by Randall S. Hansen Ph.D | livecareer.com
Go to all orientations.
Do you really need to go on yet another campus tour? Yes. The faster you learn your way around campus — and around all the red tape — the more at ease you’ll feel, and the better prepared you’ll be when issues arise.
In high school, the teachers tended to lead you through all of your homework and due dates. In college, the professors post the assignments — often for the entire semester — and expect you to be prepared. Buy an organizer, use an app, or get a big wall calendar — whatever it takes for you to know when assignments are due.
Go to class.
Obvious, right? Maybe, but sleeping in and skipping that 8 am class will be tempting at times. Avoid the temptation. Besides learning the material by attending classes, you’ll also receive vital information from the professors about what to expect on tests, changes in due dates, etc.
Become an expert on course requirements and due dates.
Professors spend hours and hours preparing course syllabi and calendars so that you will know exactly what is expected of you — and when. One of the lamest excuses a student can give a professor: “I didn’t know it was due today.”
Meet with your professors.
You can be assured there are only upsides to getting to know your professors, especially if later in the semester you run into some snags. Professors schedule office hours for the sole purpose of meeting with students — take advantage of that time.
Seek a balance.
College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don’t tip the balance too far in either direction. One of my favorite former students always used to say her motto was to “study hard so she could play hard.”
Get involved on campus.
A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group (and be careful not to go overboard) — student organizations, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or sports teams. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.
Strive for good grades.
Another obvious one here, right? Remember the words of the opening paragraph; while good grades could have come naturally to you in high school, you will have to earn them in college — and that means setting some goals for yourself and then making sure you work as hard as you can to achieve them.
Take advantage of the study resources on campus.
Just about all colleges have learning labs and tutors available. If you’re having some troubles, these resources are another tool available to you. Another idea: form study groups.
Keep track of your money.
If you’ve never had to create a budget, now is the time to do so. Find ways to stretch your money — and as best you can, avoid all those credit card solicitations you’ll soon be receiving. The average credit card debt of college grads is staggering.
Be prepared to feel overwhelmed.
There’s a lot going in your life right now. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As one student says, be prepared to feel completely unprepared. The trick is knowing that you’re not the only one feeling that way.