Freshman 101: CCA’s Top Eight Success Strategies for New College Students

Transitioning from senior year to college freshman year can feel overwhelming. Trust me- I attended the wrong English class for a week before I realized I wasn’t even in the right building. The first time on campus can feel overwhelming, but bring a sense of humor and embrace these strategies and I’m certain you’ll find your way.

Show up and engage in your classes: Embrace the books, papers, and discussions. Take a variety of courses across the humanities, social sciences, arts, and sciences. Academics can be strenuous, but it prepares you for a successful life. Take pride in your work and make sure it is your own.

Get involved on campus: Participate in campus life activities you enjoy and explore new interests. Find a student club to join, attend sports events, concerts, art openings, and talks by visiting speakers.

Use career services: Visit the career center at your college (locally, Delta Career Services and SVSU Career Services) to explore programs and opportunities. We want you to have a great experience and look back in 20 years and say college helped you achieve an incredible life.

Here’s the harder part. To maximize this opportunity, commit to these five ways of showing up and being present:

Be curious about everyone and everything: Be curious about the people you meet, classes you take, books you read, and the person you are becoming. Try new things! Your curiosity will help you make friends, understand the world, and explore future possibilities.

Embrace challenges and keep an open mind: When you don’t understand something, ask for help. When you encounter challenging ideas, listen to the perspectives of your peers. This doesn’t mean that you have to replace your own beliefs, just that you should be curious about the world around you and your place within it. College is supposed to encourages questions and challenging beliefs. Be humble (none of us has it all figured out) and constantly seek out alternative views that help you think broader and deeper.

Develop a wide range of relationships: Get to know faculty and staff who want to support you. Introduce yourself to faculty during the first week, go to office hours, and build friendships with people from diverse backgrounds. Scale back on social media and spend more time interacting with people on campus- especially if you are a commuter!

Train yourself to perform at a high level: Your brain is a muscle and it learns to do hard things by doing hard things. College encourages you to take on challenges and achieve your goals. Faculty will push you because they believe in you. Stumbles and failures are normal and good; they are opportunities for growth. If you commit to staying motivated and be open to being pushed, you will experience remarkable growth and success.

Ask for help early and often: When things don’t go well, remember we all struggle at times. College is about growing as a person and growth can be hard and messy. Seek out faculty and staff who can help you learn from experience. Your campus is filled with people who want to help you flourish.

You are going to a college that expect a lot from you because they want a lot for you. Show up motivated, engage in your classes, make a big circle of friends, and be a part of your campus. Enjoy the successes but don’t be surprised by setbacks. Ask for help. Work hard. Have fun. Embrace all that it means to be a new college student!

P.S. Be sure to check back next week when I give out my favorite websites for finding cheap textbooks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *