College is one of the most challenging times of your life so far -- here we have 3 students sharing 10 tips for succeeding college against all odds. Click through for their words of wisdom.

College: some of the best, hardest, liveliest and fulfilling years of your life, if you have the keys to success.  I sought insight from Erin McKenzie, a recent child and youth care grad; Anna Jessop, who, among other things, is the founder of her school’s Quidditch team; and Ashwin Sira, an electrical engineering student, for their top tips for succeeding in college.

Here are the 10 tips for college success they had to offer:

  1. If you have a choice between living on campus or off, weigh the pros and cons and pick what’s right for you.  Living on campus worked out great for Anna, who found she had “a lot of support around campus for emotional, physical and mental blocks.”

  2. When you’re choosing your classes and have a choice between professors, don’t waste the opportunity.  Ask around and dig up the differences.  Is one a better lecturer?  A harsher marker?  What are they like to work with? Choose wisely!

  3. Once enrolled in a course, find out everything you can about the professor’s expectations.  What kind of writing style is expected?  Are you encouraged to use material from other/prior classes, or is this a major no-no?  “ Keep your course packages if you are taking similar courses later,” says Erin, “You may be able to draw on source material from previous classes when writing essays.”

  4. Set and keep to a consistent work schedule.  This way, no matter how heavy your workload gets, your sanity will remain intact, and you’re at less risk of falling behind.

  5. If a class just isn’t what you need or want it to be and you’re past the cutoff point for dropping out without penalty, consider Ashwin’s approach: “If you are not learning something from a tutorial or class, then skip if it you can and use the time to teach yourself. Do this IF and ONLY IF you are capable of staying focused and learning the material better on your own.”

  6. Ask questions.  The professors, residence advisors and TAs are there to help.  However, make sure you know what you want to ask before you seek them out: their time, and yours, is valuable.

  7. Unless you know you’re a more effective solitary learner, find or create a study group.  It’s a great way to learn the material and get some social interaction.  Hurray for efficiency!  “But,” Erin warns, “make sure you choose people who have the same studying style as you.”

  8. Tap into the academic resources on campus: you (or your parents) are paying for them, and they can make a big difference.

    Additionally, be sure to use Unplag to check your work for plagiarism. Even accidental plagiarism can set you back years in pursuit of your degree and even thousands of dollars in tuition costs to recoup your lost classes. Always better safe than sorry.

  9. College only lasts so long: have fun, but be conscious of what else you want to get out of it, too.  How many times in your life will you have access to such a vast array of resources?

  10. You won’t be friends with everyone or get top marks on every assignment, and that’s okay.  Just do your best.

These years can be overwhelming, but with the right approach you can have a rich, memorable experience.  What are your top tips for succeeding in college?


GenTwenty's Guide to College Success

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