It’s only September, but the fall semester is in full swing. Mid-terms and finals will be here before you know it. We can’t all be straight-A students, but making an effort to avoid these common college mistakes will probably help you earn pretty decent grades while keeping your sanity.
1. Skipping class.
Missing class when you’re sick is one thing. Missing class because you stayed up late and hit snooze one time too many is another. You’re paying a lot of money to go to college. Do yourself a favor and actually go. You could miss pop quizzes, important information that will be on upcoming exams, and more.
2. Waiting til the last minute.
Procrastination happens to the best of us. Even so, making a habit out of it isn’t a wise decision. Some people claim they work better under pressure, but Psychology Today reports that procrastinating contributes to higher levels of stress. In short, deciding to research and write a 10-page paper the night before it’s due really can drive you crazy. There’s a good possibility your poor grade will make you crazy, too.
3. Saying yes to everything.
Having a social life and participating in extracurricular activities is important. But you’re human. Don’t sign up for 10 clubs, join a fraternity or sorority, and get a part-time job while you’re taking 18 credit hours.
4. Taking “All You Can Eat” literally.
Studies vary as to whether or not the Freshman 15 is actually legitimate – The Huffington Post called it a “lie” in 2013 – but taking full advantage of your meal plan, going out for a second dinner because some friends invited you, eating a bag of Oreos in the middle of the night, and drinking Frappuccinos every morning will affect your waistline.
5. Not asking for help.
If you find something confusing, there’s a good chance someone else feels the same way. Whether it’s a concept in one of your classes or a campus policy you’re not sure about, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Your professors, advisors, and other campus staff members are there because of the students. Let them do their jobs.
According to Inside Higher Ed, more than eighty percent of surveyed students at a public research university in Arizona felt cheating in school is a punishable offense, but two-thirds admitted to doing the deed themselves. “Borrowing” a friend’s old copy of a test or “revising” a term paper you purchased on the Internet is cheating. It can get you kicked out of school. Don’t do it. It’s that simple.
7. Avoiding your professors. You might be too shy to ask “dumb” questions (see number six). You might be embarrassed because you missed a few classes (see number one). Whatever the reason, don’t hide from your instructors. They are the people who determine your grades for the semester, which can literally affect your entire college career.
8. Racking up debt.
Most college students take out loans to go to school. It’s a fact. (The Project on Student Debt found that more than seventy percent of college seniors in the class of 2012 graduated with student loan debt.) The Credit CARD Act of 2009 made it tougher for people under 21 to obtain credit cards, but co-signers can help students open credit cards in their names. Buying things when you don’t have the money can come back to haunt you. You have to repay those student loans once you graduate or leave college, and you have to pay those credit card bills every single month once the account is open.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.