1. Set goals for yourself even if you change them throughout college. Realistic goals help keep you motivated and provide direction.
2. Trust your instincts and that little voice in your head before you say “yes” to an activity that’s “questionable.” Before you jump right in, ask yourself, “What are the possible consequences if I do this?” or “Am I going to regret this tomorrow morning? Also, “What would my parents say about this?” One impulsive decision could have serious consequences and impact your college career.
3. Keep a weekly calendar, as well as a long-term calendar. Plan your week and follow it. In fact, pick a set day and time each week when you will plan out and review your week. Think about your various roles when planning your week (for example, student, soccer player, member of student government) to help you recall your various tasks. Knowing how to manage your time is crucial to college success.
4. Make a date with yourself to study at specific times of day during the week and honor that commitment. Put it on your calendar and commit to using that time for homework. Be just as diligent as you would be if you had scheduled a doctor’s appointment. You will develop a routine for studying. During those times, review class notes within 24 hours after taking them. It doubles your retention rate of material and certainly will be helpful when it comes to studying for exams.
5. Ask for help if you need it. Support is there but you have to be the one to ask for it. Asking for help shows real maturity. Self-advocacy is another hallmark of college success. Try to be specific with your questions rather than just tell the professor you don’t understand what’s going on.
6. Before you borrow your roommate’s clothes, polish off their leftover pizza, or invite a friend from home to stay for the weekend, ask your roommate, “Do you mind if….?” If something bothers you talk about it. In fact, during the first week of school share each others’ thoughts on routines and habits. Do you like to study with music blaring? Do you go to bed after 1AM during the week? Decide on some ground rules. Communicate with your roommate and treat each other with respect. If something bothers you. address it within 24 hours so you can stem potential conflicts and tension won’t build up.
7. Each time you leave your dorm room, stop at the door and “read” the room. Ask yourself, “Do I have everything I need?” (All of my books, my room key, etc.) Doing so will mean you won’t have to wake up your RA or call campus police to let you in your room at 2AM because you forgot your key.
8. Attend every class. Professors may base test questions on class notes rather than just text readings. Given the cost of tuition, missing one class could be like throwing away at least $50.00. If something comes up that absolutely keeps you from getting to class (a high fever, etc.) e-mail your professor before class and see if you need a note from health services to excuse you from the missed class.
9. Go outside of your comfort zone a bit and introduce yourself to kids you don’t know or sign up for a course you’ve always had an interest in or just wanted to learn about. Perhaps you want to try a new intramural sport or join an improv comedy group. College affords you a wonderful opportunity to explore new interests and to make friends for life.
10. Take an active role in your college experience. Own your own journey,