you may want to ask during lecture based off what you already have seen.
Sit near the front of the class (or anywhere you'll pay attention)
I always sat near the front because then I felt bad whenever I went on my phone or iPad during class. This works for me, but some students are able to sit anywhere and still pay attention. Be sure to sit somewhere you won't get distracted. If you need to sit near the front, do so. If you want to be further away because you engage better that way, do so. Just try and make sure you sit somewhere where you can see the professor and easily hear them. Sometimes mics do stop working during class, so if you are in the very back, you might be out of luck one lecture if this happens.
Don't try and color code and decorate notes in class
I like to re-write my notes once I am done with classes for the day. If you try and make notes look pretty during class, you will miss important information as you aren't truly paying attention. As tempting as it may be, try and hold off from decorating your note until later, and opt for a bullet point or simple note taking style during lecture. Re-writing notes also helps you study anyway.
Take notes of the things the professor says that aren't on the slides
Often professors will discuss in more detail the content that they have on their slides, and sometimes, they will drop major keys as to topics that could be on the exam. Don't worry too much about copying every single word off the powerpoint slide, as you can go back and reference it later. Really focus on taking notes from what your professor says and emphasizes when they talk.
Try and handwrite your notes
I personally recommend handwriting notes because it has been proven to help with memory retention. Additionally, if you are using your laptop or tablet to take notes, it is very easy to start surfing the web or use social media and completely zone out from lecture. Obviously use whatever method works best for you, but if you use a device, may consider downloading web content blockers and social app blockers for during your class time that way you have to pay attention.
These tips should help give you some ideas as to what to do in order to take good notes and be prepared for your class lectures. College is all about being efficient and strategic when it comes to working and classes, so be sure to find or create note taking styles and hacks that work best for your learning style.