5 Ways to Get Ahead in College

Guest blogger: Claire Adams, Personal and Professional Development Expert


As if starting a whole new chapter in your life isn’t challenging enough, finding your place and advancing in college requires more than just your standard strategies. Managing the workload while juggling volunteering and extracurricular activities alone can be a struggle, but when you have set goals, these added steps can take you far.

Learn from students past and present on how to achieve the right balance for the sake of your accomplishments, but also to enjoy the experience that will pass ever so quickly. In addition to the tactics you will undoubtedly devise yourself, these five golden rules have helped many students reach their potential on the road to success.

1. Create a learning system

No high school can prepare you for the scope of your university studies. It basically comes down to utilizing your organizational skills to set up a solid schedule, study groups, one-on-one consultations with your professors, and revision sessions to make sure you’re making the most your college has to offer in terms of studying assistance.

No matter if you’re a lone wolf when it comes to studying, or you appreciate the team spirit and the input of your fellow students, another brilliant way of exchanging notes and knowledge is via a great online platform Thinkswap, where you can easily exchange notes and even purchase them from previous students. If you are a great note-taker yourself, share them on this platform, and you can use your exchange credit to find the notes for a course that is particularly difficult for you to handle alone.

2. Brush up your resume

Work experience is a modern-day paradox: it’s required even for jobs that are designed for entry-level candidates, and the more you have to show, the greater your chances are of landing the position. However, make your efforts stand out in your resume with a slightly “sneaky”, yet perfectly valid strategy – put your work experience in perspective.

As a library assistant, you have exceptional communication and organizational skills that helped you master the data-entry program used, and if you’ve worked as a tutor, you’ve improved your teaching ability, you’re responsible, reliable, dedicated and creative when it comes to thinking up new lesson plans.

3. Think outside of your curriculum

Besides choosing a major that is in line with your interests, the extracurricular activities are not just an incredible asset on that resume of yours when you finally throw your cap. They are an opportunity to meet and mingle, earn valuable contacts and further define your desired professional life.

Volunteering for a cause is a win-win, but you can also look for a sports or an art club you can join. There are also the debate club, sororities and fraternities, and taking part in campus government which offers a varying degree of responsibility.

4. Maintain balance

As surprising as it may seem at first, but your college road is not paved solely with courses, credits and cramming. It’s a journey that should be both fun and demanding, to allow you to grow as a person, not just as a future graduate. Perhaps you’ve left your home and joined a college with few familiar faces, but making new friends is an integral part of your college years.

Make time for fun, it will help you stay motivated and study well, and when you build worthy friendships, visiting local festivals, concerts and other events, your social circle will keep your life fulfilled outside of the lecture halls. Without intending to sound like your parents, but health is also a factor, and choosing a sport or a fitness class along with a healthy diet can contribute to your studying endeavors more than you know.

5. Perfect your skills

Outside of your work hours and those long study sessions, a whole world of skills awaits to be mastered, to serve you in your future job hunt and to help you ace those exams. For instance, learning how to create a mind-blowing presentation, using Photoshop, learning the basics of a language, creating your own blog with WordPress and excelling at Excel can all come in handy.

Perhaps some of these will make your resume stand out, or help you prepare for exams faster and more efficiently, while you can use others to explore new interests and maybe even kick start your own projects, either on a volunteering basis, for personal fulfillment or to make a few extra bucks.

Finally, while you’re chasing your college degree in an attempt to build a rewarding life afterwards, don’t forget to enjoy your adventure. Because college is an entire existence worth of memories waiting to happen, and quite a few of them will have absolutely nothing to do with your next history test.

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