Starting college & university is a serious transitional period. It is the time when you as a student step into a new realm of experiences, learning, and personal responsibility. When I began college, I was in awe of the differences in terms of freedom and the importance of self-management. If you don’t go to class and put in the effort, you won’t do well, period. While some professors make class attendance part of their grading system, many do not.
Therefore, college places a much heavier responsibility on you to take accountability for your own success. The same goes for holding yourself accountable in times of failure. In college, you will often be connected with university advisors and professors who can act as great resources in helping you navigate your college experience. In the end, however, your success will be determined by your focus, effort, interests, and ability to manage your time.
While becoming a college student can be a serious adjustment period, there are 5 tips we would like to share that can help you manage these many adjustments.
Create an organized schedule and stick to it
It sounds simple, but scheduling apps like Google Calendar or even the generic calendar app on your mobile phone can be absolute game-changers. As you begin to balance classes, you will find that your workload begins to increase. You will want to make sure you have everything scheduled out far in advance so that you learn how to manage your time.
Before the first week of classes, you should block off all your class time slots in your calendar. Do the same for any other involvements you may have, such as club meeting times or hours that you’ll be working a part-time job. As you begin to get assignments, project due dates, and dates of exams, it is crucial that you put these in your schedule as well.
Many apps like Google Calendar are excellent because you can enable reminders to notify you of upcoming events. You can set a reminder 24 hours before a project due date or exam date, just to refresh yourself and make sure you’re all ready to go. Trust us when we say, having a clear and organized schedule will absolutely make a huge difference in successfully managing your time.
Use online study guides, tools, and resources
Countless university students before you have taken the same exact classes you are enrolling in – and thus, the same exams. There are many incredible online study sites, such as Quizlet, where you can create your own study guides and flashcards to use as study tools. These can be incredibly helpful as they feature different ways to study like practice questions, fill in the blank, and others! It can also be much quicker than filling out traditional paper flashcards or study guides.
Before you take the time to make your own flashcards for an upcoming exam, do a quick search on these sites and see if there is already a study set that corresponds with that particular exam. For example, you can search something like “Microeconomics Principles – Chapter 15 Exam” and see what types of study guides pop up that can help you in your preparation!
While searching, you may get lucky and find that someone before you already created a study set for the EXACT exam you’ll be taking!
Take advantage of “office hours”
Many universities around the world require professors to hold what are known as “office hours”, though the term may vary according to country. These are essentially periods where the professor must be available to take questions from students and is often outside of normal class meeting times. Traditionally, professors will hold these open periods in their office on campus, hence the term “office hours”.
When I was in college, I got to know many professors who often told me how few students actually came to visit them during office hours. Sometimes, they would even go for hours without a single student coming to their office. These are literally free periods where you can have one-on-one time with a professor to ask specific questions, review topics you might not understand, or even get help on an upcoming assignment, essay, etc.
Office hours are a tremendous resource for students that you should take full advantage of if they are available to you. In addition to getting help and having questions answered, it is also a great chance to get to know your professors and build a professional connection. This can be great in the event that you need a recommendation letter down the line, or perhaps they know of an opportunity or that they feel you might be the perfect fit for!
Get involved in student organizations and activities
It may seem like a cliche, but your success and experiences in college are absolutely what you make them. Universities offer a plethora of great opportunities, in addition to classes, that can help you develop as a professional and a global citizen. Joining a campus organization, sports team, or volunteer group can also be a wonderful way to make friends and get to know people with similar interests. After all, building connections and relationships is an important part of college and your professional pathway.
When you enroll in a university, start to research the various on-campus organizations that your school offers. Oftentimes, there are student organizations that relate to a wide variety of career fields, volunteer sectors, athletics, leadership opportunities, and so much more! Think about the types of things you enjoy doing or want to get involved with and see what is offered at your school! Many universities also allow students to start their own student organizations if one relating to the topic of interest doesn’t already exist!
All in all, college is absolutely what you make of it. If you want to focus solely on your studies and narrow in on your success in the classroom, that is great! However, it is often noted that having a high GPA alone is not enough to gain certain opportunities in the professional world.
You should seek to balance high achievement in the classroom with outside activities, clubs, volunteering, and other opportunities that will develop you into a well-rounded person. As you build your resume with these outside-the-classroom experiences, you may be surprised by the types of opportunities that present themselves!
Get internship experience
In addition to getting involved in campus organizations, internships and other work experiences are pivotal to your growth as a professional. Not only do they prepare you for the workforce, but internships allow you a unique view into the field that you potentially want to pursue upon graduation. Sometimes, completing an internship may even show you that you don’t actually enjoy the field you have been studying, and may convince you to change your professional trajectory.
There are many options when it comes to gaining internship experience. Sometimes, job opportunities may pop on through your campus organizations, or perhaps you have a professional connection who is interested in bringing you on as an intern.
Our Virtual Internships program is also a wonderful opportunity to gain real-world skills, experience, and build your network of global connections. We’ve worked with well over 1,000 students and professionals worldwide, connecting them with remote working opportunities and developing their resume/CV.
The Virtual Internships program allows for a great deal of flexibility through our internship options. Participants can choose to complete an internship for 1, 2, 3, or 4 months and can commit 10, 20, or 30 hours of work per week! Not only this, but Virtual Internships will place you in an internship with a company in your career field or country of choice!
If you’re worried about how to start the search for an internship, consider applying to our program and letting our team assist you with finding the perfect internship! Check out our work experience placements in popular career fields like engineering, business, and more!