Back to college? Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned senior, it’s not unusual to feel a little anxiety and stress about the start of a college semester. The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared,” and that is sound advice for those heading back to school. The start of a new semester can be chaotic, so it is important to get started the right way. Here are some tips to help make the transition from summer to class time easier.
- Make connections right away. It’s easier to make friends with fellow classmates on the first few days of class. It’s a good idea to have someone you can exchange ideas with or turn to for assignments or notes if you miss class. Don’t be afraid to connect with your professor. Take advantage of his or her office hours to ask questions, establish a relationship, and offer to help where needed. Getting to know your professor will help you in your studies, and you will create a valuable networking resource after graduation.
- Start studying immediately. It’s easy to take the first part of a new semester lightly. Assignments and exams seem far off, and your mind may still be on summer vacation. However, use your syllabus to set up a schedule of when assignments, deadlines, and exams occur. Be sure to keep up with assignments and studies – better yet, stay ahead. Create a daily study routine and stick to it. Surveys indicate 99% of students admit to cramming, yet it has been shown that studying a little every day produces far better results.
- Get in a study group. There are many advantages to becoming an active participant in a study group. Having regular study times helps you avoid procrastination, and encourages you to develop communication and critical thinking skills. Exchanging ideas and comparing notes allows you to study more efficiently, and exposes you to different perspectives. It also breaks the monotony of studying alone and can make learning fun. Remember, however, that while there is a social element to it, a study group isn’t a time to just hang-out with friends. Good study groups stay focused.
- Reduce distractions. Getting organized helps you manage your time more effectively and efficiently, and keeps you from becoming side-tracked. Take care of outstanding issues, such as time-consuming tasks or debts to pay off, before school starts to reduce worry and allow you to focus on the upcoming semester. It can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed once classes start.
- Take care of yourself. Sometimes deadlines, assignments, exams, and the other challenges of college and life in general cause you to forget self-care. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising all help reduce stress and improve your grades.
Download our Free Guide: Testing Out of College, for information to learn how credit-by-examination can help you earn your degree faster and for less money than you thought possible.