Tips on How to Succeed in College

classroom at military schoolDo you want to succeed in college? It’s really important to start your first semester of college on the right foot! Your freshman year is the most critical of all your college years. This is the year when college students are most likely to drop out, either temporarily or permanently.

A big reason why so many freshmen have trouble adapting to college is because they suddenly have to rely on themselves! There is no one around to make them get up and go to class. There is no one around to make them study and do homework. The babysitter is gone!

What impacts college success the most isn’t your IQ, it’s actually your level of responsibility, self-discipline and perseverance.

So, how do you transition successfully into college? Below are rules and guidelines that, if followed correctly, will lead you to graduation:

Twelve Tips That Will Help You Succeed in College

1. Read the syllabus immediately

Make sure you have everything you need for class. Mark all the important dates on your calendar so you are prepared for any upcoming test and projects.

2. Stay out of your room most of the day

 It’s too easy to get distracted in your room, either by friends, t.v. or the bed! Study at the library in between classes.

3. NEVER skip class

Don’t rely on your textbook. The textbook might not be able to explain things as well as the professor can. Professors also emphasize everything they want you to learn in class. Plus, class is where you make friends!

4. Rewrite or retype your notes every night

The ability to take good notes is crucial to your college success. If you hand-write your notes, rewrite them that very afternoon or evening. Not only will this help you remember what was covered, but you’ll actually be able to read and understand your notes when exam time hits.

5. Study every day

Make studying part of your daily schedule. Study for at least a couple of hours on the weekdays, and block some study time on Saturday or Sunday. Never go to ANY social event before you study.

6. Make friends in class & form study groups

Make just one friend in class, and you have a study partner. Make another friend, and you have a study group. Friends help each other through the journey, so make friends and start multiplying the brainpower!

7. Get help when you need it

If you begin to struggle in class, see your professor during his or her office hours for extra help. If he or she is unavailable, go see the professor’s graduate assistant. If the graduate assistant is unavailable, get help from the college tutoring office. If you know a classmate who understands the material, ask him or her to help (buy lunch if you have to). Seek help and you shall find it!

8. Don’t procrastinate

Try to study for an exam over a period of days … not one night! It will help you remember more. Also, start on major projects as early as possible. Your work tends to have more mistakes and “holes” when you pull an all-nighter. Quality takes time.

9. Make course changes early

If you signed up for a course that you don’t feel ready for (i.e. you’re in way over your head), you’ll probably need to make a course change. If that’s the case, you need to do it within the first two weeks so you don’t get too far behind in your new course.

10. Stay on course with your degree plan

Speak to your college advisor at least once a year to make sure you are on course with your degree plan. If your advisor is unavailable or if you simply want another opinion regarding your degree plan, seek advice from one of your professors or even an upperclassman – they’ve been in your shoes!

11. Get involved with campus life

When you belong to an organization, you can make more friends, promote awareness and network with college administrators. Plus, it can be fun! It’s O.K. to have fun at college, just don’t lose sight of your purpose.

12. Find a job in your major

If you need to work, try to find a job related to your major. Your on-the-job experience may help you do better in some of your classes.

The bottom line to college success

Work hard, and get  help when you need it. It is also important to find a reason to stay in college — no matter what the reason. It might be a desire to learn, to pursue a career or participate in a sport or club. Find your reason and use it to help motivate yourself to finish.

Jennifer Caballero is the Director of College Guidance at Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX.  MMA is an all boys private college preparatory boarding school. For more information about MMA visit our website: