BMH Blog

Tips for surviving & thriving at college

Success in high school doesn’t necessarily mean success in college. Everyone starts college with a clean academic slate, the decisions you make and the actions you take as a first year over the coming months will largely influence the remainder of your college experience.

Here are some tips and strategies for surviving college… in the beginning and in the long term.

1 Attend Orientation

It’s only normal to want to spend the last few days of holidays chilling with friends or watching series, BUT the sooner you get familiar with campus and the system, the better prepared you’ll be for any future issues.


2 Get Organised 

This is not high school, there are no teachers checking in on your progress. Lecturers expect you to take responsibility for noting what needs to be done and by when. Buy a diary, download an app, do whatever it takes to keep yourself on track with classes, assignments and exams.


3 Go. To. Class!

The struggle to get up for your Monday 8am lecture on a cloudy day can be very real. There is no roll call for class attendance, it’s up to you to practice self-discipline and attend your lectures. Besides learning about the particular subject in question, you’ll also get info from the lecturers such as insights not available in the textbooks, change in due dates, etc


4 Become An Expert In Course Requirements & Due Dates

It goes without saying that lecturers won’t easily give you the benefit of the doubt if you miss a due date for an assignment. Besides that, your student rulebook also provides important course-related information such as requirements for successfully completing modules, policy & procedure for appeals, etc


5 Take Advantage Of Resources On Campus

Every lecturer has scheduled consultation hours for the sole purpose of meeting with their students – introduce yourself and take advantage of this resource if you’re struggling with a course or concept.


6 Find A Balance

College life is as much about the social side as it is about academics. What’s important is to find a healthy balance. This can be challenging for some people and can lead to burn-out on the one hand, or dropping out on the other.


7 Strive For Success

Few students breeze through college – the increased workload and degree of difficulty are often equalizers on the academic playing field. You will need to be disciplined and work hard in order to earn good grades at college level, this may mean having to set realistic goals and putting in extra time and effort in order to achieve them.


8 Do Not Procrastinate

This is not high school where you could get away with leaving your homework until the last minute, and still somehow achieve decent grades. Being a college student requires discipline and commitment. Set up and stick to a study programme, take note of all your submission and assessment dates, calculate your deadlines, and stick to them.


9 Keep Healthy & Eat Right

A common cause for college students falling behind can be traced back to illness, resulting in a knock-on effect of under preparedness for assessments, and courses having to be deferred. Make sure you get enough rest, exercise and eat healthy!


10 Make Connections

It isn’t always easy but during the first few weeks of class, try making at least one new connection or friend around campus. This will increase the size of your network while establishing a valuable resource should you ever not make it to class (for legit reasons, of course).


11 Learn To Cope With Homesickness

For those of you leaving home to attend college in a different city or province. It’s only natural that you’ll miss home or your family. Find healthy ways of coping with these feelings: set a regular time for phoning home; look into getting Skype or Facetime; email your loved ones or even try writing a letter and sending it via post. With the type of technology at our disposal these days, fighting the homesickness blues is a mere click away.


12 Ask For Help

Whether you’re homesick, depressed, feeling isolated, or struggling with your course work, please ask for help! Speak to a lecturer or branch manager – they will help you or guide you in the right direction.



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