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 of success.
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 the World of Work and SLS 1401
Computerized Career Exploration 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
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.
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.
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.
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 the Florida Academic Counseling and Tracking for Students
(FACTS) Web Site.
you register, the better selection of classes you will have.
It is a good idea to seek academic advising before the beginning
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 center.
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
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 (SLS 1103) or the college
prep Foundations of College Success (SLS 0001) 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 more.
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
Applications, OST 1100 Keyboarding/Introduction to
Word Processing (for those without typing skills) and/or OST
2771 Word Processing I can be good courses to develop these skills.
Non-credit courses are also readily available.
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 assignments. 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 Oech.
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 you miss.
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 exams.
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 assistance.
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.
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 succeed.
There 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
you 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 options.
to stand up for your rights. The College has grievance and appeals
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.