How to Be Successful in College: Advice for College Freshmen and Beyond


The idea of “success in college” is multi-dimensional: there is no need to fixate on just one idea of success. With many angles comes many approaches. But for now, the focus will be on doing well academically and socially. This tends to be a more general approach to success for many people (many also strive to maintain good health in addition to good grades and social life).

It’s no secret that a higher GPA can provide immense help for getting into places later in life, whether it be grad school or your dream career. But a higher GPA is more attainable with having acquaintances and friends in the same classes who you can study with. Anybody currently in high school that is thinking of attending college/university after graduation will want to be thinking about the attributes of undergraduate success sooner rather than later. Some high schools are not the best at helping students prepare, but thankfully there are ways to improve upon these skills independently.

Sometimes it takes time to maintain good grades and sociability, and while in high school, students can always join extra-curricular activities to boost both grades and sociability. Colleges do like to see that students are involved in extracurriculars in high school, because it tells them about yourself outside of tests and grades. You don’t have to be good at talking people to be sociable—the key is having common interests and sharing a desire for success. For those who deal with social anxiety, the first step, in some cases, is to start with working on yourself and then move outward. When you get into a college or university, it only helps to take advantage of college orientation and other freshman social events for networking and getting a head start on the college lifestyle.

While in college, some of the attributes to success include extracurricular involvement in your major/minor department(s) or other extracurricular clubs, groups, or organizations. These kinds of organizations are not always like the kind in High School. Joining fraternities/sororities and honors societies within schools will always help one’s resume/CV—even more so when there are leadership roles or other involvements in extracurricular programs listed. A lot of these involvement skills tend to overlap with future work experiences.

Another way to get involved and make your resume look good is becoming a tutor for specific subjects. For example, many American colleges have established writing centers where students tutor to help other students with their English writing assignments, or just to improve their English writing capabilities.

Lastly, what about international students who want to go to school in America, or American students who wish to go to school internationally? The general idea of getting good grades and maintaining a healthy social life might become more challenging to think about, but solutions exist. Being social in a brand-new environment requires the basics. Even though learning the language and history might benefit you, a lot of times just being kind, considerate, and bonding with common interests is the best starting point for making connections abroad.

When it comes to grades, different countries will have differing education systems, and so that can create barriers when applying to schools. There will often be a requirement for having your diploma and grades converted to its equivalent in the education system of the country you wish to study in. This can be cumbersome and time consuming, but thankfully Scholaro provides credential evaluating services that are fast and easy, along with an online GPA calculator and degree report that students can utilize on their own for converting their international education. Tools such as these can help international students with getting over some of the barriers to entry into college and beyond.

Overall, the most important attribute to success in college is desire. Everything we do in our university years should come from our desire to do great things in life, and a desire to be better people than we could have been before enrolling. The future is yours when you tend well to your present.

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