College success is a loose concept. Some believe the very fact of getting higher education to be successful enough for them. Others consider their college experience to be incomplete if they do not pursue at least one independent research project every term. Still, others do not limit the idea of success to the studies per se and are more interested in other activities related to their time in college: student clubs, activism, volunteering, sports, and so on. Nevertheless, whatever your idea of success in college is, the methods of achieving it are more or less the same. In this article, we will cover some of the most important principles you should follow if you want to get as much as possible from your time in college.
1. Use the Help of Your Advisors
Most colleges offer a variety of advisors ready to help you with all kinds of things, from choosing among several philosophy research topics for a paper to giving you advice concerning your future career. Their help is often invaluable, even though many students believe they do not need it at all. If you do not understand something, ask questions; if you do not have any questions, say that you do not know what questions to ask. The advisors will find a way to help you.
2. Learn to Manage Your Time and Energy
Compared to high school, college gives you much more freedom when it comes to organizing your time and deciding what and when to do it. For many students, this responsibility can be overwhelming. As a result, you will probably spend significantly less time attending classes than you did in high school, while the overall workload is going to be higher. If you don’t learn how to organize and manage your time and energy early on, you risk lagging behind and getting poorer grades across the board. Therefore, make sure you have enough time for everything: for your classes, for independent studies and projects, for part-time work, and, of course, for sleep.
3. Do not Cheat
Whether your personal philosophy treats cheating as acceptable or not, you would do yourself a favor if you avoid it. Poor time management, overextension, and unexpectedly high workload can make it tempting to cut a corner or two, but it never pays off in the long run. Cheating can help you scrape through a difficult test or get a better grade, but it won’t improve your knowledge, forcing you to rely on it again and again. Sooner or later, it will get you into trouble, and college has much harsher penalties for cheating than high school.
Do not limit yourself to your major and related studies. There is much more to college life than that – honors programs, independent undergraduate research, guest lecturers, overseas studies programs, internships, extracurricular activities, music, arts, and much more.
5. Take Classes Outside of Your Major
It will both enrich your college experience and broaden your perspectives. Many HR managers pay special attention to the applicants who seem to have additional interests outside of their primary field of expertise, and taking a few classes unrelated to your major can help you with that.
6. Don’t Shy Away from Asking for Help
Asking for help does not mean that you are stupid or incompetent. The true sign of stupidity is not asking for help when you know you need it. The most successful students are usually those who are not afraid to make use of their college’s extra resources. Look for free tutoring, talk to faculty members during their office hours, contact your instructor and ask for advice. You can get help with everything from choosing topics for your papers to organizing your personal research projects.
7. Get to Know Your Professors
Usually, the most successful students are those who take care to build up relationships with faculty members that go beyond attending their classes. Visit them during office hours, ask for advice, pose questions concerning their disciplines, volunteer to help them with their research work, whatever works for you. It will be helpful both during your stay in college and after you graduate.
8. Join a Study Group
Being a part of a well-organized study group can do wonders for your overall results in college. In addition to helping each other when individual students run into trouble, study groups are an excellent tool to enforce accountability. It is much easier to keep doing your academic work on time when you do it as a part of a group than in case you do not have to explain your falling behind to anybody but yourself.
Achieving success in college involves much more than simply attending classes and doing your homework on time. It is a complex balancing act that requires you to be proactive, constantly look for ways to improve yourself, and achieve new results. We hope that our tips will be helpful.