1. Realize that college is not the same as high school.
Never before have you been associated with as many students who are as bright and motivated as yourself. Because of this, students who were academic leaders in high school sometimes find themselves in the middle of the pack in college. Similarly, students who struggled in high school may continue to struggle, although they could also discover new areas of study in which they are both interested and capable. Regardless of your situation, expect to learn to do the best you can without comparing yourself to classmates. Ultimately, the best predictor of academic success is personal motivation.
2. Realize that college is a major life transition.
Most freshmen feel nervous, excited, and homesick about the new college experience. If you feel this way, realize this is normal and talk about these feelings with other freshmen. If these feelings become overwhelming and distract you from your school work, use campus counseling services or other campus support services. These campus professionals will understand and are there to help.
3. Be sure to balance your schedule.
Many freshmen make the mistake of spending all their out of class time studying, OR playing. You need to do both. Purchase a daily planner and write in all of your daily responsibilities, including classes, work, meetings, and study time. Then, be sure to schedule personal fun time too! If you study all the time, you’ll burn out. If you play all the time, you’ll fail out.
4. Beware of the myth that the “thing to do” on the weekend is to party.
Recent studies indicate that the use of alcohol is inversely related to grade achievement. The more college students drink, the lower their grades. Use of alcohol also increases the risk of violence, date rape, depression, and dropping out of college. Despite state law and campus regulations, many college freshmen drink alcohol. If you are tempted to drink, go to parties with friends, watch out for one another, and leave the party together at the end of the night. Never drink to become intoxicated. Be aware of the potential legal and personal consequences of consuming alcohol when you make your choices.
5. Keep an open mind.
College will present you with opportunities to meet people from many different backgrounds, challenge your beliefs, explore new subject areas, and become involved in many varied activities. You should seize this opportunity to learn more about the world around you, as well as yourself. You will learn much more in college than what is taught in the classroom, or in your texts.