How Can I Be Successful in Community College: Balancing and Setting Goals/Priorities
Community college requires that you take an active role in your education. Although professors are there to teach and college staff is there to help, you're the one who will be responsible for your education and for getting the most from your experience.
College is much more self-directed than high school, where parents and teachers tended to nudge you along in the right direction and monitor your progress. It's the difference between being in the driver's seat and just being a passenger in the car.
If you're a recent high school graduate, you might think "Great, I'm free, and now I can do what I want." That's true, but you're also free to succeed or fail. It's all up to you. Students who take on the responsibility for their education are often the most successful. They're students who:
- Take their studies seriously, make the effort to participate, and do well in class
- Make contact with other students, professors, and staff at the college
- Know where and how to get help when they need it
- Take advantage of the full range of services available
- Become as active as possible in the life of the college
Set Goals and Priorities for Yourself
If you're just out of high school, you may not know exactly what you want to study or what career path you want to follow. You can, however, set some basic short-term and long-term goals, as well as priorities, for yourself.
Doing so will help you stay focused on what's important to you and will help you succeed in achieving your goals. Even students who know exactly what they want out of community college need to set goals to stay on track.
A short-term goal might be to enroll in a class that looks interesting to you and to do well in it. A longer-term goal might be to take some honors classes. Long-term goals might be to get your degree and find a satisfying career with a job that pays well.
A priority is something that is important at this moment. For example, your priority could be to study rather than go out with friends. Your goals and priorities will probably change as you go through community college.
Amanda Alkins started out thinking she only wanted to complete her AAS degree in nursing at Community College of Philadelphia, get her nurse's license, and start work. She discovered, however, that "the more I learn, the more I realize how much there is to know in my field. Now, I'm sure I'll go on to get my bachelor's degree, even if I work for some time beforehand. I hadn't expected I would want to do that when I started out. I thought I just want my AAS degree and to get out.'"
If you're an adult student, even if you have a specific educational objective in mind, you may also find that your goals will change as you progress through your studies.
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