College is very challenging and at the same time very rewarding. You need to take your time in college seriously, so that you can create a functional and fulfilling college experience.
Here are five tips for getting the most out of your college experience:
1. Don’t take classes that you don’t plan on attending, unless of course you need a break in your schedule.
If, at the time you choose your schedule, you have no interest whatsoever in taking a particular course, then don’t enroll. The more disinterested you are in a subject, the worse your performance in the class will be. If you don’t see yourself ever attending lecture, then don’t sign up. If, however, you need a break in your schedule, then by all means find a light course that doesn’t require a lot of work or attention.
2. Study abroad.
Studying abroad is one of the coolest experiences in life, in or out of college. Expose yourself to new things. Learn while in a foreign environment. Develop your language skills, immerse yourself in another culture and explore. It’s so worth it.
3. Make up your own course at least once
Are you dying to do your own research? Are you just tired of the courses that are being offered? Well then find a faculty advisor, and make up your own class. Draw up your curriculum. Create your own research topic, approve your research materials and get credit to follow your interests all by yourself. Outside of a few office meetings with your advisor, you won’t have to go to class at all. No midterms or no finals here, only individual research approved by a professor that likes you.
4. Write a thesis
Many colleges make writing a thesis optional. Instead of producing a thesis on your own, you can take a couple extra classes or enroll in a highly focused, writing-intensive research course. Forget that stuff. Writing a thesis is not easy, but it is personally rewarding. You get to wrestle with your own custom topic for months, and in the end, you have a large research product that you can be proud of.
5. Take advantage of office hours
Get to know your professors. Ask them questions. Display genuine interest and heartfelt curiosity, and you will get better grades. If there is ever drama that you need to deal with, you’ll have a channel of communication already open. While other kids are asking Professor Last Name what they can do about their late paper, you’ll already have talked to first-name-basis pal and explained your situation ahead of time. If you can’t stand your TA’s, then bypass them, and forge a lasting relationship with your professors.
No two college experiences are ever the same. Everyone’s university experience is flavored by the relative qualities of the institution they are studying at. Locations, atmospheres, curriculum, students, faculty members and so on, are different everywhere. There are, however, a few experiences that are commonly found in most universities. These experiences must be enjoyed while you’re still in college. So take only classes that interest you, unless you plan on not caring about a particular course. Study abroad, write a thesis and make up your own curriculum. Befriend your professors and you will have an easier time succeeding in college.
Chris Stout is a frequent contributor to CareersandEducation.com Chris Stout is a feature writer that covers topics relating to MBA Programs and online colleges .