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College Success: The Definitive Guide

No doubt, college is a formative time for all of us, regardless of when or where you’re attending school.

But, it’s also a big opportunity to set yourself up for success in life after graduation.

The problem is, more often than not, it doesn’t exactly turn out that way.

This guide will walk you through exactly how to avoid the most common student pitfalls, and make the most of your classes, job prospects, and overall college experience.



Success in College: A Skill to Be Learned

For a lot of students, college becomes a slog: another task on the todo list while simply going through the motions for those two, four, or even six years of your life. And even for those who do manage to get value out of their college experience, it’s often at the expense of something else: a tradeoff between academics, fun, and well-being. But here’s the deal:

What most entering students unfortunately don’t realize is that college success is a topic to be learned in and of itself.

Getting a degree can be valuable.

Bachelor’s degree holders make almost double that of those with only a high school diploma, accounting for $1.6 million in earnings over a lifetime.

Source: University of Washington: What is a college education worth?

But there’s no denying: college is expensive.

The average 2016 graduate will leave college with over $37,000 in student loan debt.

Source: Student Loan Debt Statistics 2016

Yes, there are academic success and advising programs at virtually all schools, and some even require enrollment in a “University 101” type course. But with the cost of college higher than ever, and when successful completion of a degree in a field you’re passionate about has such a big impact on the rest of your life (financial or otherwise), this isn’t something that should be left to a one-off orientation, course, or worst (and most common), chance. The truth is this:

College can be tough, but when you master the skill-set required for success in college you’ll end up with a better education, a better GPA, and better job opportunities when you graduate – all with more fun and less stress.

Introducing The Definitive Guide to the

Web’s Best College Success Resources

From choosing classes, taking notes, and studying for exams, to motivation, fun, and dream jobs, this guide has you covered.


Chapter 1

How To Get Organized and Plan for the Perfect Major, Classes, and GPA

Whether you’re studying engineering or underwater basket-weaving, the first stop for any aspiring college student is putting together a plan. Going in with a strategy and staying organized throughout the semester can mean the difference between struggling to pass and setting the curve. Here you’ll learn how to choose a major, pick the right classes, get organized, and plan for a top-tier GPA.

  • The Student’s Guide to Choosing A Major
  • The Roberts Method: A Professor’s Advice for Falling in Love With Your Major
  • How to Register for College Classes
  • The Freshman Guide to Picking Classes Like a Pro
  • Starting a New Semester: How to Get Organized and Maintain Long-Term Motivation
  • 45 Tips for Staying Organized in College
  • How I Use My Calendar Efficiently
  • The Ultimate Guide to Kicking Ass Next Semester
  • How to Get Good Grades


Chapter 2

Time Management 101: How to Be Super Productive

Getting more done in less time is the dream of many a college student. It’s also one of the fundamental building blocks of college success. Below you’ll learn how to stop dreaming, and start doing. From effectively managing where your time goes, to using science-backed principles to beat procrastination and improve your productivity as a student, these resources will get you there.

  • How to Manage Your Time Better
  • The 168-Hour Exercise
  • The Science of Productivity
  • 50 Productivity Hacks to Help You Get More Done
  • My Algorithm for Beating Procrastination
  • 7 Reasons You Won’t Start Studying Until It’s Too Late, And What To Do About It
  • How to Actually Stop Wasting Time on the Internet


Chapter 3

Note-Taking Fundamentals: How to Take Amazing Notes

Love ’em or hate ’em, a good set of notes can make or break your study sessions and help you get the most out of class. Here you’ll not only learn how to take world-class notes from lectures, textbooks, and everything in-between, but also how to choose the note-taking method that best fits your personality and course content.

  • How to Take Great Notes
  • How to Take Notes in Class: The 5 Best Systems
  • The Cornell Note-Taking System
  • Back to Basics: Perfect Your Note-Taking Techniques
  • 6 Ways You Can Use Evernote to Dominate Your Classes


Chapter 4

Effective Studying: How to Make It Stick

Time to rid the “I thought I knew it until I got to the test” phenomenon from your vocabulary, and learn how to study so that the material actually stays with you. These resources will take you through research-backed learning strategies you can use to maximize the value of your study sessions.

