Jul 302015 0 Responses

7 Keys for Success in College

College is often the most transformational time in a person’s life. The problem is the transformation can be either for the good or the bad. The bad news is that if a student goes to college without any plan or thought in how to maximize the experience, they are left to the whims of fate regarding the effect college will have upon them. The good news is that with just a little thought and a good amount of discipline, the college experience can catapult a young adult toward a life of significance and success.

Here are the 7 keys for success in college:

1. Be intentional: Before a student goes to college they need to decide who they are. Notice the focus is on WHO, not WHAT. College is a great time to seek WHAT a person wants to do in their life. No student should feel ashamed if they go to college not knowing WHAT they want to do. They can try some things, learn about themselves, change majors, and by graduation have an idea of WHAT they want to do. However, college is a dangerous time to figure out WHO someone wants to be. That needs to be decided before matriculation. Determine the character you want to possess, the type of person you want to be, and go to college with an intentional plan of how you can achieve those goals. (See: You Better Make Up Your Mind)

2. Be diligent: Everyone should have fun at college, but the fun should always follow the work. Education is the point of the college experience. While that includes more than just classroom education, students make a great mistake when they place the educational experience behind the social scene. Many students sadly believe the college experience is more about having fun than doing work. When they think that, they are certain to miss the greatest opportunity which college gives—preparation for life.

3. Be wise: Another way to say this is don’t be stupid. College is often defined by foolishness. It shouldn’t be. It’s probable that most college students will make a few stupid decisions during their college years. I often pray for my children, “God, don’t let their stupid mistakes be too costly.” We all make bad choices. However, there can be a self-imposed limit to our stupidity and the more a student focuses on making wise choices, the better off they will be. (See: You Control What Matters Most)

4. Be safe: Don’t be paranoid, but recognize college presents unique dangers. The fall semester of the freshman year is likely one of the most dangerous times of a person’s life. With oversight gone and opportunities overflowing, students must be careful. Be careful in whom you trust, whom you befriend, where you go, and what you do. Realize you aren’t invincible and make good choices regarding your safety and well-being. This is especially true in the contexts of drugs, alcohol, and sex.JBU_WebAd_Career_400x600

5. Be responsible: A successful adult feels a sense of ownership about their life. While they understand many things happen to them beyond their control, they still feel a sense of influence upon their own life because at minimum they control their attitude and actions. This is a marked transition from the typical teenager who feels life is happening to them. A college student should learn to take responsibility for his/her life. Professors do not hand out education, they assist students as the students gain an education. This responsibility flows into every area of life. (See: How to Better Control Yourself)

6. Be kind: College is a difficult time for many people. While it is tempting to focus solely on oneself, it is important to assist other people. Kindness should cause a student to pay attention to fellow classmates who may be struggling or alone. It should cause them to give grace to professors, campus employees, and everyone who is part of the university community. Yet kindness should also cause students to have compassion toward their parents. Most students are excited about the transition to college, but for parents it can be a very difficult time. Kindness toward parents might cause a student to stay in closer contact with family, keep more reasonable hours when staying at home, and be more aware about what their parents may be feeling.

7. Be grateful: Enjoy the season, but understand it is just a season. College is a unique time period in life. At no other point in time will the average person have such freedom and opportunity. While there are plenty of concerns, there are many things for which to be grateful. Gratitude should motivate a student to get everything they can from the college experience without taking any of it for granted. (See: A Simple Way to Better Your Day)

College can be the most memorable season in a person’s life. Unfortunately, many students waste these years because they fail to live by one or all of these keys. However, whenever a student does these seven things, college can propel them toward success.


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