College Survival Tips


1.0) Classes

1.1) Go to classes. It helps. Go even if somebody says it’s a blow off class.

1.2) Don’t try to write down every word the professor says. It is sometimes better to concentrate on listening to what they say and to write down the key points. A tape recorder might help.

1.3) Don’t be intimidated by the class. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in fear of looking stupid, other students are probably in the same boat.

1.4) Don’t be intimidated by professors. It may be scary the first time you call your professor in their office or at home, but most will take the time to help.

1.5) Don’t drop a course at the first sign of trouble. Ask the professor to help or to recommend a tutor.

1.6) Learn to write well. Even if you don’t have all the information, you may get some credit on an exam if you make yourself clear.


2.0) Studying and Grades

2.1) Find a good place to study. Your dorm room probably will have too many distractions.

Study every day; don’t wait until test time and try to cram.

2.3) Study partners may, indeed, improve your test scores. Get together before a test and ask each other questions and talk about the material. Of course, you have to study before that, or it doesn’t do any good.

2.4) Avoid all-nighters. You may find yourself falling asleep during the test. All you’re going to think about is going back to bed.

2.5) Make sure you control your own time. Don’t let your friends set your schedule. Surround yourself with people interested in doing well in school, instead of those who want to do everything else but that.

2.6) Don’t panic if your first grades are lower than they were in high school; adjusting takes time. The first quarter is an adjustment quarter. Eventually you learn to know what to expect from individual professors.


3.0) Scheduling

3.1) Don’t overload yourself with a heavy class schedule the first year.

3.2) Balance tough courses with those you are interested in or those you can master.

3.3) Don’t put off taking required courses, particularly those with labs, which take more time. 3.4) You want to get them out of the way. You may need blocks of time for (work) internships in your junior year.

3.5) Take some major courses early. If you want to change your major–you will know in time.

3.6) Don’t wait for someone to get in touch with you. Find your adviser and make plans for the next year. Be persistent.

3.7) Some of the best classes you ever have are ones you take because you got closed out of something else. Freshmen are at the bottom, so you will get closed out.


4.0) Illness

4.1) When you are sick, take care of yourself. Go to the health center if you aren’t better in a day. Call your professors to let them know you are sick. Make arrangements to get notes from them or a classmate.

4.2) When you are sick is when you will miss home the most. You just have to realize you’ll get through it.


5.0) Social Life

5.1) Safety in numbers is the rule, whether going on dates, hanging out with friends or walking across campus. It’s also less expensive because you can share gas money or cab fare.

Don’t rush into rushing. Get acquainted with campus life before deciding whether to join a fraternity or sorority.

It may be more difficult for commuter students to have a campus social life. Get involved in clubs and organizations within your major. You will meet people with similar interests.


6.0) Housing

6.1) If you are going to live in a dorm, be laid back. You have to be tolerant of people a lot more. 6.2) There’s no privacy. Be open to learning about other cultures.

6.3) If you are looking for an apartment, look for beer cans on the sidewalk and alleys. If there are lots of them, you know it’s going to be a noisy neighborhood.


7.0) Room Mates

7.1) Meet or call your roommate before school opens. Try to meet your roommate in the summer and correspond with him/her. It makes it a lot easier to already have a friend at school.

7.2) If you have pet peeves, tell your roommate right from the start. You can do it in a lighthearted way, but let them know. Find out what theirs are too.

7.3) Agree from the start on the rules for using the phone and paying the bills.

7.4) If you find you have problems with a roommate, try to work it out right away. Go get help. See a resident adviser or counselor. You don’t want to live under stress all year.


8.0) Jobs

8.1) Part-time jobs are better, especially if you are working for spending money instead of tuition.

8.2) Look for on-campus jobs, baby-sitting, lawn work or light housekeeping in the university area.

8.3) Find a job that’s flexible. Ask if you will be permitted to rearrange your working schedule at finals time or when there are class field trips. School comes first.

Worksheet at:

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