The best way to get off to a great start in college is by taking a good look at what it takes to be successful. You need good grades, good times, good friends, and family support.
Getting Organized: When counseling a group of 8th graders who wanted to know how to prepare for success in high school, and later in college, I said, “Get organized.” Maybe it’s a bit much to say, “Clean your room, and your grades will go up,” but that’s the general idea. The truth is that staying organized will help you do well in school. You don’t have to be neurotic about it, but organize your desk and your notebooks. Find a place for everything. Make your bed and do your laundry.
Stay Healthy: For a good freshman year, stay healthy. Nothing destroys your semester like a two-week flu. Eat regular meals, exercise and get some sleep. If you stay up until 2 am, you might sleep through your 9 am class. (Not good.)
Good Grades: Academics is the main reason you are in college, so doing well is the only way to get out! Never miss a class. One very successful student at Stanford told me that the first elective he took was “Study Skills.” Make use of the resources on campus: the math lab, the tutors and the Teacher’s Assistants. They are all there for you.
Good Friends: Everyone is worried about finding the right friends. You will naturally fall into your group if you find people who like what you like. Just wanting to eat dinner is enough to start a conversation. It’s easy to meet people if you look them in the eye when you are walking to class. You become someone that others want to know. College can be lonely for some people. Dare to be a friend to everyone, because everyone needs someone who at least recognizes them.
Family Support: Lastly, and most importantly, keep your family support strong. Stay in touch with high school friends and call your mother at least once a week! (Or, at least write back when she texts you!)
--Have a great year!