Posted on October 9, 2011 by otobefree
Written by Jimmie Burroughs
When I started college I had no help from parents or anyone else. I was 34 and had two small children and a wife. In order to enter the career I wanted, it required a degree so I was determined to get that degree. I worked a regular job 40 hours a week and carried from 12 to 15 credit hours per semester. I never studied until the kids were in bed at 8pm. As heavy as this load was, I still graduated at the top of my class with honors and an A- average. Below are 10 priority tips for college students that will help you to do the best and get the most from your college experience:
1. Decide early why you are going to college
I knew from day one why I was in college but this is not always the case for some. Many college students go to college because it is the next step after high school. Their parents and peers urge them, telling them that it is the thing to do. But you need to have your own specific reasons and goals. This must be your own decision and you must have the right frame of mind about it. College is not just a place to party and have fun.
It is a preparatory for how well you are going to succeed the rest of your life. If you are already in college and don’t know yet why you are there, just make it your priority to find out. You need to have the frame of mind to get all you can from it and know what you want to get from it.
Goals are different for different people but it is important to know what your goals are and why you are spending a lot of money and time for your college. Simply put, why are you are there? If you are unable to come to an answer for that question, you could be wasting a lot of time and money and getting nowhere fast.
2. Learn and master memory techniques
I contribute to my memory techniques the ability to make straight “A”s. They also reduced the amount of study time that I needed to invest.
You probably have heard of the memory technique for learning the notes on a musical scale: The lines are, “Every Good Boy Does Fine”, E, G, B, D, F. The spaces are remembered by “FACE”, F-A-C-E. I play the guitar so when I learned the chord names of the strings, I used this memory technique: A Dog Goes Bad, the top and bottom strings are low and high “E”, so they are E-A,D,G,B-E. These techniques work well but are very elementary. You can learn memory techniques that are far more efficient. The two I use are stacking and pegging.
If you learn these techniques they will enable you to learn up to a hundred items or more in a matter of a few minutes and be able to recall them perfectly even days later and anyone can do it. It is beyond the scope of this article to teach them here but I will be glad to send you a white paper with detailed instructions on how you can learn both of the techniques I use. I am able to give an hour long speech without any written notes using these techniques and as I said above, they helped me to be a straight “A” student in college. Click here for your FREE copy.
I still use these techniques today when I give a speech. I have all the major points and sub points numbered and I can easily go from number to number. I don’t have to memorize my speech word for word; all I need to do is recall the major points and sub-points. This technique is compatible with the way our brain functions which is better suited to visualize memorization than phonetic memorization. So I can visualize each point as I go along.
It does take some practice to master these techniques but once you have, it will be for life. I learned it many years ago and it is still there when I need it. Also it seems that these techniques strengthen memory as a whole.
Too bad that you won’t learn these techniques in school; they are not normally taught there nor could I find them on the web. Now, while you are young is the time to learn them; they will help you enormously and save you a lot of time. They will serve you in a lot of practical ways like remembering a grocery list without having a written one or also in remembering names. Click here for your FREE copy.
More memory resources:
3. Learn material the first time around as it is presented in the classroom.
It is a great waste of time to have to always be relearning something. It takes a lot of additional study to make up for things you should have learned before but didn’t. There are six main reasons students don’t learn in the classroom:
- They are not concentrating on what is being said
- They are not asking questions when they don’t understand
- They have not learned the vocabulary of the topic
- They don’t understand the logic of the topic
- They fail to contact the professor outside of class to clear up any questions
- They allow their confusion to linger rather than fixing it immediately. Don’t move ahead until you understand a principle. It’s much harder to fix later.
Study outside of the classroom should never be a relearning time but only a review of what has been learned already and is to be learned. Each new step of learning is built upon the foundation of what you previously have learned and if you have a weak foundation you are seriously behind. If you mess off you freshman year and go into your sophomore year with less than a strong base of learning, you are going to find yourself in serious academic trouble. Learn the material well and make “A”s on each course and prepare yourself for what’s next; otherwise you are just wasting your time.
