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Protect Yourself from the Biggest Mistakes First-year College Students Make

Written by CB Experts

Yes, it’s true. You’ve settled into your dorm, you’ve met some other first-year students, you are going to your classes, and you’re beginning to feel comfortable.

But, now is the time when you can start also getting into habits that will not help you during your first semester in college. If you want a successful first semester and first year, here are some things Collegebasics wants you to think about and problem solve now.

*You got into the college of your choice and you feel pretty confident that you are a can-do person. You know you had a good high school background and you’ve always been a good student. So, now you’ve signed up for an extra course, or you’ve taken a higher level course, or you have decided to work while going to college, or you decide you want to get involved in two out-of-classroom campus activities.

You have a good attitude; and pushing yourself, earning money, and getting involved are all good, but …

–Maybe this is the year to take the standard course load, work only a few hours a week instead of 20, or try one activity before committing to two. Give yourself a chance to enjoy the fall weather, get to know a supportive group of friends, and settle into new study habits and different expectations.

! Being smart is also being wise!

*With that same confidence and your new freedom away from home and from the rules of high school, you want to face any problems with a roommate, with a professor, with a course’s timing or expectations by yourself.

But, nothing works out perfectly all the time. And,…you don’t have to put your chin up and bear it, nor do you have to put up and shut up.

–What you need to do is avail yourself of all the services you are paying for at this college. The professors have to have office hours and must be accessible, and they are quite human. You have a dean of students who can refer you to all kinds of services and help you with residential concerns, you have study skills workshops available to you as well as tutoring services, and you have counselors with open doors.

! Mature people make sure they succeed, even if it means reaching out!

*Maybe you don’t have enough time to do the work you need to do, to read what you’ve been assigned, to research completely, or to study long enough. Maybe you find you’re putting off important work until the last minute and are not doing your best.

You have a time management problem.

–What you need to do is create a time planner and find ways to use time better, Yes, YOU have to do it, because your parents aren’t there to remind you and your professors will not badger you like your high school teachers might have. Create a daily study time and find a place to do that studying without distractions. If you have nothing to study for, read ahead during that time or begin to plan ahead for papers that are due. Also make sure you have limits on the time you use for your Facebook, phone, and twittering pursuits. You will be surprised how much time these can take away from you before you know it. So set an alarm to signal you to media fun after an hour so you can move on.

! Your success is all in how you manage your time while not letting it manage you!

*You find yourself cutting classes, especially if you don’t like a class, or it’s too early in the morning, or there is snow on the ground, or…, or….

You need to meet reality.

–You and your parents are paying tuition. You are paying for the hours of time a professor meets with you, not paying for the time you study on your own. And, tuition covers just your courses, not your room and board. Tuition alone ranges from $7,000 to $40, 000. If you take 5 courses that are each 45 hours, you will have 225 hours of classes to attend per semester. To miss one hour-long class means you may be losing as much as $133.00, at least $29. It may be worth it to you and your family to get out of bed and trek on down to listen to your professor.

! You should get what you pay for.

Collegebasics has a special COLLEGE tab that is all about being at college and being successful there. Read helpful hints for college living and studying and also about adjusting to college at out site

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.