Obtaining a college degree can be a lengthy and substantial process. Thousands of people go to colleges and universities in the United States with goals and dreams of earning a degree. Yet, about a third of all who attend classes never complete their studies required for the degree. By following these steps, almost anyone can get a college degree.
Students may need to apply for financial aid to attend college. Let’s face it: not everyone can afford to pay for college out of their own pockets. In fact, most students have some sort of financial assistance. Loans, grants, and scholarships are typically what students apply for. A loan is borrowed money from a company or the government on the promise to pay it back. A grant is “free money” as is a scholarship. Sometimes, scholarships have contingencies where the student may lose the money if he or she does not maintain a specific grade point average. Once a student has obtained financing, he is ready to start taking classes.
First of all, the prospective student must realize what he or she wants to major in. A major is the main topic or subject of the degree. For example, if someone wants to be a lawyer, then that person would major in law. Under each major is a group of classes designed to benefit the individual in that area of interest. Granted, not all classes directly pertain to the major. There is a list of general education classes one must complete in addition to major-specific college classes. Selecting a college major is the first step to obtaining a degree. Whether it is majoring in Literature or Scandinavian Studies, there is a degree for almost any area of interest. An important point to make regarding colleges and majors is that certain colleges do not offer the major the student wants or may even have a waiting list to enter the program.
Once the student decides on what to become, he must be dedicated to going to school. Many college students are in their late teens to early twenties and have never been away from home before. The old adage is that college was a place to party and have fun with studying secondary on the priority list. Students must be loyal to their studies and not forget the reason why they have enrolled in school. There are also hundreds of students who are lazy and unmotivated to go to class. People need to make their college education a top priority if they wish to succeed.
Another critical step to getting a college degree is consult with a guidance counselor. Students usually can not just take classes, they must know which classes to take, when they are offered, and how long everything may take. A simple visit to a guidance counselor is very important before classes commence. The counselor explains the nature of the major, describe which classes are required (and when), and will be able to answer any questions students may have. Counselors typically tell you what you need to do to earn a degree.
Another important step is to develop good study habits. Homework, class assignments, and tests are in your future. Simple reading and completing assignments may not be enough. Students may require extra credit or tutoring to keep up with the rest of the class. Not everyone has the same learning style. Some may be visual learners, where they learn by watching, using visual aids, or performing hands-on type tasks. Audio learners learn from listening to what is taught. Regardless of learning styles, everyone must study.
A critical factor in developing good study habits is to make time to study. Dependant upon what is being studied, how difficult the material is, or how much material needs to be learned, time must be allotted to learning the material. Typically, 2-3 hours a day is sufficient. If the student does not take the time to study, poor grades may result and the student may get discouraged and unmotivated to go to school.
The use of good judgment is required when deciding on how many classes a student should take per semester. Do not overload yourself or take on too much. Consider how much time you have available to study. Maybe you are employed and can only afford to go to school on a part time basis. Generally, taking 12-15 units is considered a full-time student. Each class is usually 3-4 units which would be 4-5 classes at a time. If you can not commit to such a schedule, don’t! Only take the amount of classes that you can, reasonably.
Staying focused and being consistent is probably the most important factor. Consistent and focused in the sense of study habits, do not slack off toward the end of the semester. Study with the same intensity as when the course began, and as hard as you did when you first enrolled in college. Always remember why you enrolled in the first place. Stay motivated. Do not lose interest in school and decide to “take time off” from school. One semester away from school may turn into years of procrastination.
Keep it together. Successful students tend to find balance in their lives. They juggle family commitments, employment, and school. There can be time for everything in your life if you make it so. Too many students drop out of school because they simply cannot find the time to attend. Successful students make the time. They stick it out no matter what happens in their lives. They are dedicated and committed. They want it. They want to earn that degree. Do you?