College is a great time to be alive! You’re just starting to spread your wings in this thing called life. Its a time to make new friends, potentially move to a new city, and learn how to handle life on your own. The following college tips will help you maximize your time while there.

Save Big Dough

Many students leave college with a massive amount of student debt. This can be a great way to dig a hole for yourself that you may not escape from until after several decades pass you by. Don’t be another statistic! A great way to cut down on the cost is to start at a community college. Most community colleges will allow you to transfer anywhere from 60-90 credit hours and the fees are drastically lower here than at the university. Plus, if you have a community college near your home, save even more money by staying with your parents.

Research Your College

What drew you to the university that you wanted to attend? Was it a college sports team? A referral from a parent or mentor? Its important to find a university that will help you excel in your given area of study. What if you want to have a highly specialized skill set in technology upon attaining your degree, but you go to a college that is limited in this area? That can be detrimental. There are some programs of study that can be attained anywhere, but that doesn’t mean that you should go there. Speak with someone who can help you narrow the field, like a high school counselor. This will help you bring your best options to the forefront. They will also be able to tell you about specific on-campus opportunities as well that might help you make a decision.

Stick to Your Passion

I’ve said it a million times already, but here it is again. Stick to what you are passionate about. Don’t let your parents talk you into being a lawyer or doctor if that isn’t what is truly beating inside your heart. Don’t make a life decision, like your college degree and ultimately your career, based on anything other than your very particular interests. Out of all the college tips, this one can make or break you. Definitely don’t choose a degree based on the money. You will find yourself constantly frustrated or miserable if you take this path. If you don’t know what your passionate about, that is fine too. You will find something that you will enjoy with enough experience and time. You can always have a major in one category and a minor in another so you’re not throwing all of your energy into one program. A double major is an option as well.

Ask Your Peers about Professors

This is huge college tip! Ask around about particular professors once your on campus to find out who the best ones are to take for an upcoming class. Students will readily share their experience about certain professors, their style, or if the tests were extremely hard, etc. You get the idea. This can help you avoid major headaches!

Summer Sessions

Do you have a class that you know will cause you problems? Take it during a summer session! These can be as short as 4 weeks and while they cram all the material down your throat as a regular semester (sometimes), the time will fly. I remember taking a Speech class during a summer session just because I was terrified about public speaking. I found out later that students during the spring or fall semesters had to do three speeches whereas my summer class only did one! Major score! Plus, a great college tip for you!

Save a Year or More

In my last blog, forming a definitive game plan, I discussed how adding a time frame to your goals can help you save time and I actually used a college example. The idea is to graduate a year earlier than scheduled just by adding in summer sessions or taking one extra class in the spring or fall semesters. If you can tackle more classes with your given schedule, you’ll find yourself graduating sooner than your classmates.

Keep an Eye on Your Program

Its important as you go through the college years that your program doesn’t change. It can be a bummer to realize while charting your upcoming classes each semester that one of them has been eliminated. This can happen and a replacement will be posted in the program, but still you need to be aware of it. You can always speak to a college counselor about what your next steps should be if you have any questions. It always helps to be aware of such issues and check your program at least once a year.

Four Year Fever

Don’t think that you have to have a four-year degree when you go to college. If you’re interested in a two-year degree, then by all means, go for it! There are plenty of trades to choose from out there if you’re good working with your hands. Top-paying trade jobs have a really good outlook and are in demand now! Again, it all depends on where your passions lie.

Part-time Job

You may be in a position to snag a part-time job while you are going to college. Out of all the college tips revolving around work, this one will be a tremendous benefit and it makes so much sense: take a job that fits with your chosen degree! That way, you can learn on-the-job skills and discover if you truly like what your future job will entail. There may even be an opportunity to intern at a company to put your newly acquired skills to use. This could potentially open a door for you when you graduate. Who knows, you might land your first job!

Write Short-hand

Its important to take exceptional notes while in college. Form your own method of short-hand. I used to have all kinds of crazy meanings behind certain abbreviations, arrows, or other symbols that I would scribble out while a professor droned on and on during the class. Not only does this allow you to keep up with everyone else, but it also helps frame your reflection time after the class is over. Being able to know exactly what was said in the moment is extremely important. You could miss something critical if you write everything down completely which could hurt you during homework or while taking a test. And yes, even if you take a laptop to class, abbreviated typing will help you keep up tremendously. Always ask for clarification if something doesn’t make sense to you. Don’t worry about feeling bad, it probably doesn’t make sense to someone else either.

In Closing

These college tips can go a long way while you’re learning about your future profession. Being able to walk behind the well-trod path of someone else can be huge advantage. I hope these college tips will be a benefit to you as you progress through your chosen field of study.

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