So you’re starting college, but you don’t know what you’re getting into. It’s true: college is hard! But if you’re intentional and motivated, you can get through it. Here are 4 easy ways to set yourself up for success in college.
1. Go to Class
One of the easiest steps that you can take to achieving success in college is to go to class. While this may seem like an obvious tip, you would be surprised at the number of college students who fall behind as a result of skipping class.
Tuition can be expensive. As each class costs hundreds of dollars, it’s important to put that money to good use and make going to class a priority. One way to motivate yourself to go to class is to find out how much each class costs.
For example, if your tuition and fees for one academic year are $29,056 for a private 4-year college, divide that by the number of classes you are taking (i.e. 10 classes per year). Here, a single college course costs $2905.06. In a typically 14 week semester, my total is $207.54. This means that if your class meets once a week, every class that you miss costs you a whopping $207.54.
Your college education is worth the investment. Make the most out of your classes by being physically present, paying attention, and interacting with your professor and peers. If you absolutely need to miss class, make sure to email your professor ahead of time and get notes from a reliable classmate.
2. Get Organized
Before the first week of class, make sure that you are well-equipped. You wouldn’t go into a battle without your weapons, so don’t step foot into that classroom without a notebook and a pen. Make sure that you have all of the supplies you need for successful note-taking and planning.
A few must-have items are: a planner, notebooks/binders, folders, highlighters, pencils and pens, and Post-Its.
3. Check Your Syllabus
“Syllabus” may be a new word in your vocabulary, but they will become the most important pieces of paper in your life. A syllabus is a document outlining the course objectives and topics that will be covered in the class. It usually contains important information such as the professor’s contact information and office hours, required and recommended reading materials, grading policy, and late work policy.
As most college professors have their syllabus available online before the course begins, take a look through the syllabus and mark any questions that you may have for the first day for class. Note the course objectives, and mark the major assignments of the year into a planner or calendar. (If you don’t have a planner, see step #2). Set up deadlines for your papers and tests so that you don’t have to cram the night before a test or pull an all-nighter for the paper you could have worked on all week long.
4. Meet with Your Advisor and Professors
Advisors can be helpful, trusted guides through your college journey. If you’re a freshman, you will probably have to meet with your admissions counselor or advisor at the beginning of the year. Use that time wisely to ask any questions you may have about your classes, your intended major/minor, and your desired career path. Your advisor will make sure that you are taking the classes you need for graduation.
Once you have started classes, make appointments to meet with professors who work in the field that you are interested in. Professors have a wealth of knowledge and are usually eager to share their wisdom. They may turn into professional contacts or even friends, which is great when you need a recommendation letter. Get connected with the faculty and staff of your college and start networking!