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Tips to Succeed in College

 

Target group: All college students (especially incoming freshman)

 

College is a marathon that requires proper training and adequate resources in order to cross the finish line. This article will provide some of the tips to succeed throughout the dream land they call college.

Tip #1: Know yourself.

Sounds pretty straight forward, but people tend to forget this. Know whether you like to take morning classes, study during the day or at night, etc. Once you know what works best for you, the pathway to success will be that much easier.

Tip #2: Always remember the main mission: To get that degree.

Aside from everything else, you really only came to college for one reason. No matter what you do, never forget what you came for.

Tip #3: Become a leader and also learn to follow other leaders.

Companies now a days require leadership skills to some extent. Also, it’s fun being a leader and having people look up to you. It’ll make you a better person at the end of the day. Join organizations. Apply for leadership positions. Attend leadership trainings and conferences. Learn something from other leaders. Learn from others’ mistakes.

Tip #4: Join a professional organization or two.

It opens up a world of opportunities and you get to meet people who most likely will become lifetime connections.

Tip #5: Ensure proper financial management.

My personal favorite. You will learn that proper financial management is very important in every aspect of life. Develop a budget. Talk to an advisor. DO NOT BLOW YOUR REFUND CHECK. If anything, invest that money into something profitable (a topic for another day). Know the difference between subsidized (government pays the interest while you’re in college) vs. unsubsidized loans (you pay the interest as soon as you get the money). Also, get to know your financial aid office and talk to them about different funding opportunities. Lastly, apply for FAFSA January 1st. The money is on a first come, first served basis.

Tip #6: Apply for as many scholarships as possible.

The worst they can say is “no.” There are thousands of scholarship opportunities out there that people don’t know about. Ask your advisor. Ask me (I will be posting scholarship opportunities on my website). And remember that you can’t win a scholarship if you don’t apply. Even if you don’t meet the qualifications, but you’re very close, just apply.

Tip #7: Get a mentor or two.

They might prove to be the most important people you meet in college and they will definitely come in handy for letter of recommendations.

Tip #8: Establish a high GPA early.

It’s harder to build a GPA that’s low than lowering a GPA that’s high. Take blow off classes early. Learn what those classes are from upperclassman. Don’t make your life harder by taking hard gen-eds.

Tip #9: Develop a solid résumé.

From day one, you should already have a résumé. It is something that you should build upon early. Find the best template. Be careful of the format (only takes about 10 seconds to review a résumé at a first glance). Visit your career center or someone that’s good at reviewing résumés. Lastly, develop a career plan that you can follow and help build your résumé along the way.

Tip #10: Get an internship.

If you can get one freshman year, more power to you. It’s something that gets overlooked, but turns out to be a huge factor in landing a full-time job. Attend those career fairs. Attend those professional org meetings. With the right network and GPA, you will easily land an internship. Also, don’t forget to practice those interviewing skills. Additionally, LinkedIn is a great place to find an internship or job opportunity.

Tip #11: Effective time management.

Arguably the most important aspect of life. A very critical skill to have in college. A calendar and a planner are two things that might help in this area.

Tip #12: Get to know your professors.

Another letter of recommendation opportunity. And a chance to move from a B+ to an A. Introduce yourself Day 1. Participate in class. Don’t stalk them, but simply try to be involved in the classroom and seek help whenever needed. Professors appreciate that.

Tip #13: Learn when to ask for help.

College is not easy. There will be times when you’re down. Pick back up by seeking advice from your mentors and peers. If you don’t understand something in class, ask your professor. Go to office hours. Use Google.

Tip #14: Don’t be shy, be social.

Not too social, but college is the place to start meeting people and developing your network. Meet people. It’s easy. Establish a network that you can count on. Develop a group of peers that share similar goals. Remember that college students are very friendly (depending on what school you go to). And please watch out for social media. Simply be careful of what you say.

Tip #15: Get involved and give back to the community.

Can’t stress this enough. Life is not about what you know, but it’s about who you know. Getting involved can open up a world of opportunities. And through the process, help people. Success is not about what you achieve, but also what you help others achieve in the process. Take advantage of those volunteer opportunities. After all, people helped you get here.

Tip #16: Establish a study plan and location that works best for you.

If you know you can’t study at home, go to the library. If you know you can’t study in quiet places, then don’t study somewhere quiet. All a part of knowing yourself, but developing the right study plan and place to study is critical to your success. Always remember the main mission. Don't procrastinate and get things done in advance whenever possible.

Tip #17: Learn how to say “no.”

If you can’t make it to that party the night before your exam, it’s perfectly fine. If you're a male and a girl tells you to come watch a movie knowing you have to study, it’s perfectly fine to say “no.” Very tempting, but you have to do what you have to do to complete the main mission. Learn when to give the boot. Make (smart) sacrifices when needed.

Tip #18: College is not the time to be looking for a soul mate.

We'll leave it at that.

Tip #19: Remove failure as an option.

People tend to fail when failure is an option. When failure is no longer an option, we will do everything possible to prevent it from happening.

Tip #20: Have fun.

Another thing we tend to forget. Through all the stress, find something that makes you feel better. Life is too short to be over-stressing. Have fun through the process and it will make life that much easier.

I hope these tips help you through the college journey. Remember, college is arguably the best four years of your life. So enjoy it. If you have any questions about college or life in general, please feel free to contact me at (773) 679-7198 or jeffbadu@gmail.com.

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