Success in college involves more than just attending class and reading textbooks. To succeed in college, you need to plan ahead, be organized, and take advantage of all of the resources and services that your college has to offer you.
The following tips will help you make the most of your college experience!
Get to Know Your College
- Visit your college’s website
Your college has its catalog online and every department will be represented on it or they may have their own websites to describe their services. Take responsibility for learning all you need to know to navigate through college.
- Follow your college on social media
Many colleges participate in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and other social media sites. Be sure to like and/or follow your college on their sites and to read their posts. These are great ways for you to find out what is happening at your college, share what you are doing at college, and share this information with your friends and family.
- Familiarize yourself with the campus
Take an extensive tour of the campus. The Admissions Office often provides tours, but after you are enrolled feel free to roam the campus yourself. You may need to ask directions occasionally, but this is a great way to figure out the locations of specific classrooms or labs, the Library, the café, other study areas, computer labs, faculty offices, etc. You’ll also have a chance to meet a lot of the key people on campus!
Use Available Resources
- Use the Library
Despite the availability of online information, use your college Library. It subscribes to otherwise unavailable journals and databases that will be invaluable to your studies. Book and media resources are also useful to your research.
Your college Library offers numerous services that will assist you. Perhaps the most important resource at your college Library is the Librarian(s). Ask them for assistance. They are experts at locating hard-to-find information.
- Meet with your Academic Advisor early and often
Your Academic Advisor is usually a faculty member from your program of study. Make regular appointments with your academic advisor to discuss graduation requirements, program options, required and elective courses, and possible co-op or internship options.
- Meet with your Academic Support and Financial Literacy Counselor regularly
Your Academic Support and Financial Literacy Counselor is available to provide educational counseling as well as counseling for personal development and financial literacy, including a clear understanding of the Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP policy, to assist students in attaining academic success. Your Counselor will be your cheerleader, coach, and (as needed) taskmaster.
Students are encouraged to avail themselves of the services of an Academic Support and Financial Literacy. Time management, goal setting, and academic progress are reviewed regularly according to individual student needs.
- Speak to a job placement counselor about your future
The job placement counselor can assist you as you prepare to find a job during school or after you graduate.
Career staff can assist you with cover-letter and resume writing, mock interviews, job leads for vacant positions, and reviewing application materials.
Make Smart Decisions
- Learn your college’s rules and regulations
Take time to review your college’s academic integrity code, alcohol and drug policies, institutional regulations, and rules for your specific program. These are all available through your college’s website, often within the Student Handbook. Violations can result in warnings, failed grades, or expulsion.
Claiming “I didn’t know” doesn’t cut it in college. You will be expected to behave as an adult.
- Maintain accurate records
Keep a file that contains hard copies of all college-related paperwork, including transcripts, placement test results, course syllabi, graded assignments (including papers, quizzes, and tests), financial aid information, grade reports, etc. You want your own “paper trail” in case online records are compromised.
- Review and evaluate your online presence
Almost everyone has access to your online identity, including potential employers, landlords, scholarship committees, and others.
Select your privacy settings wisely, and think long and hard about what you post. You want to ensure that an online search does not reveal content that will damage your reputation or limit your opportunities.
Keep Your Safety and Security in Mind
- Include I.C.E. numbers on your cell phone
Program your cell phone with “In Case of Emergency” (I.C.E.) numbers. Include the three people you want contacted in an emergency. Add the phone number of the office that handles your college’s safety and security issues. If you commute on public transportation, add their emergency security number to you contact list, too.
- Guard against theft
Never leave textbooks, laptops, cell phones, chargers, keys, or anything of value unattended in a dining area, classroom, or library.
Take photos of valuable items and check with your insurance provide about your coverage in the event of theft, loss, or damage.
If you do lose something, notify the appropriate office on campus and check with lost and found. Hopefully, you’ll find the item wasn’t stolen, but rather turned in by someone who thought it was lost or abandoned.
- Back up everything
Computers and thumb/USB drives get lost, stolen, or corrupted. Remember to back up all of your important documents on a cloud back-up system, an external drive, or by emailing yourself document attachments. If your college provides you with storage on the campus computer network, you can use that as another place to keep an extra copy of your documents.
Create Your Own Plan
- Create your own customized academic plan with your Academic Support and Financial Literacy Counselor. You can even create a career plan by working with a career counselor.
- Select a course of study that you find interesting and even challenging. Be sure that it provides appropriate and fulfilling career opportunities.
- Develop a timeline for completing all of the required and elective coursework. Meet with your counselors on a regular basis to review and update the timeline as necessary.
- Search out career-related internships and/or part-time jobs to gain experience and skills that will complement your major. Talk to the faculty in your program about internships that they know about.
Remember to include your internship(s) and part-time job(s) on your resume. Any good experience in your field is better than no experience when you search for a full-time job.
- Improve your leadership skills by actively participating in student organizations and community service.
- Make an effort to improve your writing, public speaking, and computer skills. These skills will serve you for your entire life and in all aspects of your life.