10 tips to
by John Roland
Director of Alumni Services & Student Success
Email: email@example.com or Twitter: luther_rice
1. Choose Professors, Not Classes
• It's a classic picture of undergraduate life: a student leafing
through the course guide, picking classes for the next term
based on what looks interesting and also fulfills curriculum
requirements. Don't follow that model.
• Find the best professors on campus and take their
classes, even if they don't seem interesting at first read. You
may find these professors by talking to your adviser, using the
school's faculty review resources and asking older students
about their favorite faculty members. Follow their leads.
• A good professor will turn neutral subject matter for you
into a joy; a poor professor will blunt your interest in a
subject area you love. You are only going to take 35 to 40
courses during your time in college. Why waste one on a
poorly designed class or a dry, energy-sapping professor?
2. Guard your time and be efficient
in time management.
• Ephesians 5:15-16
• The saying is true, “Plan a minute, save an
• Your life is made up of minutes and hours.
• Don’t just veg in front of the TV or computer for
hours on end with no end in sight.
• Life is short and be aware that we will never
have those minutes again. Who knows when our
last days will be. Be wise in how you spend your
3. Always Go to Class
• It may seem silly to remind you to go to class. But it
won't be quite so obvious as you settle into college
life, when you realize that there's no detention or
punishment for missing classes, when you discover
that the professor's lecture notes are online and as
your roommate pulls the covers over his head when
the alarm clock rings for an 8 a.m. class.
• Your class hours drop by more half when you go to
college. You have access to some of the most
accomplished experts in their field, and you are
paying a tremendous amount of money to have
access to them. Don't waste it.
4. Take Care of Yourself
• Part of college life is learning how to take
care of yourself. Regulate your diet by eating
healthy foods and resisting the temptations of
the unlimited and unsupervised dining options.
• Exercise to maintain your physical health: sign
up for a gym class and find people who share
your athletic interests.
• Don't forget to sleep. Keeping your body well
cared for will help you stay healthier and be
more successful academically.
5. Pray, be patient, & wait for an
• Philippians 4:6
• This next stage for you is about living and learning
independently, skills that develop over time. Be
patient as you and your classmates settle into
college life. Don't expect to be perfect, but draw
strength and inspiration from your previous learning
• If you stay in His Word and pray to God, He will reveal
His will to you. Pray for the big and small stuff.
• Don’t rush God and wait patiently, listening for His voice.
Don’t just think because it is a Christian school, you
should go there. Be patient and wait on God. When we
pray, we are the ones that are changed.
6. Do not settle . . . LEARN!
• The lesson here is simple, especially for collegebound students: you never know where or in what
setting your passions will be discovered, and so you
must allow yourself the opportunity to explore and
take the risk of learning something new.
• Your future may depend on it.
• Learn ALL you can because you never know what
God has for you in your future. Be a sponge and
LEARN, EXPERIENCE, and DISCOVER.
• The more curious you are in seeking new kinds
of knowledge, the more creative you will be at
synthesizing the complexities of our world.
7. Befriend your professors
• Professors like talking to students. Seriously. If you
go to office hours with questions, ideas or just to find out
more about the course material, you'll be surprised at
how enthusiastic (most) professors are to sit and talk to
you. More important, you may be surprised to learn how
they'd like to get to know you beyond the paper or lab
assignment you've handed in.
• Take advantage of ways to talk to professors outside
the classroom. You'll learn more, have a greater
appreciation of your academic experience and have
more ways to find mentors, professional and academic
references, and employers for research projects.
8. Learn to research from the
• Most college students can't do research effectively,
not even using Google. Fortunately, librarians are
there to help.
• Research includes gathering information that you report
on. At other times, you analyze the information to create
your own unique perspective.
• Choosing a topic is the starting point of your research. If
possible, choose a topic that is interesting to you or is
something you want to learn more about.
• Stay on target and look for information that addresses
your research question or thesis statement.
9. Take good notes
• Learn how your college professor teaches.
• Start by titling your notes with the title of the lecture. Then write main
points on the left side of the vertical line and elaborate more on the
• Review your notes before and after classes. This is proven to
improve memory and raise grades.
• Backing up notes by electronically writing them as well later on can
improve your memory of the notes you take, and can also be helpful
if something happens to hand written notes.
• If professors provide copies of their PowerPoints it is good to
download these ahead of class, read over the information, and take
notes in the "notes" section of the PowerPoint.
• Participate in class. If you are involved in class, you will look at
your notes and remember more of the context of each point.
10. Write better
• Never underestimate the value of
• The most valuable skill set I learned in
college was to write clearly and coherently.
• Whether you pursue a career in ministry,
business, science, technology or the arts, the
ability to convey your ideas, as well as argue
and persuade effectively, is simply invaluable.
• With this skill alone, you will be a treasured
asset in any organization.
• “How to succeed in college: New Advice & Insights”
Forbes by Rahim Kanani. 09/06/2011.
• “Tip Sheet | How to succeed in college” The New York
Times by Jeffrey Durso-Finley & Holly Burks Becker.
• “Life lessons to be learned at college . . .and beyond” by
John Roland. 12/31/2012.
Enjoy College!! May you
be richly blessed as you
seek God and His wisdom
for your life!
Luther Rice University