I am heading off to college this fall and am
excited about all aspects of campus life but frankly a little concerned whether I can “up my game” and succeed in this new venture. I’m a B+ student, somewhere in the top 25% of my graduating class, a hardworker, but not brilliant. I want to show my parents that I’m capable of doing college-level work and be successful in this next stage of my life. Being positive and confident is where I hope to be when college begins this fall. Do you have some suggestions for being successful at an academically rigorous college?
—Bryan S, Rising College Freshman.
What a terrific question! Your question can be useful to all new
freshmen as they contemplate preparation for their first year in college.
This was an interesting topic last month as I gathered with colleagues at a national meeting and discussed how to assist our clients as they transition from high school to college. These next two summer months can be productive as well as social. Some of our collaborative suggestions are as follows:
- Read at least 3 challenging books, one of which should be non-fiction. Reading is a top required skill for college success.
- If you are deficient in Math or any other subject, consider enrolling in an online high school class. You probably can’t take a community college or college class. This should bring you up to speed. Several sights that are recommended include the Kahn Academy or the video at brightstorm.com. Individualized tutoring could also help you overcome academic weaknesses.
- Take a study skills course. Remember you’re going from doing homework (a word you’ll never see in college) to studying.
- If you are considering taking a language placement exam when you arrive on campus, why not bolster your foreign language skills by watching movies or television in that language. Review your vocabulary and read a book in French, Spanish, German or Latin.
- Remember college is likely more rigorous than high school. Get into a routine this summer of getting lots of sleep and waking early. Not too early, but don’t sleep ’til noon and fritter the day away. Get in the habit of eating breakfast and taking control of your diet. Substitute healthy fruits and veggies for junk food which lack the important nutrition your body craves.
- Remember to include exercise in your regime at least 3-5 times a week. Go cycling, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, play tennis or golf. Having sports and physical activities in your daily regimen will be excellent habits to include in your life once you’re in college plus great stress reducers when you need a break from studying. The fitness facilities on most campuses rival many of those found in cosmopolitan cities like Denver.