Top 10 College Tips

by Tanner M. on

10 College tips on how to get on the Dean’s List, keep off the freshmen 15, doing laundry and RateMyProfessor.com

Penn State - Old Main

Old Main @ Penn State


Since a lot of you will be heading back to school for another semester of college and I will be graduating here in May, I figured I could relay my top 10 college tips to those of you reading my blog who are current or future college students. College is a really expensive adventure and you should only dive into it if you are 100% committed to completing. You will spend thousands of dollars and feel like you are not learning much. I know I felt that way…However after looking back on my years of college and thinking about what I learned, I was very surprised. I learned so much, not only through my classes, professors, and fellow students, but most importantly through the experiences I had. While building my Academic ePortfolio, it was shocking how much I truly learned and why I support and recommend people to attend college. It is so much more than the classroom.

1. Get involved – This is one of the most important aspects of college. Get involved. Many colleges have tons of different opportunities for you to get involved from. Whatever interests you have there is probably a club or group or even a sports team. You are paying a hefty sum to attend college so expose what the college has to offer. If you cannot find a club or interest group that you’re looking for, look to start one. This will not only build upon your passion and interests but also is a huge resume builder.
Getting involved also builds healthy relationships by surrounding you with those that have similar interests.
I got involved my first semester with a few groups such as the American Marketing Association and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Out of nowhere in my junior year, I was asked by a few really cute cheerleaders to go out for the Penn State Cheerleading team, how was I going to turn them down? The experienced turned out to be a great time and I attained so many skills by taking up the offer.

2. Live in the dorms your freshman year – For those of you just getting started on your bachelor’s degree, this is extremely key in building strong friendships throughout your years in university. For many students, you will be on your own for the first time. You will miss your friends you grew up with and your family. Taking advantage of the dorms your freshman year builds a strong foundation of support and friends that will carry you throughout your college career.

3. Go to class and actively pay attention – Sit in the front of the room. Take a notebook and actively take notes. Breaking down how much my education costs it, each class, comes out to almost $75-100. That opens your eyes and will make you think next time you feel to lazy to walk to class.
By sitting in the front of the class will keep you more focused on the lecture, especially if it is a professor from a different area in the world where their native language is not English. Even if the professor uses PowerPoint slides (which I am not really a fan of) and is available on the internet, take handwritten notes. This is another technique for you to stay alert and active in the class. Handwriting the material helps you absorb it a little better.

4. Develop an exercise plan – The freshmen 15 is not to hard to come by in the college years. You’ll most likely be surrounded by empty calories in booze, your dining halls will offer tons of garbage for you to eat and since you’ll most likely have a meal plan, you’ll end up eating more than you need to.
Most Universities offer free memberships to the workout facilities on campus, if not, then you have to pay another fee on top of your tuition, but its worth it. Develop an exercise plan (I can help you with that just contact me), and stick to it. It’ll help keep off the unneeded weight and also improves oxygen to your brain, provides more energy, and induces mental clarity.

5. Learn how to do laundry before college – Seems simple but many people go to college and have no idea how to do laundry and end up screwing up all their clothes. Hang out around mom or dad or whoever is your doing laundry and get the gist of how to do your laundry. Also have tons of rolls of quarters for the machines.

6. Get to know your professors – Your professors are some of the most interesting and highly educated people you will ever meet. Some of them are flat out dicks, but for the most part their door is completely open for you to come by and discuss whatever it is you want. They are very engaging and will help you with any problems. Do not be afraid to approach them.

7. Use the library – This may vary for some people, however, I found I did my best work while in the library. There is something about being surrounded by tons of other people all either studying, reading, or writing than being surrounded by people boozing, watching tv, playing video games, or the thousands of other distractions.

8. Do not procrastinate – I know this sounds like a normal piece of advice, however, it was probably the most essential thing I did to get onto the Dean’s List. After every class, I went and got whatever assignments were assigned done. I got my stuff out of the way and it reduced stress significantly.

