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How to Succeed in College: A Guide for Freshmen

written by: RobinRaven•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 3/25/2010

How you handle the freshman year of college is crucial to the success of the rest of your college career. Freshmen can succeed in college with these "Tips for a College Freshmen." One can easily follow these tips, which promote fantastic experiences in college and academic success!

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    Preparations for Freshmen Year

    An old saying goes, "Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity." Going to college is one of the best opportunities that a young person can have to get a head start on a great future; there also needs to be a lot of preparing. When you are preparing to go to college, you have more to consider than what posters to place on your dorm room wall. Freshmen looking to succeed in college can just do just that with these "Tips for a College Freshman."

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    Habits to Acquire

    Read the first chapter of each of your textbooks before going to class. Getting a grasp on the basics of the class is important, and you can learn a lot about the class from its required reading, whether from a textbook, novel or instructional book. Coming in with prior knowledge of the topic area will give you the advantage of promoting quick mastery of the more difficult subjects.

    Take notes in class. If you are allowed to bring a recording device, use a miniature tape recorder or recording application to record lectures. There is important information often related by the professor that will not be in any of the text books. This information may be crucial to passing the tests of that course, and it may be important in learning the subject area.

    Always do your homework before you go out with friends. Making friends and spending time with them is important. The people that you meet in college may be your friends for life. Yet, succeeding academically is also important. Do your homework prior to going out and having fun. This will enable you to relax and enjoy your time with friends, instead of feeling the pressure to get home and finish the work of the day. In addition, setting aside a time for your homework will allow for greater concentration and possibly greater success!

    Be punctual. That's important for college classes. Professors are not going to be like high school teachers. They're not your babysitters, and some have too many students to even learn your name. You won't get demerits for being late, but you may be penalized in other ways in the class. Most importantly, you'll be cheating yourself of important (and expensive) college time.

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    Safety Considerations

    Trust your common sense. Throughout your freshman year, you are going to be met with many temptations. Although some are fairly safe, many are not. It's important to keep your wits about you and use common sense (your instincts) to succeed in college.

    Always use the buddy system. When you are going for a run or walk, ask a friend to come along with you. If you haven't yet made friends, ask your roommate to come along. It's a great opportunity to get to know one another, and you're also encouraging exercise. Remember, safety in numbers!

    Never accept a drink from a stranger. Avoid drinking alcohol altogether. Freshmen are typically underage, and they may be risking their academic future if they drink on campus. It also lowers inhibitions and ups the likelihood that they will be victimized on campus. If you see friends that are drinking, then offer to be the designated driver. Never let someone get on the road after drinking.

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    Bottom Line

    One really gets out of their freshman year of college what they put into it. Freshmen can succeed in college by making smart decisions as they go. Now that you are living at least partly on your own, smart decision making becomes even more crucial. There is room for everything you want to do, but you need to prioritize.

    If you dedicate yourself to your classes, study and have fun in a safe way with your friends, then you will set yourself up for a great start to the following years of college. You may even be offered resident assistant positions, orientation leader offers (which would mean you get first choice of the dorms at the start each year, depending on the school) and other job offers. Your teachers and dorm staff are paying attention. By learning these "Tips for a College Freshman." you will most likely be able to live a much happier life at school!