Your college experience will be different than what your high school experience was like no matter where you go. Many consider college a clean slate, where they are able to explore interests they may not have had access to at their high school. But it isn’t all about being a social butterfly. Being on a college campus means meeting college-level expectations and doing well in your classes. It means being more independent when it comes to asking for help in classes you’re struggling with, for example. It means being responsible for keeping up with your schoolwork, preparing for tests, and making most (if not all) of your classes, even when they have early start times. We’ve come up with some things to consider when you’re on a college campus for the first time below so that you can ensure that you’re not only meeting college-level expectations, but your own as well.
One of the most important skills you’ll learn while in college will be the skill of time management. If you thought it was hard to juggle high school classes with the sports, clubs and community service you may have been involved in then, you won’t have an easier time in college, where similar extracurricular activities beg for your membership and attention. Being successful in college is about more than handing your work in on time and passing classes. It’s about staying motivated. There will be a lot of demands on your time, and even if procrastinating works for you the first few times, it’s best to try to keep yourself motivated regularly, so that you’re not pulling all-nighters later. Try thinking about where you’d like to be after graduation and setting both short- and long-term goals when you’re feeling unmotivated. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back sometimes. It’s a great accomplishment already for you to be in college.
Step one in meeting college-level expectations is simple. Go to class. You won’t be successful academically if you’re continually skipping class, and won’t even know what work to keep up with if you don’t attend most of your sessions. From there, you’ll know exactly what’s expected of you, and your professor will probably have a better impression of you as well. Keeping up with your work is also about cracking those expensive textbooks open once in a while. If you start turning assignments in late or rushing through them because you weren’t on top of your class or missed something on your syllabus, your grades will surely suffer. So get up and go to your classes, get yourself organized and plan out your semester’s assignment and exam schedule sooner rather than later, and take ownership over your time. If you want to meet college-level expectations, you’ll need to set high expectations for yourself in the first place.
Preparing for college exams well before test day will not only lead to a higher grade, but boost your confidence going in to the exam, as well. Many of your classes will weigh these exams heavily when considering the grade to award you with at the end of the semester, and doing well on your midterms and finals will be especially important. If you think you may need some help preparing for tests, check out our study smart tips. If you breezed through high school and did well in even your college-level or AP courses, you may still be surprised by the amount of work that goes in to meeting college-level expectations. Make sure you’re preparing yourself for not only tests but all graded work well before due dates, so that you’re not overwhelmed and cutting it too close.
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