For many people college is just something that comes after high school. Your parents, friends or perhaps the college advisor at your local school would help you figure out where to go for college, what degree to enroll in and so on.
After this most of us start applying to a few colleges, wait for the acceptance letters and then figure out how to pay for the whole thing!
That’s how I felt when I completed high school many years ago; the whole college thing was a black box for me and just caught me by surprise! I had literally no one who took the care to guide me after my high school.
I did not know what to study, I did not know even the names of colleges where I could apply, nor did I understand that college was a whole new experience that would be very different from high school.
It took me a few months of self reflection after my summer holidays to realize that I desperately wanted to become an engineer, but in exactly which field of engineering I did not know.
US Higher Education
Now with the very high cost of college education and the whole disarray in the US higher education system, you might be wondering if college is even worth your huge investment of money and time!
If you were to ask me, I would say that college is worth it and seems almost mandatory for many in our society, as long as it is doable fairly quickly and not an uphill battle entrenched in student loans.
So I’m here to offer you a lot of good news and techniques by which you can make college work for you rapidly and for a much lesser cost than you would imagine! There are a few simple things that can turn your college experience into a grand success. I will go over all of them here briefly before further discussing them in greater detail.
Your top college student success strategies need to account for the following:
- Degree completion from Start to Graduation
- Graduation in a Shorter Time so you can get on with the rest of your life
- Spending Less on College so you can afford college and have more money for your life AFTER college
- Understanding what a College degree means to you personally so you can stay motivated through it all
- Choosing the Right Career for You and understanding how to structure college to get to your chosen Career
- Finding the best College to accomplish your goal and start the enrollment process
- Figuring out what college-level learning you have already completed so you can directly apply prior learning to your college degree
- Charting out a plan and setting a broad schedule for which college-level courses to take moving forward
- Improving your Study Techniques so you can do well in your college studies
Your Goal and Motivation
Think about why you want to complete college. How will that help you personally? Will it improve your standard of life? Would it enable you to earn enough to have the kind of lifestyle you crave?
Will your friends and family look at you with greater respect if you are a college graduate? Will completing college allow you to pursue your ideal career?
Knowing why you want to study for college and what that means to you is the single most important thing you can do to improve your chances of greater success in college and your career!
It will also help you to stay motivated during any rough patches during college and to successfully rise above any challenges.
Your Current Portfolio
List down all the college-level learning and any courses you have already completed. Gather up all those certificates and any other documentation on the course content or syllabus.
You might have taken some advanced courses in high school that might qualify for college credits. You might have some volunteering experience or work experience that could translate to college credits. Did you write any AP exams or complete any other courses elsewhere?
Taking a full inventory of your prior learning will save you time and money by applying the learning directly in your college transcript.
The Shortest Path (Time)
Your college student success strategies are hugely dependent on how quickly you are able to call yourself a college graduate. The sooner you complete college, the more time and money you will save and the more quickly you can get a well-paying job and start building your career!
As listed above, one way to shorten the time at college is to apply your prior learning towards your college degree.
Also, be sure to have clear plan so that you do not take any unwanted college courses. Take only the college courses or learning that are mandatory for your graduation.
Do not waste any time during college in unnecessary courses or other activities.
Less Expense (Money)
Lack of finances is one of the key reasons for people dropping out of college. So be sure to enroll in an institution where the fees and other costs are affordable.
Have a clear plan for how you will pay for college either from your own earnings, saved-up money, money from your parents or student scholarships.
For finding the best college scholarships, check out our article on How To Apply for College Scholarships in the US.
Please make every effort to avoid taking student loans as they accrue interest and this can become a huge burden that would chase you for many years after you graduate from college.
Market Research (Opportunities)
Do your own research on Career opportunities for your chosen college major or college degree. There are many governmental sites in the US such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics which provide market data on job opportunities for various fields of study.
This one simple action will save you years of frustration after college so you can quickly find a good job after graduation. The more the job demand for your chosen field, the more you can grow in your career within your company or by finding new opportunities elsewhere.
Institutions of Learning
Finding a good college with affordable fees is extremely important. You need to get a good quality education in your chosen field for a reasonable cost.
Through my college experience, challenges and further research, I’ve been lucky enough to find a number of US colleges that are truly affordable!
You do not have to move to New York State, New Jersey or Connecticut to study at these colleges. You can enroll in these colleges from anywhere in North America, Europe or the rest of the world.
If all of this sounds a bit confusing, just take a look at the college websites as listed above. These colleges allow students to transfer in their prior learning for free and also provide many low cost and affordable ways to undertake college-level learning for their degree programs.
I will be discussing much more about these and similar colleges in future posts. But for now going over these college websites should help get you started on how these colleges work.
They are not exactly distance colleges or courses, instead they allow students the flexibility to utilize many ways to complete their college degree. These colleges also have many of their courses online so students can enroll for any of the online courses or utilize other online learning resources which I will discuss in future posts.
Topic Relevance (ROI)
- Ensure that the courses and learning you undertake meet the degree requirements at your college.
- Be sure to take courses that give you the knowledge and skills to perform well at a job in your chosen field.
- By following the above two principles, you will reach your college graduation goal in a shorter time and have the necessary skills for a great career!
- Master the art of reading and studying for long hours. Learn to grasp the subject matter quickly, read faster, write down questions on the subject matter for future clarification, practice note taking and revise all study material thoroughly before any tests or exams.Here is one simple guide that can greatly improve your study skills:
The Everything Guide to Study Skills: Strategies, tips, and tools you need to succeed in school! (Everything®)Also, I’ve found good note-taking during class lectures, while watching class videos or at seminars to be extremely useful for re-calling important information during critical times.Take a look at this book for excellent note-taking skills:
How To Take Great Notes Quickly And Easily: A Very Easy Guide: (40+ Note Taking Tips for School, Work, Books and Lectures. Cornell Notes Explained. And … (The Learning Development Book Series 8)
- Consult books, talk to peer students and professors for further guidance on effective study techniques.
- Then practice the techniques to determine how well they work for you. Monitor your progress while using the techniques. Consistently use those that work well for you and discard those that are not an ideal fit for you.
- If you already know some study techniques that worked well for you in high school, practice those now and see if they continue to work well for your college studies.
- Lastly, do not underestimate the effectiveness of good study techniques! They can make a huge difference in your studies and result in excellent grades and scores when practiced diligently.
Status Checks Until Graduation
Note your degree progress every 3 to 4 weeks to see if you are making rapid progress in meeting your college degree requirements. If you feel stuck at any time, consult the college student counselors and other students for assistance.
Make any course corrections to keep progressing toward your college degree goals. Among all the college student success strategies listed above, this act of revisiting your degree progress every few weeks can be a real life saver.
It will help you to speedily acknowledge any roadblocks and to find quicker solutions to your college-specific challenges.
Believe me, if you carefully practice all the above college student success strategies, you will be well on your way to becoming a college graduate at the earliest!
So please take charge of your college studies and make it a grand success. Don’t wait for someone or something to guide or to push you to finish college and start a career.
It is your higher education, so you need to take the initiative to get it done rapidly and properly, so you can then move on to living the life of your dreams :))
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