The 5 most common first-year student mistakes

You've heard of that weight-gain hazard called the Freshman 15? Well, this is the Freshman 5 — the five most common mistakes first-year students make.

The 5 most common first-year student mistakes

1. Assuming college is an extension of high school

  • Many students aren't prepared for the quantity and complexity of college work. They rely on their high school study habits to get by.
  • A good rule of thumb: spend twice as much time studying for a course each day as you spend in that class.
  • If you need help with study skills, contact your university's academic support office right away. Don't wait until you're in the middle of mid-terms.

2. Not using that day planner

  • Lack of time management skills has to be the biggest contributor to failure.
  • Go through your course outlines and map out the commitments in a day planner.
  • Include papers and tests and pay attention to the marks allocation. Block out the time needed to meet those commitments.

3. Trying to save money by not buying books

  • Do you have any idea how much reading is required in university? If you think you're going to check out the book from the library and save a few bucks, think again.
  • You'll quickly fall behind on your reading assignments and your grades will suffer.
  • Instead, search out bargains online and from students who already took the class.

4. Skipping classes

  • The single most important thing you can do to ensure success at university is attend classes faithfully.
  • Think this sounds obvious? Consider that roughly 80 percent of all students skip one class or more a week. Every missed class is a chance to miss something important.

5. Over-socializing or isolating yourself

  • If your calendar holds more party dates than class dates, you're overdoing it. But, if you're spending your Saturday nights in the library, you're under-doing your social life.
  • You can't have the ultimate college experience if you never get out of your room.
  • Find activities you enjoy beyond schoolwork — just keep it all in perspective.

College or university is stressful and exciting all at the same time, so it's important that you don't lose your head. Remember what you're spending all that tuition money for, but make sure you don't lose perspective either.

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