Written by Charles Zito
While getting accepted into college and completing high school may feel like the “end,” it is truly just the beginning of your serious academic career and professional career beyond that. Be sure not to allow “senioritis” to carry over into the start of your first year at college! Starting out on the right foot is key to maintaining a high GPA throughout your college years, and a high GPA will have great weight in earning undergraduate honors or applying to graduate programs. It is easier to begin your college years with a very high GPA and to get a grade here and there that pulls it down a little than it is to have to try to lift a lower GPA after several first semesters.
I learned this from my high school years when I did not appreciate the value of starting out strong–I found myself working hard to maintain straight As throughout my junior and senior years of high school. I constantly felt like I was catching up. Thankfully, this hard work and focus carried over into my first couple years at college, which I completed with a 3.9 GPA. Having this high GPA during my first two years in college helped me when I was taking higher level courses in my third and fourth years and an A was sometimes difficult to come by. In the end, I graduated magna cum laude, and I have been proud to list that on my graduate school and job applications.
Developing and maintaining effective study skills, strong writing skills, and good organizational habits will be invaluable in the college years to come. Attending class regularly and on time and participating in the classroom will carry over into good professional habits. Indeed, I had to learn even greater discipline in graduate school, designating a certain time each day for studying and homework. I had to make doing homework a habit, and you should too.
So, as you look ahead to attending college, do not forget why you are going there. Consider that developing and maintaining good habits may be easier and more effective with the guidance of a mentor or academic coach. Such a mentor could advise you along your academic journey and help you instill the right skills and habits that will carry you through a strong college career into what is hopefully a successful professional career and a fulfilling life.