Twelve Steps to Success in College for the Traditional Student

Twelve Steps to Success in College for the Traditional Student

  1. Get yourself out of bed in the morning.
    Don’t wait for your Mom or older sibling to call you. One of the big secrets to success in college is to get to class and get there on time. Sleeping through class is a common Freshman problem.
  2. Learn to manage your time.
    High school students have a lot of demands on their time but college students have even more! Use a planner or calendar and plan your months, your weeks, your days so that you can fit all of your activities, classes, homework and hobbies into your life. Stop procrastinating! Procrastination is the enemy of college students everywhere.
  3. Set goals for yourself and achieve them!
    Very few of us ever achieve anything if we don’t plan. Set a goal and break it down into small steps so you can achieve your goal. You can’t get good grades if you don’t do your assignments and prepare for tests; you can’t make dinner if you don’t purchase the ingredients. Plan to be successful.
  4. Make friends with someone you don’t know who is very different from you.
    College is a time of interacting with students from different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, and ages. Sometimes we have to learn to be open to new people and respectful of those who think differently from us.
  5. Learn to manage your money.
    One common problem that college student have is overspending! College students are often offered credit cards and other opportunities to get into debt. Learn now about money management and avoid running up big bills as a college student.
  6. Ask questions.
    If your teacher, a counselor, or even a fellow student says something you don’t understand, ask them what they meant. Asking intelligent questions is the beginning of learning. The only stupid question is one that does not get asked.
  7. Take notes in classes.
    Taking accurate, clear notes during lectures and discussions can be one of the keys to success in college. What goes on in college classes may or may not be covered in the textbook. You are responsible for information in both the textbook and class materials, so start practicing your note taking skills now.
    Read your textbooks. Read literature. Read magazines, newspapers, and everything you can get your hands on. The number one predictor of success in college is a love of reading and a good vocabulary. The best way to improve your reading skills and expand your vocabulary is to read.
  9. Write!
    College students are expected to write in all their classes, not just Composition I and II. Learn to express yourself in writing and you will be ahead of the game in General Psychology, or Introduction to Business, or even Introduction to Computer Systems. By practicing process writing (draft, write, edit, and rewrite) you realize that writing a paper is not just a one-step process.
  10. Learn to use library resources.
    Yes, every library is different, but the types of resources and the skills needed to find these resources are the same everywhere. There is probably a librarian at your school that is just waiting to help you learn to use all the resources at your disposal. Learn now!
  11. Learn to take tests of all sorts.
    Do you have trouble with multiple choice tests? Essay tests? Learn now how to prepare for tests and how to overcome anxiety while testing. If you can study correctly and stay relaxed during a test, you will have an advantage over many college freshmen.
    College faculty and staff seldom chase students down and remind them of assignment due dates, scheduled tests, when to register for the next term, etc. If you can be responsible for your own learning, you will be learning to be responsible for your life!

Some thoughts on success:

“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.”
- Josh Billings, columnist and humorist (1818-1885)

“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet (1807-1882)

“Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.”
- Samuel Johnson, poet, critic and lexicographer (1704-1784)

The Baker College System