Want to transition from high school without falling on your face? Check out these college success strategies!

When people talk about college being the best four (or five, or six) years of their life, they usually are forgetting the not-so fun parts, like time management and hours spent in the library. College is a big adjustment for everyone, and most students find that their classes are much more difficult than those in high school. The coveted independence that comes with college means that students are suddenly completely responsible for their own successes and failures.

Luckily, there are some college survival skills that – along with hard work and dedication – can help you avoid the awkward adjustment period and experience college success from your first semester to your walk across the stage at graduation.

College Success Skill #1: Time Management

Skills for success in college

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Most high schools provide very structured schedules and if you did any extracurricular activities, you were on a schedule after school, too. College comes with free time galore, but it can come at a cost.

If you don’t use your time wisely, you’ll sleep less, study poorly, and not have time for everything else you want to do. People often joke that college consists of good grades, sleep, and a social life, but you only get to pick two. The truth is that if you manage your time well, you can have all three. Start by planning your day-to-day obligations and your week-to-week obligations, too.

Find out what organization system works best for you, whether that’s buying a planner, using your phone’s calendar, or putting sticky notes everywhere. Don’t plan for every minute – college is supposed to be fun, too – so plan for interruptions. While you might still end up pulling a few all-nighters, learning to manage your time will help you set positive habits for the rest of your life.

College Success Skill #2: Stress Management

While all seasons of life have the potential for high stress, college can be an extra stressful time. Living on your own for the first time plus navigating new friendships and relationships while trying to make good grades can be a perfect storm for anxiety and stress. Take advantage of the resources available to you on campus.

Most colleges have health centers on campus which include access to mental healthcare. Attending stress management workshops, visiting a counselor of doctor, or even just checking out your school’s mental health website for tips are great ways to effectively handle stress. There are also lots of scientifically proven ways to reduce stress, from exercising to laughing to eating healthy.

Learning to deal with stress is an essential skill for success in college – and life – and the earlier you start handling stress, the better.

Skills for success in college#College Success Skill #4: Studying Well

While you might spend less time in class than you did in high school, you’ll need to spend more time outside of the classroom studying to master the material. Studying well goes along with time management.

It’s important to learn along the way, rather than waiting until the last minute to learn all the information. Study “techniques” like cramming and multitasking are actually proven to be less effective and lead to poor health and potentially worse grades.

While they might have worked in high school, it just won’t cut it in college. You often will have fewer tests and grade opportunities, making each of your assignments even more valuable.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. It’s normal your first semester or even first year to struggle a bit as you’re adjusting to a different level of work.

College Success Skill #4: Rest

While college students are known for either oversleeping or barely sleeping, resting well is a key skill for success in college. Not only should you aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night, it’s also important to practice self-care and make time for activities throughout the week that you enjoy and that relax you.

Learning to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally is an incredible life skill that will help reduce stress and keep you healthier and happier.

By following these college success tips and working hard, you will find your path to success in college.

Does the thought of even picking a college overwhelm you? Check out this guide to applying for college!

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