Finally, you moved away from home and are living on campus—now it’s time to celebrate! Partying and hanging out are natural things to want to do once you’ve tasted a little bit of freedom during that first semester, but it’s important to keep track of why you’re there—to graduate. Sadly, many students face the reality of not graduating on time as a result of getting off track. Keep your goal of graduating a reality by implementing these tactics into the next four years of your college experience.
Choose Your Friends Wisely—the first mistake most students make is hanging out with the wrong crowd. If you realize your friends like to hang out more than study, it may be time to start distancing yourself from that crowd and finding friends who have a better handle of balancing fun with studies. The constant Friday night parties could soon turn into nightly events and might deter you from your schoolwork. If you don’t nip it in the bud now, you’ll be scrambling to pull up your grades before you know it.
Invest in a Planner—keeping track of what’s due and when it’s due will help you plan your social activities a little better. Not everyone likes to use a calendar or planner and if that’s the case for you, that’s fine. Just find out what does work for your organization style and use it. Jotting down deadlines or using a smart phone will help you turn in that paper on time. Understanding how to prioritize will be a great skill set to implement early. All internships and employment opportunities will require some sort of organizational skills.
Understand Your Academic Catalogue—schools change catalogues almost yearly, however you have the choice to stick with the catalogue you received upon your freshman year. Your catalogue will be a guide as to what courses are required in your selected major. Think twice about taking that pottery class if it doesn’t fit within the timeline to graduate. Taking courses that deviate from the suggested course load my harm you. Stay aware of any changes that may impact your major’s track and how they may affect your path to graduation.
Stay in Touch With the Registrar—they will know exactly where you stand in terms of graduating on time. It’s important to check in at least once a semester to reconcile the academic hours you have recorded and the hours they have. If there does happen to be some discrepancies, it’s better to catch them a year before graduation than a few months before.
Staying focused and understanding the real reason why you’re in school will help curb most activities that could prevent you from graduating on time. If you have problems finding a balance or if your coursework is too much, talk with your advisor and let them know about any issues you may have. It’s better to acknowledge a problem early on than let it become too unraveled and difficult to repair.