ForwarDirections – Educational Coaches / College & Career Planning

10 Tips for the First Month of College

SignTheBeginningA lot has been written about being successful in college. We know it takes a combination of good academic skills and good social skills to make it through your first year of college. With that being said, here are 10 Tips to consider for the first month in college:

  • 1. Attend all classes and do all the assignments.  Showing up is important, but equally important is completing the assignments. Not doing assignments is the fastest way to end up with poor grades or on academic probation (and repeating courses will cost you more money in the long term).
  • 2. Figure Out Your Study Habits. Where is the best place for you to study and what time of the day works best for you? Set a schedule and stick to it. Avoid doing assignments at the last minute.
  • 3. Back up Your Files Online. Every assignment or paper you do should be backed up online. Google Drive or DropBox are two places that work well (You can also email finished documents to yourself and then organize documents into folders via your email). These are also good places to back up your photos. Make it a practice to do this on at least a weekly basis. You never know when that information may be needed in the future.
  • 4. Get to Know Your Professors. After attending your college courses, you have begun to relate to some professors more than others. Visit one or two of your professors during their office hours to ask questions related to their course. Or just ask them for advice about your future plans in their field. (And don’t forget that the people who work in the library or the financial aid office or the admissions office are equally important people to get to know).
  • 5. Network to Meet New People. You’ve heard the phrase, “Network, Network, Network.” College is the perfect place to network because everyone is new on a college campus. Stretch yourself to meet one new person each day – whether in a class or the dorm or the dining hall. Write down their names and contact info. You never know when one of these people may lead to a future opportunity.
  • 6. Attend School Activities or Organize an Intramural Team. Figure out the things you like or the things you think you like and expand your horizons by doing activities in your dorm or at your college. Most dorms organize activities to bring students together. Even if you may not like a certain activity, just attend to get to meet other students. If there is a sport you like, get involved in an intramural sport or organize some people to be part of a team. Competing with others on a team is one way to get to know others.
  • 7. Monitor Your Finances. Know how much money you are spending per week for non-school related activities and make sure this is within your budget. Talk to your parents or someone at your bank or with someone in your financial aid office if you have questions about how to do this well.
  • 8. Build Your Credit. Every time you pay off a credit card, you are building your credit. If you have taken out any personal loans for things like a computer, make your payments on time. Again, talk with your parents or your bank about considering small loans that you know you can pay off than can help to build your personal credit.
  • 9. Be Organized and On Time. Figure out how you will keep your calendar so you are on time to class and in completing assignments. Plus, you will want to add your social events to your calendar as well – whether it is digital or on paper. All successful people keep a calendar!
  • 10. Seek Out Help. Every one needs help from time to time and colleges have tremendous resources and they want to help you to succeed! If you’re having trouble with assignments, find out about the tutoring center or getting a tutor (many college libraries have these); if you’re feeling lonely, find out where the counseling center is and go make an appointment to talk with a counselor; if you’re not feeling well, go visit the health center. Do this sooner rather than later because then you are on your way to a successful college experience!