5 Tips for Excelling as a College Freshman

 

Going from high school to college is a big step!  A current college student shares five tips for excelling as a freshman in college.

1. Learn to manage your time.

Classes in college are arranged differently than high school.  You will have gaps in time between classes.  Plan each day’s schedule carefully, including study time in addition to class time.

2.  Prepare before class.

Use the class syllabus to review upcoming class material. If you go to class prepared, you will get more out of the class and will save time when studying.

3.  Reflect on what you learned.

Learn how to take notes (such as Cornell notes).  Right after attending class and taking notes, write a summary of your notes, reflecting on what you learned.  How do you connect to what you learned?

4.  Find your study space.

Do you study best in a quiet environment?  Or do you do better sitting in the middle of a busy place?  Find a place you can study effectively....

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Teacher recommendations? First some self-reflection...

 

It will soon be time to ask your teachers and your counselor for letters of recommendations. But before doing that it helps to have done some self-reflection. Think about your three favorite classes on campus. Answer the following questions about yourself and how you have performed in each class.

What have you demonstrated in class that this teacher could praise?
Describe ways you have made learning in class better. Focus on specific contributions, including:

  • Discussions
  • Presentations
  • Projects
  • Essays

What positive character traits have you displayed in this teacher’s class?
Which of the following character traits have you demonstrated in class?

  • Integrity
  • Independence
  • Initiative
  • Responsibility
  • Maturity
  • Respect
  • Perseverance
  • Attention
  • Punctuality
  • Going above expectations
  • How have you used your intellect in this teacher’s class?

Describe ways you have demonstrated your love of learning in this class. Can you describe how you have demonstrated each of these...

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Why Consider a Gap Year

 

Considering taking a Gap Year?

If you’re considering taking a “pause” from your studies, go through the college application process, but ask about deferral policies both for academics and financial aid. Thinking about those things now provides time to decide if a gap is a practical option. In the meantime, start exploring gap programs and options. Do you want something structured or freewheeling? Do you want to climb a mountain or work with children? Is this a time to work in a lab or volunteer at an animal hospital? Would you like to become fluent in a language, understand the inner workings of health care, or meet decision makers in Washington, D.C.? You can do all those and more on a gap.

Gaps have become so acceptable that some colleges, such as Princeton, have set up their own fully-funded programs to encourage students to explore the world and themselves before entering college.

And more than 90 percent of 600 gap students...

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