College is one of the most common American dreams on the path to success and certainly can be a time of great opportunity.. Getting there is only half the battle. Once there you will find that there is usually so much going on that it is easy to forget why you’re there and what you need to do. It is a whole new way of life where you must learn self-discipline and the art of choosing wisely. This article can help you do just that and to avoid some of the pitfalls that all too many students fall into.
Careers and courses
You should not consider going to college unless you have a good idea of the kind of career you want or at least have a general idea. Meet with a career counselor to find out more about your different options and take the time to do some research about different schools and programs.
Apply for grants, scholarships and loans promptly. If you have good funding in place well in advance, you won’t have to borrow as much. Be sure to keep track of deadlines and submit applications on time.
Don’t try to do everything in one semester. It’s easy to be an overachiever when there’s so much to do and everything’s new. You will burn out quickly if you try to take the maximum number of credits and join every campus activity that sounds interesting. Take a reasonable number of credits and try one or two activities your first semester.
Don’t take more than one writing course per term. Even though you may only have to complete 3 essays for the course, there is often a lot of required reading. You want to have enough time to complete the readings for every class, which will be difficult with more than 1 writing course.
Know your professors
When you first apply for college, learn about the professors. It is important to develop a good relationship with the instructors if you want to do well. Talk to them all, and get to know their expectations. It will help you throughout your entire college or university experience to have them on your side.
Once you know what your major is, get to know the professionals in that department. They will be able to advise you and give you valuable information in how to meet your desires. Their experience will prove invaluable as you continue. Furthermore, if you have any problems, they will be able to help you.
If you are struggling in your classes, ask the professor if there are any tutoring options available. By enlisting the help of a tutor you will normally be able to score better on tests, learn the information better and get a more rounded understanding of the curriculum. If a tutor is not available, ask around on campus. There are many study groups available that are student led.
Life on campus
Make sure you take care of yourself when you are away at school, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, and try to eat three meals a day. This will keep your sharp as a tack and ready to tackle even the hardest term paper that your professor throws at you.
When you go to college you often times will stay out late with friends to study or go to a party. Be safe, never walk home alone, carry your phone with you at all times, know where the safe zones are on campus, and consider carrying a small spray canister of pepper spray with you.
If you will be going to college in another state or will live in a dorm, figure out if having a car is really ideal. In heavily populated cities, you may have difficulty finding a free parking space. Registration, gas and insurance can also prove challenging if you do not have a job.
Smart study habits
College is filled with a lot of stress as the best thing that you can do in regards to school is to prepare in advance. Avoid procrastination at all times, as this will only add to the stresses that you already face. By doing your work ahead of time, you can feel prepared and organized as college goes on.
Buy your school books a couple weeks before the term begins. Spend an hour familiarizing yourself with each of your books. If you have access to your course syllabus, check it out and see where in the book your class will be starting. This way you can get a bit of a head start.
Don’t schedule a challenging class early in the day, if you aren’t a real morning person. Learn your body’s natural rhythm and schedule around it. Study each and every day to help keep material fresh in your brain. Sometimes, it may be difficult to stay focused, as you will need to maintain perseverance. Promise yourself that you will study each and every day. If you feel confident in your understanding of the subject, you should still use that time to study. This smart habit will help you to stay focused when your workload gets heavier later in your college career.
Never rest on your laurels from high school. College gives you a clean slate as you leave your high school days behind. Push yourself to the limit, as this will help you to reach your potential.
As you already know, there are as many ways to succeed in college as their are to fail. The important thing is to know yourself and create a college plan that works for your lifestyle, your learning style and work ethic. Make time for your studies, but get the most out of your time there. Use the tips in this article to help you make the most of your college life, so that you can have a happy life when you leave as well!