How to Survive College. You've graduated from high school and now are ready for college. Or maybe you are going back to school later in life to further your education by getting that college degree. That first year can be a difficult adjustment. There are many temptations you've never come across, and you may find yourself wondering how you're going to survive the next few years. Here is how.

Pay attention in class. Professors are going to treat you like an adult in college. You're responsible for handing in papers, taking notes and showing up for class. If you don't do these things, you only have yourself to blame. It's easy enough certain days to skip class, but don't let that become a habit.

Find a specific place to study. This can help condition your brain into thinking that this is your time to focus and concentrate on the study material. This can be a room at the library or a place in your room, but try to make it a place where all you do is study. Have study materials handy, and suitable lighting and comfortable seating available.

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Become organized. This is important to learn how to survive those college years. Buy an organizer, a calendar, a PDA or whatever other kind of organizational device you need to keep your classes, assignments and exams up-to-date. Most professors post their entire class schedule at the beginning of the term, so it's easy to be prepared.

Develop boundaries with your roommate, if you have one. By all means, become best friends with your roommate if you feel a close kinship. But if your roommate is more a requirement than a lifelong friend, putting together a few rules can help you both enjoy your college time better.

Choose your friends wisely. It might be tempting to be best buddies with the person who sleeps late, knows how to party and doesn't attend class. But that person won't help you pass your classes and graduate. That's not to say you can't have fun--just balance your study and class time with your carefree time.

Speak with professors and students in your class. You can only benefit from speaking with your professor outside of class, especially if you come across problems or concerns late into the class. Your professor has office hours for the specific purpose of meeting with students like you. Also, meeting students in your class can help if you have questions about assignments, don't understand material or need a study buddy. They can also help out if you miss a class or two.

Be prepared to be overwhelmed. It's natural to feel confused, frustrated, homesick and unprepared. Know that you're not alone in these feelings. Talk to your parents, peers or counselors about problems that concern you.


  • Give yourself a 10-minute break for every hour of studying you do. This can give your brain a chance to rest and become refreshed.
  • Remember that all your high school exploits, honors and recognitions don't mean a thing in college. You start with a clean slate. Use that to your advantage, whether it's to prove to yourself and others that you've changed your ways for the better or can reach those high expectations you previously met.


  • According to American College Testing, one in four students leaves before completing their freshman year. Don't let yourself become one of the 25 percent who fails to survive that freshman year.
  • Don't procrastinate or cram when it comes to studying for exams. Give yourself deadlines to work for, as waiting until the last minute won't benefit you in college. You might have gotten away with it in high school, but course material is harder and covered faster in college.

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