For many students, going to college is the best way to get ahead. There’s no question that graduating from a university can set you up to work in a rewarding, high-paying career, but that’s only the case if you actually graduate.
Learning how to be successful in college can take some trial and error, especially because achieving success in college is a lot different than achieving success in high school.
Here are a few tips that will help you get started.
1. Learn How to Write a Good Paper
It’s very difficult to be successful in college without knowing how to write a good paper, even if you are a good test taker. Especially since many tests in college require short essays for answers!
Hopefully, you learned the basics of how to write a good paper in high school, but now it’s time to kick it into high gear when you get to college. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Make sure you know the assignment and ask questions if you have them.
- Choose an argument, then develop points to support it.
- Never proofread the same day you write your paper.
- Use both spell and grammar checkers.
It’s also a good idea to have someone else read over your paper. That might mean asking someone from class or visiting your college’s writing center. Professional editing is also an option for graduate students, as there are many online resources that can help with this portion.
2. Join a Study Group
Studying on your own is effective, and it’s also convenient. You can do it anywhere at any time, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way you should study. A study group is another effective way to study.
By getting together with others in your class, you’re able to fill in the gaps in your notes. Study partners may be able to clarify points that are confusing to you, which helps you learn faster.
Another benefit of being part of a study group is the fact that it is more difficult for you to procrastinate. Just as you’re more likely to work out if you paid for a workout class rather than trying to find time to stop by the gym, so too are you more likely to show up to a study group when you would otherwise put off reading that chapter for one more night.
3. Take Advantage of Free Resources
You’re in college to go to the classes you paid for, but there’s a lot more to college than attending classes. There are many free resources on campus, that when taken advantage of, can boost your chances of having a successful college experience.
College campus resources include:
- Academic advisors
- Career centers
- Crisis centers
- Fitness centers
- Writing centers
- Library resources
- RAs and living resources
- Professors’ office hours
It’s not just campus resources that are available to you. There are also many free online resources that can help you get ahead in college.
4. Get Plenty of Rest
College is synonymous with late nights. Whether you’re up all night studying or you’re up all night partying, it’s the norm for college students to miss out on sleep. Unfortunately, that can compromise the success you experience in college.
Getting plenty of rest is always important, but it is especially important when you’re in college. Getting plenty of sleep helps with tissue repair, immune function, and growth, but it can also help you retain information.
Getting more sleep might be as easy as not going out on a school night, but it might also mean creating a study schedule so you aren’t cramming for the test the night before. If you have roommates, try using sleeping aids, like an eye mask and earplugs to help you get plenty of sleep.
5. Treat School Like a Full-Time Job
If you’re taking around 15 hours’ worth of classes, you’re a full-time student. If you’re a full-time student, you have a full-time job, even if it doesn’t pay you!
A general rule of thumb is to plan to study between two and three hours for every hour you spend in class, but how much you study does depend on the demands of your current classes. Some courses require more attention than others. Estimate how many hours you should be studying each semester and stick to it. The more you focus on your studies, the more you’ll learn, and the more successful you’ll be.
If you’re spending the money to attend college, make sure it’s well worth your time by always looking for ways to boost your success.
For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.