Welcome to a new semester at Front Range Community College! If you’re a new student, you’re probably experiencing a range of emotions. It’s an exciting (and overwhelming) time, and you want to get off on the right foot. Here are eight tips to help you make the most of your college experience

1. Meet with an academic advisor.

Taking classes aimlessly is far less effective than taking classes with a roadmap in front of you. Meet with an academic advisor once a semester to develop an academic plan that ensures you take the right courses in the right order. Your advisor also can help you understand your transfer options and generally keep you on the right track.

2. Get a career plan.

This goes hand-in-hand with the first point. You will be more efficient and successful in college if you have a game plan, so start exploring your career options now. Develop a career plan, which involves identifying your interests and strengths, researching jobs and job markets, and setting goals to guide you throughout college. The career services staff can help you get started—pay them a visit early in your college career.

3. Manage your time.

There’s nothing like college to make you wish for 36 hours in a day (especially if you work and have a family, too). In my experience, the most successful students are the ones who manage their time effectively. I recently wrote about student planner apps that can help you. However you stay organized, be sure to maintain a calendar that blocks out time for all you need to do as well as a daily to-do list on which you mark off tasks when completed.

4. Seek help and support if you need it.

Like life, college is not without its challenges. There may be times when you need a little assistance, and fortunately, there are all kinds of academic support services available. Ask for help if you need it. FRCC has tutoring services, academic support labs for writing, math, and other subjects, disability services, veteran services, a single parent program, and much more.

5. Seek out a mentor.

If you come across a teacher or other staff member (or even an employer or advisor) who you really enjoy or admire, go out of your way to get to know that person. Having a mentor in college and your early career can be invaluable.

6. Study!

That seems obvious, I know—because it is. To truly gain the most from college, you must put in the work. Attend classes. Take notes. Go to office hours to seek help or clarification on assignments. Do the reading assigned and, of course, do your homework! Ever heard the phrase, “You get what you give?” Keep in mind that if you give something your all, you’re much more likely to see positive results.

7. Build your ‘intangible’ skills.

In today’s highly competitive job market, college graduates must bring more to the table than a degree. Employers seek people with critical thinking skills, creativity, the ability to collaborate with others, and other similar strengths. So, seek out opportunities in college to build those skills. That might mean obtaining an internship, volunteering for an organization whose mission ignites your passion, taking on a leadership position in a student club, or something else entirely. The point is to get out and do something that will help you gain new skills and set yourself apart in the marketplace one day. Here’s one student who has a great story to tell about getting involved and how it has benefited her.

8. Get involved—and have some fun.

While your ultimate goal is probably to earn a degree and launch your career, don’t forget to get involved and enjoy college for the fun and life-changing experience that it is. Students tell me often that some of their most influential college experiences take place outside of the classroom. FRCC has many opportunities for you to pursue your interests and strengths, build your leadership skills, make a difference, and make friends. Check out what Student Life has to offer on your campus.

I wish you the best as you get acclimated to college—and if you ever have an idea or suggestion that might improve the FRCC student experience, I’d love to hear it. Email me or leave a comment below.

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