The total experience: tips for new college students

Make sure you take advantage of the social situation while you're in college.Are you just starting college, or are you going back after taking a break? Well, as you might expect, there are many things for which you might not be prepared, and it’s important to start getting a handle on them right away in order to be as successful in your studies as possible.

Choosing a career

If you’re just starting out in higher education, don’t worry too much about picking your career right away. You’ll have plenty of time to figure it out.1

However, if you’re in a specialized program, like dental assistant school or pharmacy technician college, it’s likely you already have a pretty good idea of what you want to do once you graduate. In that case, spend your college years trying out different tasks and responsibilities within that profession. Find out what you like, and what you don’t. Try some internships or part-time jobs within your industry. The more knowledge and experience you have, the easier it will be to find the career that’s right for you.

Take advantage of the social situation

College is probably going to be the best chance you will ever have to mingle with people in your age group. Use that fact to your advantage, without going overboard and partying so much that you lose focus of your studies.

Make friends, find study partners, build social networks that will last a lifetime and, above all, enjoy yourself a little.2 There will be plenty of time for all work and no play when you get older. Don’t forget to step back and have a little fun while you’re young.

Preparation is paramount

Let’s face it, when you’re young and relatively carefree, or if you’re young and overwhelmed with responsibilities while trying to fit school into your life, it’s hard to think about planning ahead. But thorough preparation is one of the most important things you can do for your upcoming college career.

Talk to friends and family about their college experiences. If you can, find out what books you’re going to need, purchase them ahead of time – used or at a reduced price, if possible – and start at least skimming them. That small head start could be just what you need to make your first semester a great one. And it will help you set the stage for all of the semesters to follow.

Starting college is a lot to take on, but with the right attitude you will find yourself mounting that diploma on your wall in no time.

1 Ramirez, Tanisha, “Gain the Freshmen 15: Tips for College Freshmen,” Latina.com, Aug. 23, 2013. http://www.latina.com/lifestyle/freshmen-tips-college-latino#axzz2ifigG0UP
‚Äč2 Dewitt, Amanda, “13 Tips for New College Students,” Lifehack.org, Aug. 30, 2013. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/13-tips-for-new-college-students.html