College advice from the ‘experts’ who’ve been there

Only 60 percent of college freshmen will graduate within 6 years according to the latest report from the National Center for Educational Statistics. That’s pretty scary stuff for college-bound students and their tuition-paying parents — especially if loans are part of the financial formula. 

Even for those students who make it to graduation, there may be some question as to whether they made the most of their time on campus. 

As this Northern Michigan University senior reflects, “There I was, about to graduate with some random degree and feeling like I’d wasted my parents money.”

And from a University of Florida senior: “The problem with college is that you figure it out about the time you’re ready to graduate.” 

Helping college students “figure it out” sooner rather than later is what the latest edition of the awarding-winning “Been There, Should’ve Done That — 995+ Tips for Making the Most of College,” (Front Porch Press) continues to do.  The 4th edition again draws from interviews with seasoned collegians across the U.S. According to author, Suzette Tyler, a former academic adviser at Michigan State University, “their ‘expert’ advice is refreshingly insightful and often more encompassing than might be found in an adviser’s office.”

“I could talk until I was blue in the face about things like time-management and self-discipline,” Tyler explains, “but when a fellow student says, ‘I got great grades and I never missed a party and here’s how to do it,’ it has far more impact.

Here are some tips from ‘the experts’:

• “The first few weeks are great. You’re meeting people, partying ... no tests, no papers. Then ...WHAM! Everything’s due in the same week! If you weren’t hitting the books right along, you’ll spend the rest of the term digging yourself out!” - Senior, University of California, Santa Cruz

• “Gather all the syllabi during the first week of classes and write down the due date for every single paper, project, test or whatever. You’ll see instantly which weeks are potential killers.”  - Junior, Wake Forest

• “Sitting in a classroom is the easiest part of college and it cuts study time in half. Why make it hard on yourself? GO!” - Senior, University of Iowa

• “What separated me from the masses was ‘connecting’ with a faculty member. I didn’t even know what the possibilities were until he laid out a ‘roadmap’ and showed me a few shortcuts to get there. When my confidence was shaky, he reminded me that I could do it.” - Graduate, University of Michigan.

• “Pick the professor, not the time of day.” - Junior, Duke University

• “Get a job in the office of your major. You’ll get to know everyone from the secretaries to the dean, all of whom can be very helpful. If any great opportunities come along, you’ll be the first to know.” - Senior, Indiana University

• “There’s no reason to fail! There are people here to help and it’s free. Actually, you’ve paid for it so you might as well use it.” - Senior, Michigan State University

“The students who make the most of their college experience aren’t necessarily the smartest ones. It’s often the average kids who know how to utilize the system, connect with the professors, take advantage of extracurricular activities, and manage their time well who reap the rewards,” Tyler says. “Been There, Should’ve Done That” can help students get all they can out of the next four years.

Posted on May 30, 2017 .