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College Beat: 5 Tips to Having a Successful Semester

As the school year kicks off and we approach fall, students are hitting the books and assignments are in full swing. As a new student, and particularly a freshman, college life can be overwhelming with finding your classes, parking, exams, deadlines and more. Here is some advice not only from my own experience, but also from some other sources.

1. Preorder books or borrow from the library: While you are waiting for your preordered books, borrow them from the library. Most teachers have the required books on file at the front of the library. Some books have time limits so other students may use them. An option may be photocopying, but make sure you are allowed to do so first with the librarian. Remember to bring your student ID prior to visiting the library.

2. Take efficient and detailed notes: I am a note-taking addict! I love writing and taking notes, and have found it extremely helpful to jot down important information, especially regarding certain courses that require memorization or other facts. We forget so quickly, and chances are if you don’t write it down, you won’t remember it. Not only is it a good idea to take notes, but also to review them during the week. If you have an exam on specific notes, don’t cram the night before; regularly read over them. This brings me to my next point.

3. Study regularly: Some people can cram loads of information last-minute, but if you want a higher chance of success in college, you will need to be proactive and study efficiently throughout the week or two prior to your exams. Making flashcards helps, but highlighting and underlining can be useful as well. What helps you prepare for your tests?

4. Be early, not just on time: In college, it is important to give yourself time to park, walk and even chat with friends along the way to class. You will most likely always have a delay or distraction, not to mention the distance walking on campus. To avoid extra pressure or stress, try and give yourself 30 minutes or so prior to your class to get a snack or coffee and to use the restroom. You don’t want to be rushing and panicking before class—it’s no fun. Also, you want to respect your teacher in that you care about the class and want to do well. The teacher will appreciate you being early and ready to learn!

5. Turn your work in on time: This may seem like common sense, but really—it is vital in being a good student. If you want to have a successful semester, make sure to turn your items in on time and also to communicate with your teacher if you will be out of town or are sick. A simple email is sufficient, but make it a point to turn in homework and projects according to schedule. Typically you will make a calendar with all the due dates and with plenty of time to complete your work, so no excuses—that is, if you want a great grade. 🙂 Think of your homework as preparation for future work deadlines. You wouldn’t want to turn something in late to your boss, correct?

Regarding group projects: Assign a leader with the teacher’s permission (maybe it is you?) and have the leader follow up with the different responsibilities of each student. If a student isn’t contributing or you have an issue with them responding, have someone notify the teacher so you are not penalized. Make sure everyone has an equal amount of work to accomplish for the specific project.

This is all great training for you. Good luck, PI Girls—you can do it!

PI Girls, what other tips do you have for succeeding in school or for your first semester back? Comment below! Connect with me @ChristiGiven or facebook.com/ChristiGiven.


[Sources: http://collegelife.about.com/od/academiclife/a/StartaNewSemesterStrongly.htm, collegexpress.com, huffingtonpost.com]


Image: Thinkstock


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  1. LucyPevensie1

    Posted by LucyPevensie1 on September 16, 2014 at 19:23

    I’m 1 month into my Freshman year of college. Very helpful, Thank you!!!

  2. angelagrhodes

    Posted by angelagrhodes on September 14, 2014 at 19:48

    I love this article.
    Something that I always do is if I’m stressed, relax by praying. It is always good to slow down, and take a break every so often. Also, if you’re going to a community college and are planning to transfer, don’t rush by taking so many classes all at once. It is better to take your time to get good grades instead of having to repeat a course since you didn’t get a good grade when you took it the first time. Lastly, have friends pray for you throughout the school year! Share what you are going through with your church friends and let them know that you need prayer. People love others who are honest about what they are going through.