9 secrets to college success

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EXPAND YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK AND SHARPEN SOFT SKILLS

1) Get involved in campus 

Whether it is joining the varsity dance team or being part of the student council, these extra-curricular activities offer a great way to make friends and have fun while learning something new.The need for compromise and teamwork will also help build a network of contacts whom you may need later in life.

And as daunting as it is to take on a leadership role, the challenges presented will sharpen your interpersonal skills, giving you an edge in your future career. 

2) Stay in the dorm

Doing so makes sense if you live far away from campus or if you are looking to gain some independence. More importantly, it provides a unique social experience. 

You will get to meet students of different personalities and from other faculties. Participation in hostel activities can enrich your social life while expanding your network of friends. 

Living on your own for the first time and having a roommate also enable you to build a variety of life skills, such as conflict resolution, decision making and problem solving. 

3) Sign up for orientation camp

A flexible university timetable may not always work in your favour when it comes to making friends. You’ll no longer have a fixed circle of classmates, giving you less room for interaction. 

Attending an orientation camp helps you meet fellow freshmen and seniors who’ll be able to share tips on varsity life and how to score good grades.

Orientation camp also lets you familiarise yourself with the campus, its facilities and the resources available. Above all, it cultivates a sense of belonging and helps you form friendships.

KNOW WHAT YOU’RE IN FOR

4) Know your course curriculum

It pays to familiarise yourself with your course curriculum. After all, you don’t want to unknowingly take a module that doesn’t count toward your degree programme. Also note things like credit requirements, core units and compulsory work attachments.

Or, get help from the university’s academic advisor on your education plan and goals. It’s also good to find out what alternative routes you can take to meet course requirements, if any. For example, would completing an internship during term break go toward course credits?

5) Pick subjects that interest you

Motivate yourself to attend classes by choosing modules that you enjoy learning, and will challenge and intrigue you. 

You’ll also want to pick modules based on your studying style. For instance, you may prefer a lab-based, hands-on module rather than a lecture-style course that requires plenty of research and essay writing.

6) Manage your priorities

Keeping track of assignment deadlines is an excellent start, but carving time from your weekly schedule to keep up with your syllabus is equally important. That means picking your poison and knowing when to say no to social activities. Striking a balance can be tricky, but sorting out your priorities early guarantees less stressful days ahead.

BE PROACTIVE IN YOUR LEARNING

7) Attend career fairs and workshops

Many universities bring in their graduates or experts to talk about career paths, meaning you’ll get to identify what employers look for beyond the basic degree. For instance, are there courses you could take through SkillsFuture to upgrade your skillset? 

Career fairs as well as dialogue and networking sessions are also often your best chance at making yourself known and securing an internship or full-time position.

8) Use student resources

If you feel overwhelmed by your workload, the student affairs office is your go-to stop for advice on assignments. That includes formatting, grammatical and fact-checking tips. 

Student affairs advisors can also direct you to the relevant department for financial aid and offer tips on time management, peer-tutoring groups and the like. 

9) Track your progress

It never hurts to ask, so make the time to have a chat with your lecturer or tutor about your progress as a whole, or for an assignment you aren’t sure about. 

Maintaining good relations with your tutors can also influence your future — because guess who you may need to get a recommendation letter from for your first job or postgraduate degree?

This article is published in the Sept 2017 issue of The First Degree, a publication of TODAY, Mediacorp Press.

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