You’ve just graduated high school and college is just around the corner. You’re excited to get started but are nervous at the same time. As such, you’re looking for some tips on how best to approach student life. Well, we have all the tips on how to be successful in student life. So, without further ado, here’s how to be successful in college.
1- Go to Class
Once you get to college, you’ll find out fairly quickly that it’s common for students to skip classes. After all, who wants to go to class when you have all of these fun people to hang out with and all of these fun things to do?
While it would certainly be more fun to throw a frisbee on the quad than listen to an assistant professor ramble on over a lecture, you must understand that going to class is important. By missing class on a regular basis, you risk not only missing out on important study information but missing out on surprise tests as well. And what happens when you miss out on tests and study information? Your grades suffer.
You don’t want to flunk out of college just as soon as you’ve started, so go to class and put in an honest effort. Once you get your bearings straight, then you can skip class . . . well, from time to time.
2- Don’t Overwork Yourself
You go to college to get an education. However, that’s not all you’re supposed to be getting. You should also be getting personal relationships, work connections, and new experiences. You can’t get these things if you’re working yourself to death.
While studying is important, you shouldn’t let it dominate your life. Avoid double-majoring (here’s how to choose your major), and find ways to study without sacrificing all of your free time.
We recommend relegating your studying to the library. By studying in the library, you’ll be able to work without distraction. As such, you’ll be able to learn as much as possible in as short a time as possible. Plus, you’ll be able to separate work from play.
This leaves open time for other activities. You should use this open time to your advantage; hang out with friends, participate in groups, and enjoy what the campus has to offer.
3- Open a Bank Account in Your New Town
You likely already have a bank account opened in your current town. Unfortunately, the bank at which this account exists might not be available in your new town. For this reason, before leaving for college, you’re advised to open a new bank account in the town in which you’ll be living.
Sure, you might be able to do most of your banking online. However, you’re probably still going to have to use the ATM from time to time, and you certainly don’t want to pay a fee every time you need cash.
4- Get a Credit Card
A big part of growing up is building a worthwhile credit score. Your credit score is important not only for eventually getting a mortgage but for getting car loans and the like.
How do you build a credit score? By using credit and then making payments in a timely manner. For this reason, before going to college, you’re advised to get a credit card for miscellaneous expenses.
Ideally, you’ll get a card with a low credit maximum (less than $1,000). This will prevent you from making any life-damaging financial mistakes. Try to keep the card’s balance at 20% of the maximum or less. Pay it off consistently before the due date and watch your credit score climb.
5- Live in a Dorm for Your Freshman Year
If you have a choice between living in a dorm and living in an off-campus apartment your freshman year, you should opt for the dorm. Sure, it might not be as comfortable as living in an apartment, but it will lend you a much greater opportunity to expand your social life, and that can make or break your entire college experience.
Living in a dorm puts you in close quarters not only with your dorm mate but with all of the other students living in your dorm hall as well. The more you’re around these individuals, the greater chance you have of striking up friendships.
Now, not all of these friendships will last. In fact, there’s a chance that none of them will. However, they will help transition you to college life, staving off loneliness, and allowing you to eventually make friendships that do last.
6- Join a Club
Regardless of the school you go to, it’s sure to have a variety of clubs for you to join. This could be a wilderness club, a dance club, a sports club, a musical performance club, or otherwise.
In any case, you’re advised to join one or more of these clubs. Why? Because joining clubs puts you in a position to make friends and friends with similar interests at that.
You may think that your dorm mates will continue to be your friends throughout your college years. However, in many cases, dorm friendships fizzle out before freshman year has even ended. You don’t want to be left alone without friends for the rest of your college career, so get involved in clubs and find people with whom you have things in common.
7- Keep in Touch With Your Professors
As was noted above, college isn’t just about getting an education. It’s about making business connections as well. And no college-era business connection is more vital than the one that you make with a professor.
College professors aren’t just considered to be reputable amongst hiring managers. They also have important connections of their own, and can often find work for students with whom they stay connected.
For this reason, you’re strongly advised to forge relationships with your professors and then keep in touch after the class has ended. You never know when one of these professors could go on to help you down the line.
8- Don’t Be Ashamed of Calling Your Parents
Going away to college is a big step in a person’s life. For most students, it’s the first time that they’ll be away from their parents for any sizable period of time. Without that familiar support structure to fall back on, many students struggle.
As such, it’s important that you understand that there’s no shame in calling your parents from time to time. Hearing your mom or dad’s voice can be emotionally stabilizing at a time during which everything feels stressful and out of control.
This is particularly important for those who struggle to make friends in the early days of their college experience. It’s not talked about much, but a good chunk of young college students feel lonely and isolated in their new environment. In some cases, these students even experience depression and suicidal thoughts. Keeping in touch with a beloved family member is crucial for individuals such as these.
9- Mind Your Health
When you go away to college for the first time, you can get fairly easily swept up in the excitement of it all. Soon enough, you’re binge drinking 3 days a week, eating everything in sight, and losing out on substantial amounts of sleep. Rest assured, none of this is good for you.
The lesson here? Mind your health! Eat right, drink in moderation, get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and try to get to the gym regularly.
It’s not uncommon for college freshmen to gain substantial amounts of weight during their first year away from home. In fact, it even has a name: the freshman 15.
Yes, you will be tempted to do all sorts of things that are bad for your health. However, you need to practice restraint. Your physical, mental, and emotional well-being are dependent on it.
10- Leave Your Comfort Zone
Our last piece of advice is to leave your comfort zone. Don’t confine yourself to what you’ve been for the first 18 or 19 years of your life. College is an opportunity unlike any other and is meant to provide you with the time to explore and try new things.
Talk to people that you see, engage in activities that pop up around you, be an active participant in class, and put yourself out there. The experience will be much more rewarding this way.
Being Successful in College Is Easier Than It Seems
Now you know how to be successful in student life. When push comes to shove, there are all sorts of ways to become successful in college. Regardless of the school that you’re going to, you’re bound to encounter a range of people and experiences. So, put your true self out there and see what happens; student success in college is a very achievable goal.