College students — Tips for going back to school

It is time, yet again, to gear up for classes. As you head back to college, you may feel like you need a refresher course and some tips in studying and university life. Maybe you are even worrying about selecting a major.

There are many helpful tips that will make college a bit easier for you. (Credit: Ella Brittingham)

There are many helpful tips that will make college a bit easier for you. (Credit: Ella Brittingham)

Whatever your concerns or needs are as you head back to campus, there is a back-to-school guide out there that can help. Here are some consolidated tips for going back to school—prepared!—for college students.

Back to school basic tips

Looking for a refresher on the main tips for going back to college? College students looking to create a game plan for their four years should consider the points offered in “Student Tips – How To Prepare for Going Back to School,” posted on the website for the Office of Distance Education & eLearning at The Ohio State University.

  • Take inventory. What skills and knowledge do you already possess that you can build on? What areas do you need the most work on?
  • Determine your goals. What do you hope to accomplish during college? What degree will help you get the career you want?
  • Chart your course. Once you know what you want, figure out which classes/programs will help you accomplish your goal(s).
  • Outline your academic plan. Talk to your advisor and share the path you have created. See if they have any suggestions or ideas.
  • Set realistic goals. Learn to prioritize your goals. Your course work will (and should) take precedent over other activities.

These tips can also be used later in life—for getting the job you want or a promotion. They are adaptable to whatever situation you may face.

Transitioning from summertime

You have a plan for college … a plan for your life … you are set, right? Sure, setting some goals down is a great way to start, but no back to school guide would be complete without some down-to-earth, practical tips for returning to your school-time routine. offered some tips in “Readjusting to College Life — 3 Tips for Upperclassman” posted August 22, 2010.

The first suggestion: “The best way to avoid the shock of going to bed and getting up early that first week back is to gradually adjust your sleep schedule now. Each night, make a conscious effort to go to bed a little earlier, even just half an hour a night, until you’re going to bed at the time you’ll need to once school hits.” The blog also recommends starting to read again, no matter what the material, to help you recapture some focus, speed and comprehension before you get hit with your course load. These two small changes will make the transition back to campus a little less painful.

Thinking past college

While most college students definitely need some tips for going back to school, probably ALL need some advice on picking the best major. “Tips to Help Students Choose the Right Major” for the August 3, 2014, issue of the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) offered some insight that should help:

  • Don’t jump into it. “Some students might want to pick a major before they ever step foot on campus. While that strategy might work for some, it should only be employed by those students who are wholly certain a major is for them.”
  • Don’t procrastinate. There’s a fine line between deciding on your major too soon and waiting too long. Hit that sweet spot so you don’t end up having to pay for courses you don’t need. Talk to your advisor about the best timeframe for deciding.
  • Use your college’s resources. Not certain what you want to do? Talk to your school’s career development office, they have assessment tools that can help set you on the right path for a major and a career.
  • Know the requirements. If you do have a career in mind, make sure you know what you need to graduate with the right degree. Some programs are easy to navigate, but others are more complicated and you don’t want one missed class to throw you off track.

Want to learn more about higher and adult education? Check out Questia—particularly the sections on curriculum and instruction and goal-setting and student performance

How do you prepare for going back to college? Share your tips for going back to school with other college students in the comments.

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