Going off to college is a big step in your life. There are many great activities you can get involved in, but there are also just as many bad things you can become apart of. The most important key to how to be successful in college is to find a balance between academics and social life.
Keep school work your number one priority no matter what. You won't have any parents around to keep you on task or out of trouble, which means there will be much more responsibility placed on yourself when it comes to academics. With all that is required in college, freshman year can be a real eye opener for some collegians.
Here we offer tips and advice geared toward college freshmen to help ensure the first year of college goes as smoothly as possible.
Tips for Freshman Year of College
You will actually have to try.
Unlike high school, college is much more difficult to just barely get by. The professors are more strict and expect much more than your high school teachers did. You should set goals for yourself when it comes to academics and make sure you are not spending too much time being social.
Find yourself a nice place to study or do homework. Study often and make sure you do all of your homework. Even if your professor doesn't assign much homework, take the initiative and get in good practice and review sessions.
Take college seriously from the start and remember you are working hard toward a college degree which will be very beneficial to your future and career.
Get on a Schedule.
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While you’re going to school there will probably be a lot of things on your plate. You will learn early on that you will need to master the art of time management. If you can’t manage your time properly, you will fall behind very quickly and become frustrated with college life.
Getting in a habit is very important, especially when it comes to studying in college and doing homework. Set a study schedule to when you are going to dedicate time to do your work. When it comes to homework, the sooner the better. So if your classes end at 2pm, take a short break to eat or relax, then begin working on your assignments. It will be a pain at first, but when you are finished it will be worth it.
By getting into a routine and committing to it, it will be easier for you to get work done and stay on top of projects and assignments. You will need to budget time for school work and assignments, friends, exercise, organizations, work, and whatever else you choose to do in college.
As stated earlier, in high school it was much easier to get away with not studying or starting on that research paper the night before it was due. The projects and research papers in college are much longer and require a large amount of preparation and research. Start on these large projects well in advance. As for tests, always remember to study, practice, and prepare. Get as familiar with the test material as possible so you can go into the test with confidence.
Don't party too much.
I know this is disappointing. You're in college and you should be able to party all you want, right? Well you can of course, but it's highly recommended to stay on task academically throughout the week. Work extra hard during the week so the weekend can be extra fun.
Don't let all the school work overwhelm you, get out there and explore your college and fellow students. College is far more easier if you have friends to share the experience with. These friends can also be study partners to keep you both on task. Join an organization or club, these are two great ways to meet new people and become involved in your college.
Join organizations, clubs, or causes that you are passionate about. As you go through college, you will find not only people different from yourself, but people similar to you. Chances are, others have already started a student organization on campus that allows you to get together and discuss the goings-on of whatever it may be. You can join professional clubs, spiritual/religious organizations, political groups, special interest, Greek chapters, etc. As long as you find a way to get involved and are expanding your leadership ability and group-work skills, you can’t go wrong. An organization or club should be something that you will be passionate about and has a mission or goal that you are willing to give up time for.
You don’t have to live with your best friend in the dorms.
If you’re going to college, chances are that you will be going with a friend or at least someone you know from school. While it might be easy to stick to your comfort zone and sign up to room with a friend, just be cautious about making that decision and really think it through. The point of college is to expand your mind and yourself as a person, so don't feel that it is something you have to do.
If you plan on living in the residence halls your first year of school, then you are making a wise decision. It is a great way to meet people, make new friends, get involved, and learn a lot about your college community. Freshman year in the dorms is where you will meet some of your best college friends. Choose wisely.
Stay on top of campus and local news and events.
There are a number of students who go to college, but don’t break out of their own personal bubble of a few friends, can only be found at their apartment, class, or bar, and have never really experienced the local area and have no idea what is going on around them. If you are part of a community, you would be doing yourself a service by staying up to date with the news and events going on in your area. As a college student, that means reading the campus and local newspapers, looking through the student government meeting minutes, keeping up to date with your university’s event calendar, visiting the city’s website and seeing what they have planned, etc. Don’t be a shut-in and only go to school and your room. There are so many things to explore and do while you are in college, and you don’t want to look back and realize you wasted all that time doing nothing and being unaware to the world around you.
Keep control over your finances.
There are plenty of students you will see going out almost every night, partying way too much, or spending lots of money on things they don’t really need. The allure of no parents watching your every move or controlling your financial decisions can make it very tempting to make bad decisions. It is important to maintain a sound money management policy and realize that every dollar you spend adds up. Keep a level head and don’t always give in to impulse decisions that will require your money to be spent.
Other suggestions for a fulfilling freshman year:
- Join an intramural team.
- Take a extracurricular class for fun, something that can stir your creative mind.
- Participate in on-campus activities.
- Caffeine is your friend.
- Don’t stress about having to choose your college major in your first year. Get pre-reqs out of the way and take college classes you think you would enjoy or interest you.
- Make good use of the school library. Late hours and large reference selections help with any school project.
- Meet as many fellow students as you can. College is a great academic environment where great minds come together and collaborate. Social intellectual interaction is always good for the mind.
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