Learn to relax between classes and when time permits. Short naps are not just for old people, they will help to recharge you body and brain and enable you to fully consecrate on the subject matter. If you want to be serious about learning, get a seat as near the front as possible; there will be less distraction and you will be able to hear clearly.
Make friends in each class so you will have access to notes if you have to miss a class. Introduce yourself to the Professor and don’t be reluctant to go to their office after class time. They appreciate your interest in their course. Avoid doing stupid or illegal things that could go down on your record and affect your application to any other colleges.
4. Learn about finances as quickly as you can
If you can master these four areas of finance, you will be on your way to wealth and I’m not kidding in the least.
- Don’t spend more than you earn. Gauge how much you spend by how much you make and never go beyond it unless it is an absolute emergency. Try to keep your spending below your income in order to invest even if you must find ways to spend less.
- Be the best employee possible. The work you do now is going to set the pace for the work you do in the future. Start now to develop good work habits, they will pay off for you in a big way down the road. Your present jobs can be recommendations or contacts for future jobs.
- Start your own business. As many millionaires will be made during this present decade than it took the previous 250 years to make and most of them will be made from internet marketing. Many millionaires are made online before they even graduate from college. Learning computer technology should be included in you college curriculum.
- Learn how to invest. Study some books on investing or subscribe to some free online financial reports. Just small regular investments can add up to very large retirement funds when you start young. This is one thing you can’t afford to put off…do it now. Cut out smoking, drinking, new cars and things you don’t need and use that money for investments; it can grow to millions over the years. As little as $1,000 invested each year for the next 10 years in a sound productive investment can set you up for life financially.
5. Plan your college years well; they are some of the greatest years of your life.
Make your college experience a time of great experiences, building rich memories that will follow you for the rest of your life. I regret that I waited instead of starting college after high school when I could have lived on campus and enjoyed the fullness of college life.
My advice to you is to study hard and get your work done and leave time to enjoy the activities that the college offers. Join clubs of your interests. Have a boyfriend or girlfriend that you can share this time of your life with. Join in on the on campus games that are available. Avoid poor habits that can pull you down and get you behind academically. Especially avoid drugs that will limit your abilities to learn and fry your brain; this includes alcohol.
Challenge yourself academically so you will have adequate time to enjoy yourself and have some fun. Don’t waste your leisure time doing nothing and just hanging out with the guys. Find some physical activity that will give you an opportunity to get some exercise and get rid of stress.
6. Learn to manage your time well
Time is the most valuable asset we have, even more valuable than silver and gold. Learning how to manage it well will be like adding productive years to your life. There are so many ways of wasting time and it is easy to fall into the trap. For me television, for the most part, is a passive waste of my time so consequently I quit watching it over 4 years ago. It took a while to get used to not watching certain shows that I liked but now I have no desire for television and it frees a lot of time to do the things I need to do that are important. In college it really is important to manage your time because there are many deadlines that must be met and little time to squander. Most importantly, it is of the essence to plan and execute your study time well. Below are some suggestions:
Set aside segments of time dedicated for study and get into the routine of being consistent. As a rule you will need to spend two hours study for every hour you spend in class. Be sure you keep your syllabus at hand and check if often to keep on track with your assignments. Select a quite private place to study. Make a habit of also organizing you class notes and making clarifications. Never fail to read your assignments and learn the major points well to be prepared for any pop quizzes.
Your study place should be a comfortable place with a study desk if possible and a comfortable chair and include all the supplies you will need for you study. Be sure there is not TV or other distractions.
Include a time for breaks. You will accomplish more and be more alert if you take routine breaks to rest and enjoy a snack.
