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Advice From a College Graduate

Updated on March 13, 2015

Take your seats class, it's time to learn how to succeed in College. Whether you're just about to embark on your higher education expedition, or you're a seasoned Van Wilder-esque veteran, there should be something in this guide to help you. Just remember; always take good notes, always!

Pick A University That's Perfect For You

There are many different forms of colleges in today's developed world. There's everything from community college to trade schools, private colleges to state colleges. The first question you should be asking yourself is WHY you want to go to college, the WHERE should come after. Some schools specialize in certain fields of study, such as Liberal Arts or Engineering. So the college right down the street from you may not be the right fit, depending on what it is you want to study. Look into the University's curriculum before hand, check websites, brochures, ask your friend Sara who had a cousin who went there for a semester but dropped out to become a hair stylist. Use any and all information you can get your hands on. Seeing as you may be spending at least four years and thousands of dollars, it'd be wise to find a university that you love rather than one that's convenient. Almost every college will allow you to take a tour of the campus and every tour leader is well trained in the history and the happenings of each university. For some people, the traditional large campus universities are too much and may feel impersonal or out of touch. For others, a small community college doesn't quite challenge a person to reach their maximum potential. And if money is an issue, try getting a student loan. Student loans are actually incredibly easy to get. You can get one from a major company like Coca-Cola, or you can even get one based on your family history, such as an Italian-American Citizen Scholarship. The government can also hand out grants for those who are already enrolled in college, but need a little help to finish it.

Do Your Homework (And Turn It In)

Remember in high school when you could get away with missing an assignment here or writing an essay ten minutes before class? Ya, you can't do that in college. In college, you have professors, not teachers. Many of the people who work in higher education have AT LEAST a master's degree in their respective fields. They know what high quality work looks like, and they know what rushed garbage smells like. You may have a lot of it, but do your homework BEFORE it's due. You'll be given a syllabus on the first day of class (the most holiest and wonderful of days known as syllabus day) which will outline every major test, essay, assignment or lab meet. If you need further instruction or the syllabus isn't clear, ask your professor. They may seem mean and scary, but remember they were in your shoes once too. Plus they're there to help you succeed, but they'll only do it if you go and ask for help. On top of this make sure when you do your work that you show up to class to turn it in. Sure sleeping is amazing, that hot person down the hall is calling, your favorite show may be on, but you did ALL that work in the first place. Why not share your crown jewel with the person that wants to view it the most: your professor. Sometimes there may be a class where upwards of 25-30% of your final grade will be essays, quizzes, homework or a mixture of the three. Do your work, turn it in, do a good job, be happy in college. Then go out and party cause you're a rock star.


Go To Class!!!

An 8am class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays? Sounds easy right? No. Apparently it's one of the worst things in the world. Right next to stubbing your toe or dropping your phone into a pre-flushed, public restroom. You WILL want to stay in bed. You WILL want to pull the covers over your head and not leave your room for anything. You WILL say you'll have your best friend take notes for you. You. Never. Will. Plan your class schedule around what you know you'll be able to do. If you are by no means a morning person, only sign up for afternoon/night classes. Hate staying up late? Grab those am classes you early bird. Some classes, especially those in the Liberal Arts, have mandatory attendance. This means if you miss a certain number of days, you will receive and F for the course and have to explain to your parents why you failed ENG 101: Intro to Reading Dr. Seuss. If you have to take a class at a certain time that you don't like, that sucks, but it is your responsibility to go to class and get the work done. If you have issues with scheduling, bring it up with your professor. Maybe they offer the same class at a different time. Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll pick you to be their next apprentice.


Know When To Party And When To Study

College is a place of self discovery. This is because, for most people, they go off on their own and now must make decisions for themselves. In college people are thrust into a new lifestyle that they must learn to cope with through different outlets. Some stay on the path of righteous studying, while others find their social lubricant through partying. There is no denying that drinking will happen in college. This is fine, as long as it's your choice (and you're of proper drinking age of course). Know when to say no to partying, as you are in college for an education rather than a multi-year rager. If you're the type of person that can drink all night, get to your 8am on time and still have enough energy to be involved in class, then you are a super hero. If you're the type of person that has to study well in advance of a test or even a quiz, then you'll want to curl some books rather than that 30 rack of Keystone Light. Parties can always wait, tests and essays on the other hand have deadlines. Extremely strict deadlines. And if you miss them, well, you're not going to be able to party in your college town for long. Many schools have GPA requirements, and if you're under that requirement for too long, you can be expelled.

Talk To Your Professors/Advisers

This category can basically answer every other problem in the article. If you have any kind of problem with a course, test, homework, schedule or anything school related, TALK TO YOUR PROFESSOR! They are there to help you succeed, but they will only help you if you make the effort to ask them. If your professor can't help you, then go ask your adviser, the people who literally have the word "advise" in their professional names. No question is too small and no catastrophe is too large for advisers. It's like they live just to help students with their problems. If the problem turns from academic to personal, your university will also have certified people you can turn to for help. Many Universities even offer free psychiatry appointments, especially during finals week. Freshmen or people living in the dorms can even schedule a private meeting with their RA if they'd rather speak to someone a bit more personal.


So, class, what is the moral of today's story? Simple; pick a college that suits your academic needs and, when you get there, make sure you help yourself succeed as well as have a good time. College is an amazing experience. So savor it before you have to graduate and do taxes.


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