  • The 9 BEST Scientific Study Tips
  • Study Less Study Smart
  • The Straight-A Method: How to Ace College Courses
  • Re-reading Is Inefficient: Here Are 8 Tips for Studying Smarter
  • Active Recall: How to Not Blank on Exam Problems
  • Virginia Tech’s Study Environment Analysis Tool


Chapter 5

How to Ace Your Exams

While many argue that tests will never represent what you’ve truly learned about a subject, the reality is, exams matter in college – like, a lot. Here you’ll learn how to transition your standard study sessions into curve-busting exam preparation, while keeping the dreaded test anxiety at bay.

  • How to Prepare for Exams Like A Pro: The Exam Prep Cycle
  • Ace Your Next Exam: 10 Revision and Test-Taking Tips
  • 7 Tips To Beat Exam Anxiety
  • How to Prepare for Finals in College
  • How To Handle Finals Week: My Secret Formula


Chapter 6

How to Thrive in College: Stress, Sleep, and Overall Health

The archetype of the stressed-out, sleep-deprived college student is so common it shows up in movies, TV, and books, and is for the most part assumed as an inseparable part of college life. But in stark contrast to the portrayed harmlessness of the “tired student” image, we continually hear about the devastating effects burnout, depression, and lack of sleep can have not only on your grades, but also on your overall health and well-being. Below is a set of resources that will guide you through how to manage stress, get better sleep, and keep your body and mind in top shape so that you can keep up your grades, friends, and your sanity.

  • How Stress Affects Your Body
  • University of Michigan: Managing Stress During College
  • How to Make Stress Your Friend
  • College Students: Getting Enough Sleep is Vital to Academic Success
  • How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?
  • How To Get Better Sleep
  • How to Get to Bed on Time and Stop Losing Sleep
  • Run, Jump, Learn! How Exercise Can Transform Our Schools
  • Finding Time And Motivation To Exercise In College
  • The Scientific Power of Meditation


Chapter 7

How to Stay Motivated

Follow the steps in the preceding chapters of this guide, and you’ll soon find yourself a super-organized, high-powered learning machine. But none of that will matter unless you can find and maintain the motivation and drive to keep going. The semester is long, and each one brings new challenges. Here you’ll learn how to tap into your natural motivation for learning, adopt a growth mindset, and establish goals that inspire you to keep putting in the effort each week.

  • The Science of Motivation
  • Angela Lee Duckworth: The Key to Success? Grit
  • How Can I Stay Motivated and Finish My School Work?
  • How to Fulfill Your Potential: The Growth Mindset
  • What’s The Point of Studying So Hard?
  • 8 Simple Tips to Stay Motivated


Chapter 8

Friends, Fun, and The College Experience

College is an opportunity to learn and set yourself apart academically. But it’s also one of the only times in life where you have to freedom to explore your interests along with minimal responsibilities. Yes, some students take it too far (hence the ever-present “C’s get degrees” slogan). But if you do it right, college can (and should) be one of the best experiences you’ll have in life. The resources below will guide you through how to have fun, make friends, and get the most out of college, without sacrificing your education to do it.

  • How to Have Fun in College
  • How to Make the Most Of Your College Years
  • What Should An Undergrad Do to Get The Most Out of College?
  • 50 Things Every College Student Should Experience At Least Once


Chapter 9

How to Wow Recruiters and Land Your Dream Job

At the end of the day, getting a job is right up there at the top of the list of the reasons why we go to college, and want to succeed. We all want a vibrant professional network, incredible internship opportunities to build experience, and ultimately, to be able to find and land a job we love right out of school – all while keeping up with classes, exams, and everything else college life has to throw at us. Well these resources are designed to show you exactly that.

  • The Ultimate Networking Guide for Introverts
  • How To Rock The Career Fair And Make Recruiters Love You
  • How to Get An Awesome Internship
  • 97 Actions You Should Take To Become THE Person Companies Want To Hire
  • My 10 Best Pieces of Career Advice for College Graduates
  • How To Find Your Dream Job


Chapter 10

More World-Class College Success Resources

While everything you’ll find in this guide is top-of-the-line, below you’ll find some of the best stand-alone resources on the interwebs on college success to help you on your journey. Bon’ voyage!

  • Cal Newport’s Study Hacks Blog Archive
  • The College Info Geek Blog, Youtube Channel, and Podcast
  • Learning How to Learn Coursera Course
  • Study Skills Resource
  • The Guide