As my eldest ventures into the world of higher education this fall, I pondered what helped me the most in my college years and what I might have done differently. Ever the list maker, I came up with some tips that helped me succeed:
- Sign up for a lighter load the first semester. In addition to taking fewer classes, try to take easier courses while adjusting to college life.
- On the first day of class, introduce yourself to a couple students and exchange contact information. That way if you forget to write down the homework, miss a day of class, or have any questions, you have contacts from the classroom…plus a great way to make friends.
- Anything your instructor writes on the board belongs in your notebook! If your instructor takes the time to write something on the board, you probably need to know what’s there.
- Only miss class if absolutely necessary! Even though work can occasionally be made up and notes copied, there is no substitute for being there, absorbing the information. During my college years, I discovered that if I missed more than one class, my grades would suffer.
- If not a morning person, do yourself a favor and avoid 8:00 classes (at least for the first semester while you adjust to the new routine).
- If you use a memory stick, take good care of it! My senior year I lost ten pages of my senior thesis by tossing my computer disk among textbooks, kleenex, and notebooks. Learn from my mistake and take care of your equipment!
- When writing essays, start the writing process as quickly as possible, allowing time for at least three drafts. Additional suggestions for producing quality essays can be found here.
- Have fun, get to know your classmates, and try new things! College is about experiencing life and making life-long connections…enjoy the journey!
Thanks for reading!