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Entering your first year of college is equal parts exciting and intimidating. It’s not uncommon to be nervous about the transition regardless of how prepared you might be. In the days leading up to the beginning of your first semester, do your best to relax and brush up on helpful tips and tricks for succeeding in your first year of classes.

Pace Yourself and Take It One Day at a Time

Change can be overwhelming — add an academic workload to the mix and it can start to feel unmanageable. The best thing you can do when you first start college is to pace yourself. Don’t try to take on too much all at once.

Give yourself time to adapt to your class schedule, the curriculum and assignments. You don’t need to be excellent at everything right away. Allow yourself the room to make mistakes and learn from them — that’s what college is all about.

Get Organized and Prioritize Deadlines

Meeting academic deadlines is crucial to your success. A lot of important dates will begin to pile up all at once and it can be easy to unintentionally miss due dates or forget to complete assignments. Managing a calendar is an absolute must when starting college. Using an online app or a physical planner can help you keep track of important dates.

Be Open to Trying New Study Techniques to Find Your Learning Style

Everyone learns and absorbs information differently (A.K.A. learning styles), which means there are many ways to participate in class or study for an exam. Even if you think you know your learning style, don’t be afraid to explore new study techniques (i.e., flashcards, drawing, reading aloud, seeing a tutor or tutoring another student).

You might even discover that you have more than one learning style — which is common for some students. It’s important to understand how to take advantage of each learning style and find ways to improve your study methods.

The three learning styles include:

  1. Visual learning – People who are visual learners retain information better when they can see or read the materials. They often prefer things like drawings, graphs, textbooks, spreadsheets, images, etc.
  2. Tactile learning – People who are tactile learners rely on actions or gestures in order to learn. They may often find it useful to act out scenarios or perform a task. Tactile learning is all about hands-on opportunities which can be very helpful in vocational training or health careers.
  3. Audio learning – People who are audio learners absorb information best when it is spoken to them aloud. They will likely prefer to listen to an audiobook or read the material aloud. In-class lectures, discussions or debates are often the most engaging method for audio learners.

Actively Get to Know Your Classmates and Participate in Extra-Curricular Activities

While college could appear cutthroat, your classmates really aren’t your competition. Instead, they are your colleagues who are pursuing their education alongside you. Be open to chatting with the person sitting next to you or schedule time to meet with your peers outside of the classroom. It can be helpful to form study groups before a big exam or ask a classmate for feedback on a paper. The more you allow others into your learning journey, the better you’ll feel about the process.

Extracurricular activities are also a great way to get involved on campus because they can introduce you to new and valuable perspectives and experiences. Most students who participate in sports or clubs or attend optional lectures or presentations find their relationships with their peers and professors are better for it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

You are in school to learn material you have no prior knowledge of. Naturally, you will likely have questions for your professors or instructors in the middle of a lecture or lab. Your instructors expect you to have questions, so it will come as no shock to them when you don’t understand something.

Don’t be intimidated by a classroom or fellow students and always ask your questions. Someone else likely has the same question but are too intimidated to speak up, or you may prompt the instructor to provide elaboration or clarification that will benefit the entire class.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions in a classroom, you can reach out to your professor via email or schedule a meeting during their office hours.

Set Realistic and Attainable Goals

Aside from the goal to graduate college with a diploma, you should also think about short-term and long-term goals over the course of your academic career. Whether that’s making all As and graduating with honors or pushing yourself to enroll in a challenging course, your goals are often important steppingstones toward your career.

College is what you make of it, so work hard, be brave and go for it.

Pursue Higher Education at St. Louis College of Health Careers in Missouri

St. Louis College of Health Careers is committed to providing students with an understanding of our rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. Graduates leave our programs with a greater understanding of medical theory and practice and can swiftly apply their skills in the field.

We offer numerous associate, bachelor, master and diploma programs that qualify our students to take certification exams and enter health careers ranging from practical nursing to healthcare administration.

Learn more about our healthcare degrees by calling 866-529-2070.

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