Strategies for Success in College

As it relates to the pursuit of education, the Lord blessed me to achieve my ultimate goal. I have successfully earned two graduate degrees. I must admit, however, that when I look back at my undergraduate college experience, I could have done much better academically. My inability to effectively handle the pressures and distractions of college life caused my grades to suffer. I can remember one occasion when my poor class attendance landed me in an uncomfortable situation to say the least. You see, on the day I decided to force myself to go to my journalism class, there was an exam! I had no idea. I hadn’t studied so I just sat there paralyzed in my seat. After a couple of minutes, I became focused enough to start praying that God would help me get through the test! As I look back, that prayer was not offered in the right spirit. I had not done my part, but I expected God to come to the rescue.

Being a college student is a great privilege and blessing from God. Because it is a blessing, the opportunity to go to college should be treated with respect. Of course, there will be times when you fall short—we all do. The majority of the time, however, your actions should honor the commitment you made when you enrolled. There are a staggering number of students who enroll in college, but they never complete their degrees. Understanding what to do and who to reach out to when you find yourself in a bind in college could be the determining factor in your success or failure. There are a ton of academic, financial and counseling resources available to students. In most cases, you have already paid for access to these services through your tuition and fees. Never be afraid or ashamed to reach out to someone for help.

Another important factor leading to college success is to surround yourself with the right people. During my undergraduate days, I can remember a group of students who spent significant time together and did everything but study and go to class. It didn’t take long before all of them flunked out and were sent back home. Of course, they regretted their actions after they were back in their hometown, but it was too late.

Try to spend time with people who have a spiritual foundation. During my time as a college student, administrator and professor, I have seen many situations where a person comes to college as a freshman with a certain demeanor and personality, but within months the negative influence of their peer group causes them to become somebody totally different. Negativity can derail your success. Seek out positive people who will have a positive influence on you. At many colleges, there are campus ministries that exist to help spiritually-minded students connect with each other. Your student activities adviser should be able to help you find the right organization. When I was in college, I can remember riding to church with friends and building strong relationships with good people. In graduate school, I continued to build relationships and actually had the opportunity to start teaching bible class. Those experiences enhanced my spirituality, which eventually has led to the creation of this website. My point is that surrounding yourself with positive people will help you keep your priorities straight and will guide you to success in your college experience and beyond.

It’s time to turn over a new leaf. Treat your college experience with respect, seek help when you need it and surround yourself with good people. Your success depends on it.