5 ways to Start on the Right Foot in College


It’s the time of year that college students everywhere are leaving behind their summer jobs, internships, and mom’s cooking for a return to the college campus. I have worked with college students for more than a decade now and I’ve discovered that sometimes classes can get in the way of their social lives.  I can’t say as I blame them…there are a lot of great people with whom to connect and lots of free activities at the beginning of the year of which to take advantage. 

However, the inevitability of homework, tests, and one’s academic career leads me to come up with a little advice.  So…I present, 5 ways to start on the right foot in college.  This is especially appropriate for my small, private college campus, but it’s solid advice for college students everywhere.


Assume that things are going to eventually slow down and you’ll be able to get on top of things.


 Start getting organized, even when things are crazy.  Put assignments on a master calendar. Set deadlines for yourself. 



Enjoy the first couple of weeks of school before the “real work” starts!  Stay up late and get to know new friends.  Skip the reading—the professors will tell you all the important stuff right before the test anyway.


Spend some time connecting or reconnecting with friends, but make sure that you are getting enough sleep to maintain your active life.  Stay current with the reading and make sure that you have the important parts identified when you get to class.



Skip classes and fail to communicate with your professor about your absences.


Go to class!  However, there will likely be a time that you have to miss class for an emergency.  Be sure to communicate with your professor IN ADVANCE via email.  Be prepared to do work to make up for your absence.  In some cases there won’t be any work that you can do to make up for it. 



Wait until the last minute to start your first research project…Have the attitude: “I’m sure that the library can help me find my necessary resources the day before it’s due.”


We do have an amazing library staff, but they won’t do research for you.  Take advantage of the opportunities that they offer to learn how the library works.  Then, Identify potential topics and do some research a month before a research project is due.  They’ll be able to Inter-Library Loan any resources that would be beneficial to you



Ignore campus resources if you find that you’re struggling a bit in a class.  Things are bound to turn around.


Speak up if you find yourself behind, or even just confused about your subject matter.  Ask the professor if there is a tutor for the class.  Find your way to the tutoring center on campus or set regular study hours with a group of classmates.  Also, find out if there is a writing center if you’ve got angst over that first big paper.  Also, don’t be afraid to set up an appointment with your professor during his/her office hours to seek additional help.


The outcome of your semester could very well be a result of some of the first steps of this semester.  Don’t waste these first few weeks.  You’ll thank yourself later.


About ashleealleycrawford

I am the Clergy Recruitment and Development Coordinator for the Great Plains United Methodist Church. I particularly enjoy helping people see what God is calling them to do and knowing how to respond to that. I'm an ordained deacon in the UMC. When I'm not deacon-ing, I run, or read, or spend time with family or friends.
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