Here are some college tips I wish I knew:
- What you do outside class is just as important as inside class– Whether it is building relationships with your dorm-mates or participating in intramural sports, you can learn valuable lessons about life while not in the lecture-hall setting. Be sure to put time into each of these learning experiences.
- College does not have to be like high school– For many people, high school is miserable. For others, high school is the pinnacle of what life can be. Both groups need to know, though, that college is different than high school. College is a place to start over and make a name for yourself within your niche friend group and academic area. That’s why I love college—when you start, it is like starting over on a level playing field (for the most part). Where else can the kid who was unpopular in high school become a sorority president or the prom king drop out after the first semester? Let this be both a warning and an encouragement for all high school students going to college.
- Keep up with your favorite professors– You may have a great professor during your sophomore year, but you won’t need a recommendation letter from her until your second semester of your senior year. If you like a professor, keep up with her. You never want to be in the position when applying for a job or graduate school where you don’t have someone you can readily ask for a letter of recommendation. If you don’t keep up with a professor, chances are, she won’t remember you in enough detail to write a good letter of recommendation a couple of years later.
- Find a mentor…now– Your mentor can be a professor you enjoyed taking a class from or even an upperclassman, though I recommend both. They can help guide you as you navigate the course selection process or even honor society application season. It is always good to have someone who knows what they are doing to talk to.
- Read Making College Count– Sure, it’s self promotion, but it is true. Patrick O’Brien knows what he’s talking about, so you might as well learn from him than wasting time figuring it out yourself. The proven methods in Making College Count make it the best college success book out there!