Tips for doing well in college

Congratulations – you’re starting college this year! But as you pack your bags and prepare to head back to classes, you ask yourself…. honestly, are you ready for college? Are you making the right decision by going? And are the parties really as good as your older brother says they are?

Going from high school to college can be a big step. You’re now responsible, without people bugging you, for showing up to class, getting your homework done, and even doing your own laundry. What do you need to know?

First off: yes, you need to actually go to class! While most professors won’t bother taking attendance, you’re paying for the right to go to class and you should take advantage of that. Additionally, not going to class (or paying attention) is usually a pretty good way of failing and needing to retake the class, which is just a waste of time and money.

Yes, you also need to do your homework! Sometimes it can seem overwhelming – a hundred pages to read for one class, a long essay due for another – and you’re tempted to just skip some of it. Sometimes the reading is, in fact, excessive and there’s no way to get it all done. However, you should always attempt to finish everything; homework in college classes is often where you do much of your learning. This is particularly true in math classes, where the homework gives you the drilling it takes to really get a firm grasp on the concepts, but you should try to finish your homework in every class even if it’s not graded or doesn’t count for much.

For many people, college is the most freedom they’ve ever had, and there’s a definite temptation to spent your nights partying. Take it easy – have a good time, but be sure to get enough sleep; in particular, get to bed early (and avoid alcohol) the night before your tests! In many classes it’s impossible to pass if you totally bomb the final; don’t throw away an entire semester’s work just for one night’s worth of fun!

Finally, there are many, many people at the college whose job is to help you be successful. Professors, teaching assistants, the writing center, libraries…they’re all there to help you. If you’re struggling with something, don’t just go off on your own or give up on it; ask for help! Remember, these are resources that you’re paying for; take advantage of them!