August, 2017

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Whether you are headed to campus for the first time or going back for the final year, college can seem overwhelming. We reached out to student success thought leaders from Minnesota’s Private Colleges to gather advice for students headed to campus this fall. Here are some tips to help students take advantage of all that college has to offer.

1. Be okay making mistakes

Mistakes can be the foundation to long lasting, transformative learning. Take time to figure out what led to those mistakes and learn from them. If the causes are unclear, ask for help. Each mistake is a learning opportunity — capitalize on it.

2. Be open to new ideas

Be challenged and energized by things you haven’t thought about before. Understanding things in new ways will help you grow and develop your own identity. Take your time and be patient when fleshing out new ideas; find the answer that’s right for you.

3. Make time for reflection

Reflection is one of the keys to growth. Reflect on why you got the grade you did, ask questions of your self — be honest. Think about what has made you happy and successful and then replicate it. Identify weaknesses that you’d like to eliminate and make that a priority. Set a specific time when you look back on the week and honor that time.

4. Make connections outside the classroom

Although the classroom is extremely important, most of your time will be spent outside of class so use this time to make lasting relationships. Connecting with peers, professors, coaches and advisors will be time well spent. These relationships will last longer than you might imagine — make these relationships a priority.

5. Find a mentor

Be deliberate in creating a mentor-mentee relationship. Find someone with whom you connect and ask them to be your mentor. The truth and candor that comes from this type of relationship can be life-changing. These relationships often last beyond college and can help you transition into the working world. Lean on these mentors and leverage their experience.

6. Get involved with an on-campus organization

Connect with students and faculty who have similar interests as you. Those interests may be something you’ve been doing for years or something you’ve just discovered. The first few meetings may feel forced or awkward, but this will pass. Engage on a deeper level — and consider volunteering for leadership positions.

Check out some more advice for new and returning students that includes quotes from student success professionals.

By Tom Lancaster