Top 5 College Success Factors at UW-Stevens Point
Guest author Jacob Gilarski ’18,
School of Business and Economics Peer Adviser
The life of a college student is not something you are trained for growing up. Some students may not even decide that they want to venture into the college life until after they are out of high school, while others may spend a few of their teenage years preparing as best they can. There is not a whole lot about simply attending high school that prepares you for college. Sure, you can take AP classes and you may get to leave school for lunch, but your parents still get called when you miss class and you still have to ask permission to go to the restroom. Neither of these are true in college and for some, the amount of newfound freedom is more than they know how to handle.
There is no owner’s manual on how to succeed in college. Many things are learned along the way. Students always say if they knew as an incoming freshman all the things they know by their senior year, college would have been a lot easier. I am going to give you the top 5 tips I believe will increase your chances of being a successful college student, especially at UW-Stevens Point.
#1 Go to class
This might come off as a no-brainer, but if you have never attended college before, you will be surprised at how easy it is to want to sleep in and skip classes when you know your parents will never find out and nobody is going to formally reprimand you. Unlike high school, you are not going to get a call home if you are not in class one day. Nor is your professor going to email you and ask why you were not there. Professors realize that you are responsible for doing what is necessary to earn the grade you desire. If you are not in class it will be very hard to get a good grade. Much of what is on exams in college is information discussed in class that you may not always find in the book so skipping class may mean you are missing vital information that will only hurt you in the future.
#2 Get involved
One of the most exciting parts of starting college is getting to make new friends. The best way to do this is to get involved. There are so many opportunities to get involved on a college campus from joining a club, intramural sport, student organization or even volunteering for a cause you believe in. Here at UW-Stevens Point we have an office dedicated to student involvement. This office is known as CASE, which stands for Campus Activities and Student Engagement. This is the place to go to find out about all the ways you can get involved here at UWSP. In the CASE office you will find information about the 213 different student organizations offered at UWSP. Getting involved means meeting new people who share you same interests and passions. These are the people who could become some of your best friends for the next four years. Involving yourself in extracurricular activities can also be something to put on your resume when it comes time to get it ready potential employers.
#3 Balance your life activities
There are many newfound freedoms when attending college and some students may find it hard to balance these freedoms with their responsibilities. What works for some of your friends may not work for you. Know how to motivate yourself and know how big of a workload you can comfortably handle. Many students work outside of class sometimes two or more jobs. There are tons of employment opportunities right here on the UWSP campus which often times offer more flexibility because these jobs realize that your school comes first. Also having a campus job makes it really easy to get to and from work because you are most likely living on campus or within a short distance to the university. Do not try to overwhelm yourself to the point where you are constantly stressed and worrying but also make sure to not spend all your time avoiding your responsibilities. Maybe use the Allen Center or Health Enhancement Center to fit a workout routine into your schedule to help ease the stress. Here you can workout on your own or maybe take one of the several group fitness classes offered. Find a balance between work and fun that works for you and if the balance is off, take the necessary steps to fix it.
#4 Befriend your professors
When I say make friends with professors I don’t mean call them to see how their weekend is going or ask if they want to hangout. I simply mean participate in their class, show you are interested in learning and ask questions when you have them. If you are walking past their office and you see they are in, maybe just stop by and say hello. Make friends with your professors because nobody knows the class you are taking better than the person teaching it. They are willing to provide extra help, but you must ask them for the help you may need. You will find that our professors here at UWSP are very welcoming and friendly people. I have had many positive experiences with professors that I have had classes with and have realized many professors are professors because they enjoy interacting with you the student and helping you learn. Several professors now say hello to me just passing in the halls and one is even trying to make plans with me to have a cookout at their house! Professors remember the students who go the extra step to interact with them inside or outside of the classroom and when it comes time to look for a job, the professors who know you can be great references.
#5 Stay in touch with your family
You may be busy making lots of new friends in college but this does not mean you should forget about your family. Your family are likely the ones who encouraged you and helped you get to where you are today. You do not have to go home every weekend to visit, but make it a point to stay in contact with them. With all the technology available today this is very easy. Send them a text, write a letter or even Skype them if you are far from home. Nobody knows you better than your family and you may have times where you feel overwhelmed and their support can make a world of difference. Remind them that they are appreciated and they will be there when you may need them.