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Thriving in College:Tips for a Successful Freshman Year

I attended my son’s college freshman orientation this summer. During one of the presentations, student mentors gave advice to the incoming students regarding how to have a successful freshman year. One mentor had an especially powerful message. I would like to share a few of his key points:

**If you oversleep and miss class because you stayed up too late partying….that’s your fault!

**If you are struggling in a class because you haven’t reached out to your professor……that’s your fault!

**If you’re feeling disconnected and lonely because you haven’t become a part of a campus organization or activity…… that’s your fault!

**Your parents won’t be there to call the school and excuse your absence. Your parents won’t be there to wake you up if you oversleep. Your parents won’t be there to do your laundry or prepare your food.

To sum it up, the student mentor’s message to the incoming freshman was that it’s time to take responsibility. Students are responsible for the grades they get, the activities in which they participate, the good (and not so good) choices they make.

With that in mind, I asked a few student clients what they recommend for incoming freshman. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Establish a routine - Take into consideration not only class schedule but your own body clock. Establish regular study hours based upon when you are best able to focus and be productive. Do homework everyday whether you have assignments due or not.

2) Find your tribe - Take initiative to meet new people and get involved.

3) Show up - Make it to class. Studies show that college students that attend class are much more successful than those who are not consistent in their attendance.

4) Speak up - Seek out the academic support resources on your campus and ask for help if you need it. Most campuses offer a writing center that will help you proof-read and edit your written assignments. Resources such as this are typically included in tuition so take advantage of them.

5) Up your game - College is hard and will require significantly more time dedicated for study and homework than in than high school. Schedule two-three times the amount of class hours for homework/study time.

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