Most college students have reached the age of adulthood, but the transition from child to adult isn't always simple. Going from the structured environment of high school and living with your parents to the freedom of being away at college can be a daunting event for many students. The key to success in college is to set achievable, realistic goals. Allow yourself to have some fun but don't forget what you're there for. Setting goals will help keep you on track and prevent the stress created by not having a clear direction.

Evaluate Your Reason for College

Steve Pavlina, author of "Personal Development for Smart People," recommends spending time figuring out why you're going to college. Some people go because that's what's expected of them by peers and family. Others may have a specific career path that requires a college degree. Even if you're an honors student in high school, you should perform this exercise to determine how to proceed with your goal setting. Having a clear point and reason for attending college will help keep you on track for success.

Make a Chart

The Time Thoughts Web site recommends making a time chart to help set your goals. With your free time between classes, you need a method to manage your down time with classroom time. Chart the times when you are the most mentally alert so you can use that time for study and project completion. The times when your mind needs more rest are ideal for recreational activities, social events, fitness and sports.

Document Time Wasters

Most successful students know the activities that rob them of precious time, and they've learned to work around them. Document what you do throughout the day, and you're likely to see a pattern of activities that don't lead to your goals. Typical time wasters may be checking email, social networking, playing video games, talking on the telephone and text messaging. You don't have to give up all of those things. Know what they are and exercise them during a block of time when you don't need to be as productive.

Visual Imaging

As you plan for college, do some visual imaging and mentally take yourself to where you want to be when you're finished, advises Steve Pavlina. As you see yourself going through the college experience in your mind, jot down some of the details. Incorporate a balance of attending class, studying, socializing and participating in activities to have the full college experience in your visual imaging. Include the obstacles you expect to face and imagine getting past them so you can reach your goal. Doing this exercise programs your mind for success in college.

Set Priorities

One of the biggest stress inducers is procrastination, claims the Effective Time Management Strategies Web site. Whether you're wasting time or putting off something because you don't enjoy doing it, you'll still wind up feeling stressed when you have to complete a task or cram for an exam at the last minute. Use a planner and enter the dates and times projects are due, as well as exams and anything else that is essential for you to succeed in college. Divide your tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. If you study for an hour each day, you may be able to avoid the stress of having to stay up all night before an exam.

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About the Author

Debby Mayne started writing professionally in 1992. Her work has appeared in regional parenting magazines and she has been managing editor of the magazine, "Coping with Cancer." She was also fashion product information writer for HSN. During college, Mayne worked as an instructor at a fitness center. She holds a Bachelor of Science in health, PE and recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi.