Twenty-five Secrets to College
Success in your college studies is the result of many factors.
Here are some practical things you can do to increase your chances
Why are you going to college? What do
you hope to accomplish? What career do you want to pursue? If
you know what you want, it is also often easier to endure what
must be done to get there. Enrolling in SLS 1301 Career Planning
and SLS 1401 Computerized Career Planning may be a good way to
clarify your career goal. If you would rather do it yourself,
self-directed “Career Options” booklets are available
from any campus student success office.
Academic advising is an
important part of any student’s success. Your counselor
or advisor can help you determine exactly what courses you need
to take for a given program, major and transfer institution.
For students planning to transfer to a university, requirements
often vary from one university to another and usually involve
certain prerequisite courses that you need to work into your
program of study. You should select a major and transfer institution
as soon as you can, since some programs of study have many prerequisite
courses. It is also a good idea to meet with a counselor or advisor
any time your plans change. You may make an appointment in any
campus counseling and advising center.
Without clear priorities, what is more
important can sometimes get lost in what is more fun or exciting.
You should have a clear sense of what comes first and should
monitor your own activities to make sure they reflect this set
of priorities. Developing a weekly schedule — with an appropriate
balance between your priorities — is one way to do this.
Twelve credit hours is a minimum
full-time class load. If you are employed 20 or more hours a
week, you should probably take three to nine credit hours (one
to three classes), depending upon the difficulty of the classes,
the amount of time you have to study, your GPA and other factors.
If you are not sure, generally it is better to take a lighter
load rather than risking one that is too heavy. Students who
are not working and who have a high GPA (3.0 or higher) can often
take 15 (or sometimes more) credit hours. Summer (six weeks)
term class loads should usually be no more than half as many
credits as during a fall or spring term.
Your degree audit summarizes your
progress toward your degree and lets you see what you have yet
to finish. The degree audit does not include university prerequisites;
see a counselor or advisor for this information. To obtain your
degree audit go to www.FACTS.org.
The earlier you register, the better selection
of classes you will have. It is a good idea to seek academic
advising before the beginning of registration.
Florida Community College has many
resources that can help you succeed. You should familiarize yourself
with the assistance available within the learning center (help
with reading, writing, mathematics and other subjects), the career
center, the computer lab, the learning resources center (library),
the foreign language lab and the campus counseling and advising
You should thoroughly familiarize
yourself with the information in your College catalog; the procedures
for dropping or withdrawing from classes, the grading system,
deadline dates (listed in the catalog calendar), the student
code of conduct and grade appeal procedures are some of the things
you need to know about.
Many students have difficulty
simply because they have never learned certain basic study skills.
Develop these skills by adding Strategies for Success in College, Career and Life (formerly Living and Learning in a Knowledge-Based
Economy) - SLS 1103 to your schedule. You’ll gain a unique
advantage in the classroom and in the workplace with the survival
and success skills taught in this course. Topics include goals
and priorities, maintaining commitment, teamwork and decision
making, learning skills, leadership styles and skills, and much
No matter what your major or program,
computer skills will be helpful to you. Word processing, for
example, can greatly increase your efficiency with any kind of
writing assignment. Computing resources are generally available
in the learning resources center and the computer lab. CGS 1570
Microcomputer Application Software, OST 1100 Keyboarding/Introduction
to Word Processing (for those without typing skills) and/or OST
2771 Word Processing can be good courses to develop these skills.
Non-credit courses are also readily available.
Reading speed and comprehension are
fundamental to college success. No matter how well you presently
read, you will benefit by increasing your reading skills. By
doubling your speed (often a realistic goal), you can cut in
half the time required to read certain kinds of assignment. Such
courses are often taught in continuing education programs.
One of the
ways that college is different from high school is the degree
to which professors expect you to be able to think in analytical
and creative ways. These skills come more naturally to some people
than others, but anyone can enhance them by following certain
guidelines and through proper practice. Two particularly useful
books on this subject are “Brain Power” by Karl Albrecht
and “A Whack on the Side of the Head” by Roger von
This is the simplest way to get
better grades. Many students fail simply because they miss class
and, therefore, fall behind in their work. Also,
some instructors have an attendance policy (outlined in their
course syllabus) that allows only a few absences before your
grade is affected. Other professors may not have an attendance
requirement, but do not be misled — they will still hold
you responsible for what is covered in class and for the work
is an obvious but often neglected principle. Being prepared for
class means having your assignments
done on time, completing the required reading in your text and
giving some thought beforehand to the day’s topic of discussion.
instructor is obligated to provide you with a course syllabus
that summarizes the requirements
of the class, the basis for assigning grades, any attendance
policy and other relevant information. Read this very carefully
and ask questions about anything you do not understand.
you are having difficulty in a class, often the best thing to
do is to talk to your instructor.
He or she may be able to suggest better ways to approach the
material or other ways to get help with your class work. Be sure
to ask about any class assignments or requirements that may not
be clear to you. Also, if you are going to ask for an exception
to an established class policy or procedure, it is often best
to make an appointment and do so in private.
is often helpful to study with a group of other students taking
the same class. This gives
you a convenient way to ask questions about assignments, share
insights, compare notes and quiz each other in preparation for
be afraid to ask questions when you are not sure about something.
Instructors usually appreciate
questions as a way of clarifying what they are teaching. Asking
questions is the most direct way to find out what you need to
know. If you have a question concerning College policy or procedure,
the campus counseling and advising center can usually be of some
you are having difficulty following the material presented in
a text, you can often find
another text covering the same material in a different way. By
doing a little research in the library, you can locate another
book that is more in tune with the way you like to learn, that
provides examples or presents the material in a clearer fashion.
Ask a librarian for assistance with this.
The best way
to achieve your educational goals is to stay in school. This
sounds simple, but many people drop
out before they have really given themselves a fair chance to
is more to campus life than just attending classes. Participation
in student activities,
clubs and other organizations can make you feel more a part of
the College, help you develop leadership skills and give you
the opportunity to develop friendships. Stop by your campus student
activities office for more information.
are having a problem related to your school work, it is wise
to do something about it as soon
as you can. If you are not sure what to do about a concern, a
counselor can often help you clarify your situation and your
Learn to stand
up for your rights. The College has grievance and appeals procedures
to help assure your fair
treatment. If you think you’ve been treated unfairly or
unreasonably, make an appointment to talk with a counselor or
the campus dean of student success to get some advice on how
to best handle
more accurate and realistic you are about your goals, abilities,
skills and circumstances,
the better able you are to chart out a wise course to college
success. A counselor can also provide you with information about
personality testing if you think this may be helpful.
one has more to gain (or lose) than you. Every decision that
you make makes a
difference — how you spend your time, how carefully you
complete your assignments, how hard you study for an exam and
how determined you are in achieving your goals — each such
decision will either bring you a step closer or further away
from your goals.