9. Actively read your assignment – So many of your assignments will be general reading from the textbook. Make sure you get the textbook first of all, but second of all make sure you read the assignments. A majority of the students do not bother to do reading assignment because they never did in high school. Well college is a complete different ballgame than high school. Read ACTIVELY takes notes. Take notes while you are reading in your notebook or computer or in the margins of the book. You’ll have quite a few classes where all the assignments will be reading. You’ll be one of the small percentage in the class that actively reads, scores the highest on the test, and then gets asked by everyone in the class how you did it.

10. Use RateMyProfessor.com to an extent – I used this service a lot to determine who to take for classes. However, I would not base to much of what you read on your experience. If your only option is a professor who has a horrible grade and you go into the class like your going to hate the professor and the class then youll have a bad experience. I’ve read horrible things about certain professors, however, when I met them and took their class, they turned out to be some of the best professors I had in my years. You will often notice you will learn the most from those professors that get bad mouthed and horrible ratings on RateMyProfessor. Many students just do not want to “hustle.”

Bonus Tips: Develop an ePortfolio – This is crucial for a lot of reasons.  One of the most important reasons is that it provides an opportunity to reflect and look back on what you actually learned.  It is also an excellent packaging tool for employers.  It does not need to be really nice or anything, just some place where people can go and check out what you have to offer other than your resume.  It is basically an extended resume that provides a lot more remark-ability and punch than a traditional resume.

Final Thoughts

Take and implement whatever tips of the above that you want to. They helped me and I am sure they will help you. However we all have different styles and different ways of learning, so remember to just do what works best for you and you will succeed. However, always remember college is not high school.

Finally, just remember to have fun. I know its cliche, but these times truly are some of the best of your life. You will expand yourself in these years than you ever will before and after college life.

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  • http://lifestyledesignforyou.com Gordie

    I did a post about why I think it's best for people to go to college if they can. http://lifestyledesignforyou.com/2009/10/why-i-…

    Your article here just adds to the argument. College can be the greatest experience if you do it right.

    • http://lifedestiny.net Tanner @LifeDestiny.net

      Excellent read there. It is so true that it can be more than just a learning experience, it is basically a life experience.

  • http://twitter.com/edwardra3 Edward Antrobus

    Can you email this post to me back in 1999. While these seem so obvious now, if I had followed these tips as a freshman, it wouldn't have taken me 10 years to graduate, I'd have a much better GPA, and much less debt (lost scholarship and ran out of eligibility for student aid). I'd be blogging about transitioning from entry-level to mid-level professional instead about the Entry Level Dilemma (http://entryleveldilemma.blogspot.com) of finding a job without experience and experience without a job.

    I would say 1,3,8, &9 are the most important suggestions of the bunch. Remember the whole point of college is to gain the knowledge and skills that you will use in your career, and to make you a well rounded person. College is a very expensive place to just party.

    Regarding sites like rateyourprofessor.com, read what the reviewers are saying and look at how they rate other professors. I've had classes that what was reviewed poorly about the professor was what I liked best.

    • http://lifedestiny.net Tanner @LifeDestiny.net

      Sometimes I wish I could go back to my Freshman year to start all over again and learn something different. Life has a plan and path, so I am not worried.

  • http://laundry101.com/ Laundry and Dry Cleaning

    Dude what a great post, I'm going to retweet this to all my friends here a UofK. Thanks I was looking for a list like this.

  • http://uk.bestdissertation.com/ uk dissertation

     Thanks for your tips. All of your tips are very wonderful that a student must apply on. That would surely help them to surpass some challenges that they may encounter in college.

  • broizen

    Another tip is to use http://www.Alertification.com , where you'll get free alerts for classes when they become open. Alertification works at most colleges, and works great at the UCs, like UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCSB!

  • James

    Another tip is to use http://www.Alertification.com , where you'll get free alerts for classes when they become open. Alertification works at most colleges, and works great at the UCs, like UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCSB!

  • janifar lopez

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