You’ve been accepted, transferred your credits, and enrolled. So right about now you may be thinking there’s not much more to do before your first class starts.
But there is.
One of the keys to success as a student is understanding that school starts well before the first day of class. Here are some things you can work on between now and then that will help prepare you to get the most from your education.
IDENTIFY YOUR LIFE GOALS AND PRIORITIES.
Let your values lead you. In order to get the most
out of your school experience, step back and think about what it’s
all for. Ask yourself: What are your personal values, core beliefs,
and standards? How do you derive happiness and meaning from
Find a dream job that’s right for you. If you’re
undecided on a career path, imagine a dream job in the context of
your values, beliefs and standards. Once you’ve identified your
dream job or industry, then find out what working in that position
or company really entails.
Does your perception = reality? Do your homework to
find out if your perception of a job or career matches reality. Job
shadow or set up an informational interview. Ask about things like
work conditions, schedules, pay, and the risks and rewards of the
job. You can use that information to make a well-informed decision
about whether a particular job or career path is right for
Do a deeper dive. Spend some time doing research.
What’s the long-term outlook for jobs in your career field? What are
the requirements for specific jobs?
MAKE AN EDUCATIONAL PLAN.
What are the requirements? When you feel confident
about your ultimate career goal, think about exactly what kind of
education you’ll need to achieve it, and how those requirements
match up with your strongest skills and talents. This will help you
identify weaknesses and skills gaps, and keep you academically
focused on the things that are key to your success.
MANAGE YOUR TIME AND MONEY.
Put first things first. Whether in your personal or
school life, being able to prioritize will save you time, money, and
a lot of stress. Learn to discern between need and want, and let
your goals lead you. For example, you might really want those $150
shoes, but in the bigger picture of things, it might be more
important to put that money towards tuition.
Make a list. Really. You probably juggle a lot of
things every day, but writing tasks down will help bring the things
that are really important clearly into focus. And that will help you
make the most of your time.
Actively manage your money. Adding school life into
an already busy schedule can make staying on top of your finances
even more challenging. But you can minimize stress and potential
setbacks while you’re in school (and long after you graduate) by
doing a few key things: make a budget and stick to it; make time to
balance your checkbook; and mind those credit card balances.
TAKE CARE OF YOU.
Make yourself a priority. Life is demanding enough,
and now you’re adding school into the mix. Embrace the truth that
you really can’t do it all, at least not all at once. As you
prioritize the most important things in your life, don’t forget to
include making time for yourself. Whether that means working out,
going to church, spending time with family, or scheduling an empty
afternoon – you’ll be happier, healthier, and ultimately more
successful if you do.
Go with your flow. When are you most productive?
Are you a morning person, or do you kick into high gear after
midnight? Everyone has their own rhythm and specific periods of peak
productivity. Recognize when you’re at your best, and take advantage
of that time.
Stick to the basics. Take the advice you’d give
your friends and loved ones: eat well and get plenty of sleep. It’ll
make everything else seem easier.
ASK FOR HELP.
Get expert advice. You may be fiercely independent
or used to other people coming to you for help. When you’re a
student, however, it’s important to take advantage of the guidance
that’s available to you, right at your school. From financial aid
and admissions to course planning and career development, your
school will have specialized staff to help you navigate each part of
the student experience.
Things you might not expect. In addition to the
more straightforward questions and issues, your school will have
advisors on hand to help you with things like what to do if you need
to move, how to find a part-time job, internship programs, study
abroad opportunities, and ways to graduate early.
While some of these to-dos may seem obvious, they are often the easiest to overlook. To set yourself up for the greatest success as a student and beyond, spend some time with these exercises – most of which can be done from the comfort of your own couch.
Do you dream of finishing your education? Learn how Strayer University’s support services can help you get there.