I am coming to a close of my college career; it’s bittersweet. It’s great to finally be finishing, but school is the only thing I’ve known for the majority of my life. Despite the stress that it has brought me at times, I have enjoyed my college experiences and consider myself moderately successful; I am completing my degree on time, have a very good GPA, and have learned a lot through the years. If you are in college or about to be, I suggest you seriously consider some of the following tips so that you can better navigate college.
1) Make it a priority
If you want to know how to succeed in college, than I suggest you start by considering it a priority in your life. Now, I’m not saying to obsess over it and neglect family, friends, and other duties. Rather, I’m saying that you need to set it in your mind that college is one of the most important responsibilities you have right now. As such, you should be setting aside anything that might interfere with you going to classes and studying. You will hear numerous times that college is supposed to be your full-time job, and in a sense anyone who says that is right! If you make it a priority in your life, then everything else will follow.
2) Study more than what you’re told
Knowing how to succeed in college has lifelong benefits. What you do for the four years of schooling will possibly set you up for great success in your future. However, there are more benefits that college offers that don’t come directly from the degree you receive. For myself, I started making it a priority to do extra research in topics that interested me, especially those in my major. When I was in community college taking some very basic English courses, I decided to purchase a couple books on different English subjects and then I would ask the professor questions. Although this was primarily for my own knowledge, it helped me practical as well; the professor was so impressed that I was reading and understanding things that graduate English students learn, that she decided to write me an amazing letter of recommendation to my transfer school. So, if you’re interested in something pertaining to your major but your not covering it yet, than don’t be afraid to study it on your own.
3) Get to know the professors
More often than not, the professors at your school know how to succeed in college more than you do. If you really want good advice, go to them. Depending on the school your in this can be made harder or easier, but it all depends on the size. If you go to a large university, you might want to make it a priority to go to your professors office hours a few times and ask them questions, converse with them, and even tell them about your future plans. For those who go to smaller colleges, getting to know your professors is probably much easier. Either way, though, every student would do well to speak to professors individually and learn more about them. After all, those professors already successfully completely their undergraduate and graduate studies–and then went on to make the university their profession. They know college.
4) Don’t get sidetracked
I’m convinced that there are three general things that sidetrack the majority of students from succeeding in college as best they can: friends, fraternities, and Facebook. All three can be good, but when abused they can be dangerous deterrents to success. Make sure that you are utilizing all three in a way that they supplement your goal of doing well in college. For example, friends can be a great help in studying and limiting stress, but they can also keep you from doing work, which in turn will add a lot more stress to you life. Likewise, Facebook and fraternities can be helpful in your college experiences, but you need to make sure that you are not using them in such a way that you are getting sidetracked for your goals.
5) Participate in class
I’ll tell you from experience that participation is often an overlooked thing for a college student. Most classes, however, have a participation grade built into their syllabus. Showing up to class, conversing with your peers, asking questions, and doing any necessary work goes a long way to getting a good grade. If you’re shy, you can always tell that to your professor and sometimes they will accommodate you, but more often than not they will help you break out of your shyness. Some classes, of course, don’t have much room for participation–but it’s important to participate whenever you can. If you’re in a class with only 20-30 students, my guess is that participation is a big part of your grade. Check your syllabus and make sure; but, at the end of the day participating can’t hurt you.
Knowing how to succeed in college is pretty simple; most of the tips are common sense. However, everyone will have a different style, so to speak. Thus, succeeding in college can look a little different for everyone. At the very least, though, the tips above should be a great starting point and framework for success. Good luck to you in your college journey!