How to Succeed in College

It doesn’t matter if you were a your class valedictorian or class clown; college is a fresh start for everyone. Many high school honor students are surprised at the difficulty level of the work in college, and with newly found independence, it is easy to fall behind. Studies show that 28% of college dropouts leave because they are academically disqualified.

Success in college, however, is about more than just grades. Financial problems, health issues (including mental and emotional issues), lack of a support system, and poor social skills are all other seasons that students drop out. Many of these students never return. Most students actually consider dropping out at some point. How can you beat the odds and succeed in college?

Hang out with the right people. Sadly, some young adults only go to college to party, drink, and do drugs. You can have fun, but start friendships with people who balance fun with work. Join study groups, be an active part of your department, and find clubs on campus that promote achievement. The right friends will influence you to do your best.

Balance your classes. It might be tempting to take all easy classes, but doing that won’t help you in your career after you graduate. At the same time, being too ambitious with your course schedule can be a bad idea, since your stress levels will rise and you may be forced to drop classes that are too difficult. Find a nice balance between easy classes and challenging classes.

Apply for student loans, scholarships, and grants. Scholarships and grants are great sources of college money, and whatever you don’t cover with these free sources of money, borrow in the form of student loans, which you don’t have to repay until after you graduate. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a great place to start for help paying for college. Beyond that, simply be responsible with your money by avoiding credit cards and putting money into a savings account when you can, you can alleviate stress due to finances in college.

Find a roommate you like. In college, your room is your sanctuary – but one that you likely have to share with at least one other person. As a freshman, you may not get to pick your roommate for your first semester, but be sure to approach your RA right away if there’s a serious problem. After the first semester, look for a roommate who you not only like, but who is respectful of your space and possessions. You don’t have to be best friends or do everything together, but a roommate with good habits, like studying, will keep you from getting caught up in distracting activities.

Find study spots on campus. Although you may want to sit in your room to study, because your dorm is also your office, kitchen, and living room, it may not be the best place for quiet activities. Look for study spots around campus that are off the beaten path, comfortable, and well-lit where you can sit with books, papers, and your laptop to get work done. Have multiple study spots available around campus.


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