Tips For Succeeding In The First Year of College

Now that the admissions cycle is  over , students need to think about what comes next. Guest blogger Mike Lemaire provides useful ideas.

Tips To Making The Best of Your Freshman Year

 For many students, the first year of college can seem like a blur. It can be overwhelming to deal with the sudden independence of college life. A student needs to be able to juggle so many different aspects of college life that it is almost inevitable that some students struggle or fall behind. I said almost inevitable because it doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. Students who are smart and organized enough can put in their own safety net, so that when they start to feel themselves slipping, they have something in place to catch them. Here are some of the best ways to put a strong safety net together.

Go to Office Hours

 So many college students have rolled their eyes when their professors mention office hours that I am surprised professors can keep a straight face about it. Having said that, there might not be a better way to ensure a good grade in a class that visits with your professor or even your teacher’s assistant. Jot down notes during lectures and go to your professor’s office hours to discuss topics with him/her. This way you become a face instead of a number in your class. Not many students go to their teacher’s assistant office hours, so when you do go, they are always excited and impressed. They are there specifically to help you out in a class, so use them wisely.

Time Management

 Managing your time is yet another cliché college survival tip that still needs to be repeated over and over. Socializing – whether it’s partying, sports, campus clubs, or just late-night movies – is inevitable and important, so make sure you are striking a balance between your social life and your academics. There are plenty of studies that prove that avoiding stress and getting sleep have a direct correlation on your academic performance – and freshman are especially prone to stressful evenings. And everyone knows that too much partying isn’t conducive to academic success. You know your body better than anyone, so make sure you maintain a healthy balance.

Get involved and stay active

 There is a reason why these universities ask about your extracurriculars on your application and I promise it isn’t because they are interested in your record in the Pinewood Derby. They ask because they don’t just want you to come to their university and become a great student. They want you to become a contributing member of the college community, whether it is through community service, the drama club, or even a sports team. If you can maintain an active social life and get good grades, that’s awesome, but you will need more than that to make sure you are extracting the most out of your freshman year. Getting involved helps you make friends and expand your interests. Staying active helps you remain mentally and physically healthy, while also relieving stress and making sure that you don’t have too many dull days in school.

Embrace your new found independence

 The independence every student becomes privy to when they enter college can be a double-edged sword. It can be liberating to make your own decisions about academics and socializing without the involvement of your parents. But at the same time, if you abuse that independence, you will quickly find yourself in a hole that will be difficult to climb out of. Academically, this independence is a chance for you to experiment. Take a biology class, or a calculus class, or a film class, or even take all three. There is no better way to find out what you want to study down the road. As for the rest of the college experience, as a freshman, the entirety of what the university has to offer lies at your feet. No one is going to tell you how you should spend your time, so make friends, attend lectures by famous guest speakers, go see a student theater performance. This is not only an excellent way to find out what you are passionate about, but it is an excellent way to have a more well-rounded college experience, which will ultimately make you happier and more successful.

Mike Lemaire is an education content writer with wide-ranging interests that include everything from eLearning, to education reform, to even design training from computer schools. He is always looking for newtopics to research, so drop him a line at”.


One comment on “Tips For Succeeding In The First Year of College”

  1. Nice article Mike. I’d like to add a tip: It’s never too early to start thinking about career or graduate programs for after college. That might be as simple as talking to a counselor at your college career center, it might mean looking for a summer internship– or for graduate programs- talking to professors whose classes you like.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *