7 Tips To Achieve A Successful College Experience

by Milton Cribbs
Video Production Manager

Maybe you weren’t class president in high school; maybe you weren’t valedictorian--you may have even wanted to be on the National Honors Society but fell short. Even though you may not have been as successful in high school as you wanted, none of what you did then really matters as you make the transition to college.

You can start fresh and with a clean slate. As you start college, you are quickly introduced to adulthood. You are faced with critical decisions, loads of homework, and emotional and physical exhaustion. The decisions that you make during this time will have a major impact on your college experience and in some cases on your life.

Image Courtesy College Atlas

Image Courtesy College Atlas

Seventy percent of Americans will study at a four-year college, but less than two thirds of them will actually graduate, according to College Atlas. Thirty percent of college and university students drop out after the first year. Being unable to balance school, jobs and family is one of the top reasons for dropping out. Those without a college degree are twice as likely to be unemployed as those with one.

College is important and you can succeed at it. Be yourself and try your best to enjoy your college experience as much as possible. You should expect to feel homesick at times and even stressed on occasion, but don’t let these issues wear you down. Compare it to a foreigner who experiences culture shock; you will feel a bit uneasy at first, but once you get comfortable you will be just fine.

Here are a number of important tips you can follow to make college a positive experience.

1. Attend orientations or information seminars. At these events, you will learn about the environment around you and be able to gain resources to take advantage of that will contribute to your college experience.  

2. Get to know people. You should start with getting to know your roommate since that’s the person you will be spending the most time with, and then you can branch off after that.

“I was pretty closed off at first, but once I opened up and got to know more people things became easier for me and I was able to build many friendships,” said senior Alex Storm.

Keep in mind that your roommate and many of your other classmates are going through similar experiences and emotions that you are going through. Some of the people that you meet will become your support system.

Also take the time to build relationships with faculty, staff and peers. You can do this by attending on-campus activities, joining organizations and being as proactive on campus as you can be.

3. Get organized. In high school, teachers lead you through homework assignments and due dates. In college, professors usually hand out the syllabus with all of the due dates for the entire semester and expect you to be prepared, which you must be. It may be a good idea to get a planner. You can also download an app; purchase one of those big wall calendars, tape sticky notes to your mirror --whatever it takes to for you to be organized and know when assignments are due.

4. Go to class! Sleeping in and skipping that 8 a.m. class will definitely be tempting at times. You will be faced with temptation throughout your college experience, but you must avoid temptation in order to be successful. If you happen to slip in any area, it can affect other components of your experience. Temptation usually leads to procrastination and many other factors and attributes that can cause self-destruction.

5. Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination causes a student to think irresponsibly, act neglectful, and not take in consideration the consequences of their actions and decisions.

“Procrastination is a killer, it’s a bad trait to have, especially when it comes to homework assignments and study time,” said Matt Gold, a RC student. Make an effort to prioritize your life. You might have been able to get by in high school with waiting until the last minute to complete work and still get good grades; however, that kind of irresponsible behavior will not work for you in college.

“Make good decisions!” Coach Garth Pleasant preaches to students. Give yourself deadlines. Professors will give you deadlines, and just like supervisors in the workplace, they expect you to meet those deadlines. If you have deadlines for yourself, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about your professor’s deadlines.

6. Expect to be overwhelmed. In your new environment, you will experience a new school, new friends, independency, financial worries, tons of school work, homesickness and much more. Know that these issues will overwhelm you at times, so be prepared to face them when they arrive. Be prepared to be unprepared, and always remember that you are not the only one feeling that way.

7. Be determined to accomplish and achieve. This is the time of your life where you will learn about yourself and the world around you. Times will come where you feel like giving up and quitting, but you must keep striving for excellence and persevere through adversities. Take advantage of the material that you learn, the people that you meet, and the memories that you create; and most of all, enjoy yourself and get the most out of your college experience.

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If you follow these tips, you’ll be making your college transition smooth and just about guaranteeing yourself a great college experience.