Below is a list of 15 tips that, if truly followed, will guarantee any student’s success in college. While this is specifically aimed at undergraduates, with a few small exceptions, these apply to graduate students, too. I would love to hear feedback and additional items in the comments.
- College really is harder than high school and is a completely different world. Junior and Senior courses will also be completely different than freshmen and sophomore courses.
- Ideally, absolutely no more than 10-15 hours working for full time students, if you even work. On-campus jobs are ideal, if you need income.
- Never take a semester “off” – not even summers. Be prepared to dedicate 10-12 hours per week, per class (counting study time and class time). In summer semesters, this will usually be doubled, if not tripled or quadrupled per class.
- Be prepared to buy lots of expensive books (we’re talking $100+ per book). Have a good supply of paper, pens, staples, etc. You need a good MacBookPro and a DropBox account with 50-100 GB capacity, too.
- Read the official Catalog, Student Handbook, your degree plan/degree requirements, and the syllabus for each class, and read them often.
- Attend every class, always, no matter what.
- Complete every assignment, always, and read and follow the directions carefully.
- Never take a class without finding out about the course and the professor.
- Talk to professors (and graduate students, if you’re at a university) and talk to them often.
- Get help and advice often, even when “you don’t need it.”
- Find one or two individuals, anyone who works at the college, who you feel comfortable talking to about anything.
- Limit participation in extra curricular activities. One group is enough, if not too much. No more than 2-3 hours a week. Never attend Parties (the capital “P” is on purpose), ever.
- Take chances; look for learning opportunities.
- Always start early and have several backup plans for everything.
- Remember that college is a learning experience (an open mind is required!) with the reward way down the road.
- First Time in College Primer (added May 28, 2014 from Dr. Aaron Alon’s website)