In my first post, I told you guys my background and how I was homeschooled up until the tenth grade, when I was able to enter this program called the Early College Alliance. If you read my post, you’d know that the program allowed me to earn 32 free college credits. No, this wasn’t dual-enrollment. I was at the university itself, taking real college classes, with real college students. In fact, if I hadn’t told them that I was 15, they would’ve seen me as a normal college student (when I actually did tell them, and they became aware that I was saving thousands upon thousands of dollars while they weren’t, the look on their face was pretty funny).
So, what am I here to talk about this time?
Simple. What does it take to be successful in college? Do you have a student who’s looking to get into college early, like I did? Here are three simple steps to being successful in college, no matter the age/grade level.
Step #1: Follow Instructions
College is all about following instructions. Professor gives assignment, students complete assignment. Professor gives a test, students complete the test. That’s really all there is to it. As long as you can follow instructions, and meet deadlines (which I’ll talk about in #2), college will be easier than you think.
Step #2: Learn to Master Time Management
This was the #1 problem when I started the Early College Alliance. The way my homeschool structure was set up, I would receive the work a week ahead, and I just have to complete the work within the week. No strict deadlines, I’m just expected to get the work done.
When I entered school, I choked. I couldn’t figure out time management, because now I have all these deadlines that I’m not used to meeting. After the first five weeks of the 15-week semester, all of the program’s staff met and discussed the progress of each student. Many were saying that I obviously didn’t have any kind of structure when I was homeschooled, because, honestly, I struggled. I wasn’t getting the kind of grades that I used to, everything was pretty much a mess.
After those first five weeks, though, I started to get better, and better. Nobody thought that I’d be able to make it into college at the end of the semester, but I did. I was able to pull myself together, get my grades up, learn how to succeed in the new environment that I was thrown into.
Moral of the story: time management can be a big problem for college students. When you enter college, you’re free from your parents (for the most part), the government isn’t going to chase you down if you miss class, and you feel like you can do anything. That freedom can choke you, or it can lead to success. Only you can decide which path you’re going to take.
Step #3: Don’t Get in Trouble/Don’t be Stupid
I was talking to a friend of mine recently, and explained to him what it takes to succeed in college. I told him that the biggest thing was to just follow instructions. He said, “okay, I’ve got it. Follow orders… and don’t be stupid”.
And he’s right! College students often use their freedom to get into trouble and act stupid, frankly. There’s a reason college students are referred to as “kids” when, age-wise, they’re not kids. They’re full-blown adults. Why then are they called kids? Because they generally act like kids. College is usually viewed as a place for partying, procrastination, and doing as little as possible in order to pass.
Don’t choke on the freedom. Stay out of trouble, and the likeliness of you succeeding in college goes up dramatically.
To recap, it doesn’t take a genius to enter college early. If you follow these three easy steps, you’ll be able to succeed and gain a step above your peers. Find your weakness, adapt and get better at your weakness, and you’ll be good to go.