Common Mistakes Students Make During Their First Semester

Updated
|
Common Mistakes Students Make During Their First Semester
When you first start college you may be overwhelmed by the newness of it. But keep these common mistakes in mind as you go through your first year to make sure that you are properly setup for the rest of your college career and your life thereafter.

College is a time of learning and self-discovery. It is exciting to finally be out in the world on your own – you don’t have to answer to anyone, and you can do whatever you want, more or less. But just because you have more freedom in your life doesn’t mean that you can abuse it. Learn from the example of some college students who didn’t take college quite as seriously as they should have, and now they are paying the price.

Top Academic Mistakes You Want to Avoid

College is where you will learn the information and skills you need to succeed in the “real world” as an adult. You will pick a major and then take all the classes you need to graduate with a degree in that significant, which will (hopefully) get you a job after graduation. Packing your class schedule with all the most challenging classes the school offers is unnecessary – you aren’t trying to impress anyone. But there are some common academic mistakes you want to avoid.

Here are a few of the most common academic mistakes first-year college students make:

Believing that college is just like high school.

In high school, your teachers hold you accountable for doing your classwork and showing up on time. However, once you get to college, it is on you to keep up with your classwork and homework and show up for class. This requires a certain degree of self-discipline, which some first-year students fail to develop – this sets them up for failing grades and lots of headaches.

I was skippingclass too often.

Cutting class in high school doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it could have severe repercussions in college. Many professors include attendance in their grading scale, and you must remember that you still pay for any classes you don’t attend. The cost of missing a single class could be $100 or more, depending on your school.

This video discusses the issue of skipping classes.

They are overloadingtheir class schedule.

Sure, you might have time to take four or five classes a day, but when will you find time to do all that homework? During your first year, you should take it easy on your class schedule (but not TOO easy) while you figure out how much work is required outside of class and how much time you want to leave open for extracurriculars.

It is failing to ask for help.

In college, no one is going to do your work for you. Talk to your professor or teaching assistant if you don’t understand an assignment or need help with the class material! Most professors have office hours where students are allowed to come to talk about the class or their assignments. You can also take advantage of study groups if you need extra help.

Choosinga major based on money.

While choosing your major based on what will get you the highest-paying job may seem like a practical idea, this strategy often doesn’t work out. If you aren’t interested in or passionate about what you are studying, you will only be setting yourself up for a future of disappointment. To a certain degree, there is no harm in being practical, but that practicality shouldn’t come at the expense of your happiness.

Another common mistake many beginning college students make is trying to do it independently. At the same time, you shouldn’t rely on borrowing notes from classmates or hiring someone else to write your papers. Don’t forget that your college offers plenty of resources to help you. Take advantage of the library, student advisor, professors’ office hours, and the college career center.

Avoid These Common Extracurricular Mistakes in College

It would be best to remember that college isn’t all about the classes – it is about the entire experience. For many students, college is the first time they get to live independently and control their daily lives. College is the time to try new things and to make new friends – you can’t do that if you are entirely focused on your classes and classwork. Instead, try to achieve a balance between academics and extracurriculars by avoiding these common mistakes:

Don’t hide out in your dorm room.

While many college students attend the same school as some of their friends or high school classmates, many do not. It can be tempting to hide out in your dorm instead of tackling the challenge of making new friends, but the friends you make in college will likely be your friends for life. Get out there and do something!

This video discusses ten mistakes to be avoided.

I am picking just one extracurricular or sport.

College is a world of new opportunities, so there is no reason why you should only pick one extracurricular activity. Don’t overload yourself because you still need time to do your classwork, but feel free to explore your interests with different clubs, volunteer groups, and sports or intramurals.

I am wasting too much time on social media.

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with your high school friends, but don’t let it keep you from making and spending time with new friends in college. You must also be careful about letting your Facebook time cut into your study time – schoolwork comes first!

This video discusses wasting time on social media.

I was procrastinating on schoolwork.

There is always something happening at college, whether it is a sporting event, a social event, or just a get-together with friends. But don’t let your social life eclipse your academic life too much – you must prioritize school work and enjoy free time as a reward. Get your classwork done on time so you don’t have to do it all at the last minute.

I was partying too hard or too often.

College students are notorious for being party animals, but no rule says you must be irresponsible in college. If you choose to drink, do so safely and don’t drive – you should also make sure that your friends stay safe when they are drinking. Bring a buddy with you if you attend a party or off-campus event.

Putting on the “Freshman 15”.

When you are on your own with the freedom to do whatever you want, it is easy to fall into bad habits – especially regarding food. There is no harm in occasional indulgence, but try to keep your new eating habits in check, and don’t forget to get some exercise!

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do college – it is about your experience. You get out of your college experience what you put into it, so things that work for one student might not necessarily work for you. But, if you want to enter the “real world” fully prepared and ready to go, consider the common mistakes discussed in this article and try to avoid them.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @communitycollegereview

Additional Resources [+]
comments powered by Disqus

Recent Articles

Avoid the 3 Major Pitfalls of the First Year of Community College
Avoid the 3 Major Pitfalls of the First Year of Community College
Learn about how you can avoid the commonly experienced pitfalls students encounter in the first few weeks of community college, and ensure that you do not slip through the cracks.
Is a Community College Bachelor’s Degree a Smart Choice?
Is a Community College Bachelor’s Degree a Smart Choice?
In recent years, community colleges have been granted permission to offer four-year degrees. For some, this represents a great opportunity to get an education at an affordable price. But for others, worry with regard to the quality of these newly established programs is a point of concern.
A to Z of Community College Certificates and Courses
A to Z of Community College Certificates and Courses
From business and healthcare to technology and skilled trades, the article showcases the breadth of options available to students seeking to enhance their knowledge, develop new skills, or pursue career advancement.

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

Student Issues / Attending College

IMPROVING LEARNING
Get helpful tips and expert advice on boosting your GPA. This section will provide valuable tips on studying, mentor programs and how to avoid academic probation. Examine the latest trends in student motivation techniques, take a good look at online learning, and find resources to guide you on the path to success.
Should You Declare Academic Bankruptcy?
Should You Declare Academic Bankruptcy?
The Top 10 Tips for Incoming Community College Students
The Top 10 Tips for Incoming Community College Students
The Pros and Cons of Online Courses
The Pros and Cons of Online Courses
More Articles
Read more articles (32)