- Be a student. Get it in your head! Realize you’re at college to go to school (sounds dumb, but some of us thought we were there for different reasons). Treat it like a 9-5 job. Up in the morning, go to school all day, between classes hang at the library instead of your dorm. Only go home after dinner. 8 hours of class and studying, you’ll have plenty of time for fun afterwards.
- Dress like a student- It’s way to easy to dress like a slob. And it’s even easier to give the loser looking student in the class (yeah the one in sweats and bed head hair) a lower grade. If you don’t think looks matter with grades, you are sorely mistaken. Professors are humans and they behave like the rest of consumers. The nice packaging wins. Also, first impressions are huge. At least dress smart the first month, then taper off to respectable.
- Go to class. This is huge. Sounds stupid but it is true. Take your tuition and divide it into the classes held. It’s quite costly to miss class. Plus, professors love to test on what’s in class. Reading the book won’t help. By the way, you need to listen and take notes. If you hear it, write it, I guarantee it will be way easier to recall it test time. Cramming doesn’t work.
- Sit up front in class. You will get better grades. I promise. Plus it’s easier to see, hear and to do the next tip.
- Make sure your professor knows who you are! This can be hard in a 300-person lecture hall. But it will help your grades if they know you. They will give you the benefit of the doubt to those they know…and like (oh yeah, they have to like you to…guess you should dress well). As questions, after class if need be. Go see them during office hours for the next tip. And be nice. Not brown nose nice, but respectful.
- Ask for information. Ask what to study for exams. If you ask, they will tell you. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT MISS THE CLASS BEFORE THE EXAM. They will give hints. You cannot rely on others to take notes for you! (It doesn’t work)
- Make sure they know you care about your grades. If you care, they will hesitate to give you a lower grade, and it will bump you to the next grade. Plus you can always ask for extra credit, if you screw up an exam. Tell them you care. Tell them you want to do better and ask them how. This is huge.
- Start strong and keep up! Don’t fall behind early as it is hard to recover. You need to set the pace and stay with the pack (like a marathon runner….you get the idea).
- Stay in physical shape in college. Try to avoid the freshman 15lbs. If you work out and stay in shape, you’ll be able to keep your energy up for both for your studies and fun.
- Stay safe and away from people who drag you down. Yeah, the ones who force the party and get bad grades because they abuse alcohol or drugs. They may be fun in the short run, but they lose in the end. Don’t go down the drug and alcohol path, you will eventually; get off the path early, struggle to save yourself, or worse lose the battle entirely. And yes…very smart people go down, and fast! Always think!! Those late night decisions can change the rest of your life. Never walk alone, leave with someone you just met, or go out or home alone, always bring a friend to parties and have a buddy system (never leave your buddy!!). Always lock your dorm room and hall doors (no propping). Bad decisions lead to tragedies. Plus don’t start trouble with campus police and the local police. You are a snot nose kid to them, and you don’t want to be that night’s “example”.
10.5) Have fun. Every once in awhile stop and look around and smell the roses. Realize you’re in college and this is a great time in your life. Try to stay single; it’s way to fun out there to be tied to a relationship, especially a bad one. Plus you have better things to do. Like being a student!!!
Andy Cagnetta -2005