Millions of students headed off to college this fall to attend colleges and universities all over the world. For some students they are the first in their family to attend college. For others this will be their first time away from home. College can be scary and overwhelming. Below are fifteen strategies to help students succeed in college and make the most of their experience.
Be sure to complete financial aid paperwork in advance. Not completing paperwork may delay the disbursement of your aid and result in you not being able to register for classes and/or purchase your books.
When completing financial aid be sure to look into all grants and scholarship opportunities. If necessary contact your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement. Most employers require advance approval and a minimum GPA upon completion of the course.Taking a tour will help to ensure that you know how to find important locations including the registrar’s office, bookstore, financial aid office, faculty offices and classrooms.
Organize your dorm room/apartment in advance so that you are ready for the beginning of the semester. Purchase food and cleaning supplies to keep you from eating too much fast food or having to take time out to run to the store for needed items.
Go through your calendar and write out important dates including Holidays, Winter/Spring breaks and due dates for projects, quizzes and exams.
Buy your books in advance of class to prevent the books from being sold out and on backorder. Be sure to buy pens, pencils, writing/copy paper, and calculators. Don’t write in your book until you are sure you don’t want to drop the class. Remember you may not get a full refund for the book if it has been written in or has any stray marks.
You and/or your parents are paying for you to get an education. Professors will not call your home or chase after you to attend class. It is your responsibility to get the notes and any missed assignments. Some professors don’t allow you to makeup missed assignments or exams without an appropriate written excuse.
The course syllabi usually list all homework, assignments, projects and their due dates. Points may be taken off for missed assignments or assignments that are turned in late. Remember missed assignments may make the difference between you passing or failing a class.
As soon as you notice that you are having difficulty in a class, ask for help. Many students attempt to struggle through on their own without seeking out their professors or trying the tutoring labs. Most colleges offer free/cheap tutoring from your instructors and/or graduate-level teaching assistants.
One of the best ways to learn is by joining a study group. Try to make friends with a least 2-3 other students in each of your classes. Exchange contact information including emails and cell phone numbers. If you are absent remember to call your study group members to get notes and any missed assignments. Meet regularly to review notes and study for quizzes and exams.
Most large colleges have an on-campus library which offers a great resource for completing papers and projects. Find out the library hours and procedures for checking out and reserving materials. If your campus doesn’t have an on-campus library most cities have a public library. If your local public library doesn’t carry the books/periodicals you need they can be ordered from larger libraries by completing paperwork. All public libraries will require you to get a free library card to check out materials and use the computers.
After your freshmen year consider joining a club or school organization if you are doing well academically. Most college campuses have a variety of clubs and organizations including fraternities/sororities, sports and recreation, student government and special interests.
Most students will attend college for 4-5 years. This is a great opportunity to network with individuals both on and off campus. Some friendships formed in college may last for decades. Former classmates and alumni may be a great source for references and job opportunities in the future.