Plan to do as much study during regular daytime hours. Late night study can be exhausting and often less productive as well as leaving you tired for the next day classes. Be sure to get plenty of sleep. •
Get into a study group but keep it down to no more than 5 including you. Large study groups can become just a social gathering and accomplish little. • Most colleges offer study resources, learn about them and make use of them: Labs, computer programs, libraries, computers and orientations. •
Allocate your time according to the difficulty of your courses. Some of the easier courses require very little time while others will require a lot of time. Those that are hard should be your first priority and first to study.
Be sure to take care of yourself. Eat healthy; get exercise; get enough sleep; avoid caffeine; plan for fun times.
7. Learn safety
A lot of crimes are committed on college campuses and you don’t want to be a victim. 80% of college crimes are committed by students against other students. The first rule of safety is to always walk with someone at night, coming or going to your dorm or events on campus. Some colleges will provide escorts for this if you have no one.
- Most campuses have a “panic phone” system. Know where these are.
- Have a safety buddy, someone you can call for a ride or for help, and create a code word or phrase that means “Come help me out of this” or “I’m in trouble.” •
- Before going to a party, tell a friend where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Let them know if your plans change.
- Take turns being a designated driver or sober companion. You could save someone’s life.
- If a party gets out of hand, leave! • Never, ever leave your drink alone or with someone you don’t know. Date rape drugs are easy to use. And men are just as vulnerable as women.
- Don’t take drinks or anything else from strangers, even food.
- Don’t ride with drunk or drugged drivers. • Don’t offer rides to people you don’t know. • Trust your instincts!
And here’s what parents can do:
- Ask the college administrators about campus alcohol policies.
- Talk to your kids about the legal penalties for underage drinking.
- Discuss the possible consequences of drinking, including date rape, violence and school interference.
- Know your child’s roommate and living arrangements.
- Call your son or daughter frequently
More safety precautions:
Be sure to keep your dorm locked at all times and know who you allow to come into your area. Know the crowd you hang around with and avoid those who like wild parties or spend money like it is going out of style. Unlike the movies about college kids and partying, college has a more important purpose than a party time.
You are going to have to take the responsibility for your safety and your actions. You no longer have dad and mom to look out for you; it is now up to you so don’t make mistakes that could haunt you for the rest of your life. Use your brain and think. Read my article on making emotional decisions.
8. Set Goals
My drill sergeant in basic training told us to shoot at the target otherwise it is like shooting in the mud. Having no goals is kind of like that. Since you are at college to learn, a good first goal would be: • Shoot for a 3.7 grade average; that will put you on the “A” team.
- Plan your career according to what your interests are and not what some else has selected for you. You may make a brilliant Medical doctor but if that is not your interest, don’t do it.
- Set personal development as a goal. Becoming the best person you can be will enhance every factor of your life.
- Setting money as a goal in life is not the best approach but setting expertise in a certain field is. If you become an expert in your field, the money will come.
- Make it your goal to make friends on campus and become acquainted with the staff.
- Set boundaries and rules for your life and stick with them. If remaining sexually pure until marriage is your goal, don’t wait till you are in the back seat of an automobile in a comprising situation to decide whether you are going to have sex or not. Decide before hand and stick with it and avoid compromising situations.
9. Learn to get things organized to run smoothly
As a student it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the assignments, theme papers and general paperwork that will be coming at you daily. It is a must to set up an organized system to keep up with everything. I recommend this site for additional information on how to get started: GTD category
10. Don’t neglect your spiritual life
Our spiritual life should be a top priority but it can easily be overlooked with so many other things going on around us. There are plenty of churches that will provide transportation to services if you don’t have a car. Locate a friend who has a mutual interest in spiritual matters and go together. Plan your own personal devotional times of prayer and Bible reading. CLICK HERE for information about a personal relationship with God.
Your college years are so important. Learn how to make the very most of it. Work hard and then play hard. Have fun but also take care of business. Learn how to make good decisions and how to pursue your own interests and how to protect and take care of yourself. I hope this article on the 10 priority tips for college students has been of help to you and if so please let me know in the comment section below.