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How to Stay on Track in College

written by: Kathy Foust•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 5/13/2010

Use this college prep guide to help you stay focused and achieve your goals rather than completely losign sight of what's important to you. The simple tips offered here can be the very things that stand between a successful academic career and complete destruction of your dreams.

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    New Toys

    Do you remember starting high school? It was a time of change. High school gave you the chance to be someone different than you were in grade school or middle school. There were some new faces, lots of new clubs, harder classes and higher expectations. And yet, behind all the glory and fear that was freshman year there were elements lurking in the background that could have prevented successful completion of your high school goals. Well, you made it this far so maybe you're prepared to go a little further because college is high school multiplied!

    Going to a new school can be like opening a new toy. A new school is fascinating with all it has to offer. You are about to enter an entirely new social world. And, like a new toy, it will soon be no more fascinating than your favorite teddy bear. What happens between now and then is what's important.

    You can either go prepared to get an education, make some new friends and learn some new things about the world or you can go without a plan, be easily swayed into something you shouldn't be into to or hide like a hermit with your nose in a book and miss the experience entirely. This guide was created to show you how to prepare for college life so that you can keep your head on straight and develop a positive social network while you do it. Read the tips below to gain some insight on how you can prepare for the college experience.

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    How to Prepare for College Life

    You have an idea in your head of what you expect college life to be like. You know what you like to do and what good choices mean to you. Now it's time to put all that information together so that college can be a positive experience for you. Use the tips below to guide you as you make your way into this new world.

    • Plan days of contact with your existing friends and family. Keep on this schedule so that you can feel that you have some roots somewhere no matter what happens at school.
    • Write down your hobbies. Check into the clubs at the college to see if any of those hobbies will fit into some of the clubs they offer. There's nothing wrong with being social, but you are also there to develop a portfolio for your career. Combine the two and use them to your benefit.
    • Research the area you will be in. What types of activities are there that you enjoy? Plan around your school schedule so that you have limited down time that may get you into trouble.
    • Plan to try something new once a week. Part of the college experience is trying new things. If you have a plan and stick to it, you can try new things while still keeping your focus on your studies. This is also a great way to keep track of your money as you spend it on planned events rather than spontaneous splurging.
    • Make a detailed budget and stick with it. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. If you're spending money on things you didn't plan, chances are you're spending time doing things you didn't plan to either.
    • If need be, write a weekly schedule so that you can ensure that you're spending enough time on your studies and the things that are important instead of cheating them to have fun that isn't healthy.

    The main thing is to go to college with a plan that works for you. Make it a time of fun as well as learning. Try new things and make new friends, but remember that the main goal is to get an education so that you can start off life the way you planned to.