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3 Tips for Being Successful in College

3 Tips for Being Successful in College

Are you emotionally prepared for college?

Your teen is finally ready to head off to college. She's aced her SAT and ACT and been accepted into her dream school. You've saved up for her tuition. You've done everything in your power to prepare her for the stress of this new chapter of life. But have you made sure she has the character strengths to prepare her for the challenges of higher education? Shannon Tyler-Garces, a college admissions counselor, shares her tips!


As technology has developed, teens and children have little need to do things like learn to read a map, take out a book from the library, or depend on in-person social skills to make connections. And though technology has made the lives of older millennials and generations before easier, our younger millennials and generations after are missing out on lessons (and soft skills) that the aforementioned needs taught the older members of society- namely and respectively accuracy, patience, and empathy. If we look back on the many things that they learned out of necessity we notice that many of the skills that were used on a regular basis are not being learned by children today.

With that in mind, I have found it useful to counsel today’s teens on character traits that are timeless and must be developed for success in college and after. Here are a few to start with.

Be Flexible

College professors will change project requirements or test dates, employers will need projects at the last minute, and life will throw wrenches in the wheels. You can let these things throw you off or you can work around them. As nothing in life is predictable, being flexible will be one of the best character traits you can have, not only for college and your career but for your own well-being. When you avoid unnecessary stress, your mind is more available for academic and personal advancement. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows us that when our mind is preoccupied with stress in the physiological and safety levels, we are not psychologically available to move into the higher levels of personal development (such as belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization).

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Keep It Moving and Don’t Dwell

If you manage to avoid stressful situations in life, I would have to ask you what magic potion you drank for such fortune. On the contrary, if you are like the rest of us, stressful and unavoidable situations are bound to rear their ugly heads every so often. What I am trying to say is that, you, along with everyone else in the world have no choice. So let’s accept it and move on. If you can accept that things will be stressful and often happen unnecessarily, then you will spend more time adjusting or adapting to the situation than you do stuck on how “it shouldn’t have happened.” Going back to the previous point. Be flexible, keep it moving and don’t dwell. You are better off spending your time finding solutions than fixating on what you cannot change.


In college you need to be resourceful. The answers are not always printed on paper, and your professors will not always be accessible. They will give you projects with few guidelines and the expectation that you complete it thoroughly and on time. Professors do not entertain complaints about the difficulty of the work or the deadline, so the best solution is to be resourceful. Generate your questions and find the answers without depending on anyone else. The beauty of technology is that, research can be done almost anywhere via laptops, cellphones, and tablets. This leaves little reason why you cannot get something done. On another note, resourcefulness goes far beyond academics. College is the first time that many of you will be on your own and you might find yourself in a predicament (such as a flat tire or dead battery) and you will have to navigate those waters with little help. If you trust that you are capable of finding the answer, you will tap into your own natural resourcefulness that we were all born with. As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” If you find yourself in need, use your natural skills that you were born with to find the answer. Think outside the box and don’t stop searching until you’ve got the result you were looking for.

These are only a few of the traits a student needs for college success. It's not easy, but must be done.