6 Easy Tips for Succeeding at College

You know that dealing with stress and developing good study skills are the best tips for succeeding as a college student. But wait, there’s more! Here are six college tips that will take you a long way.

“The single most underutilized resource at college is the office hour, now available in-person, by e-mail, or by Skype,” writes Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman in Top 10 Secrets of College Success. “You might not have realized it, but professors are required to be in their office two to four hours a week to meet with students and help them with the course. Your tests and papers will go better if you’ve had a chance to ask about things you’re confused about, and, with any luck, received some guidance from the professor about what your thesis sentence should be or what’s going to be on the test.”

If you’re struggling to succeed as a college student, your smartest strategy is to reach out for help. Be honest about your problems, and ask for solutions and support. If you’re struggling financially, read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students. And, below are five more college tips for students…

Don’t give up! “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

What foundations are under the castles you’ve built in the air? The castles are your goals; the foundations are the steps you need to take to achieve your goals And remember: it’s fine to set lofty college goal. Just make sure the steps to achieving your goals are smart, specific, and realistic!

5 Tips for Succeeding at College

I recently graduated with my MSW (Master of Social Work) from university. If you’re considering going to graduate school, feel free to ask me questions below. Or, read Should You Go to Graduate School for a MSW?

1. Figure out what you want out of college

I wanted it all when I was a student: good grades, lots of friends, challenging yet fun extracurricular activities, a committed relationship, a college degree, an easy but profitable part-time job, volunteer work, and to pay my student loans before I graduated! That’s a big pile of goals for one college student…and it’s not possible to achieve them all. To succeed at school, you need to figure out what you want out of college. Create a master list of goals.

2. Set two or three main goals for each semester

After you’ve created your master list of college goals, you need to narrow it down into two or three smart, achievable goals for each semester. For example, your goals for your first semester could include brushing up on your study skills, finding an extracurricular club, and achieving a healthy work/school/social life balance. This college success tip applies to achieving all goals in life: set a few small specific goals that won’t overwhelm you. After a predetermined amount of time, re-evaluate your goals. Make changes if necessary.

3. Surround yourself with like-minded college students (find your tribe!)

If getting good grades is your measure of success, then spend time with students who get good grades. If joining an athletic team or drama club is what you want out of school, then find those athletes and actors! Don’t create obstacles to your goals by spending time with people who can’t help you succeed at school.

4. Put your strengths to work

Marcus Buckingham is a career coach who advises not focusing your weaknesses.

6 Easy Tips for Succeeding at College

6 Easy Tips for Succeeding at College

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Instead, figure out what your strengths are, and keep working on them. “It’s ironic that your strengths can be so easy to overlook, because they’re clamoring for your attention in the most basic way,” says Buckingham, who wrote Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance.

“Using them makes you feel strong. All you have to do is teach yourself to pay attention. Try to be conscious of yourself and how you feel as you’re completing your day-to-day tasks.” For example, if you’ve set a goal of getting good grades, and you study better alone than in a group, then say no to those requests for group study!

5. Find healthy ways to deal with college stress

Let’s face it: it’s scary to set goals because we might fail, or we might succeed, or people might think we’re stupid, or we might have to change our opinion of ourselves. Even just reading college success tips can make us feel uncomfortable because it can seem like there’s so much work involved! Stress and anxiety is part of life as a college student. You need to find healthy, fun ways to cope with stress and stay as physically and emotionally healthy as possible.

Do you have a college success tip to add, or a question about succeeding at school? I welcome you below…

If you think you can’t cope, read How to Know If You Should Drop Out of College.


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