College Success Series, Part One: GO TO CLASS.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

And so passes the first week of classes. How’s it going for you?

Things have been pretty hectic the entire month of August, at least for me and the College Village staff! We’ve been working very hard to try and make this academic year a fun and safe one, and we hope you’ll like all of the neat things we’ve got in store for you.

But when everything is said and done, don’t forget that, ultimately? Your success or failure in college is entirely up to you. Entering college gives you a shocking amount of personal responsibility that you need to grasp on to, and that can be pretty overwhelming if you’re not used to it.

Now, don’t get me wrong; we have many people here who are willing to assist you should you need it. But at the end of the day, it’s what you choose to do with your time and resources that will determine if your school year (and college career) will be a great one.

So, that being said? I’m going to spend a few posts talking about success at college. This first one is somewhat long, and it’s serious – but it’s also important. (Let’s get the serious bits out of the way first.) Jump the cut for more.

1. The most obvious thing: Go to class.


It’s something you’re going to hear over-

And over-

And over again, throughout your college career, no matter where you go.

It is vital that you attend your classes – especially if you’re using any kind of financial aid. Here’s why.

If you don’t attend class, you’re missing out on learning the information you’ll need to succeed – and I’m not just talking about passing the class. You’ll be missing out on information, data, techniques that could be extremely important to your future career. You’ll miss the professor’s input and experiences. You’ll miss the discussions on questions you may have had while reading your textbooks (more on that later). In short – you’re paying to be here. Why would you pay for something and not take the opportunity to get everything you can out of it?

And speaking of paying, here’s the deal. If you’re paying out of pocket for your education, books, housing, and supplies – well, okay, I’m insanely jealous, but the point is that you’ve got the means to do so, and if you’re going to mess up, you only have to answer to yourself/your parents/your trust fund/whatever.

But if you’re using any kind of financial aid – and, according to GCC’s fast facts, about 87% of us full time students do you’re also answering to the federal government and any kind of private investors. They’re investing in you by financing your education.

Let me make this perfectly clear: It’s not all ‘free money’.

Yes, you don’t have to return Pell and TAP – they’re grants, and it’s fantastic to have that kind of aid available. But if you cut class and are using them to pay for your education, you can potentially lose your aid – and then you WILL have to pay it back. Get it?

Failure to attend classes means paying back your grant money. You MUST attend at least 60% of the course in order to ‘earn’ your aid.

And don’t just be one of those students who attend class, then bounce out after you get your refund checks. If you fail your classes (which you’ll most certainly do if you choose to pursue this path), you’ll be placed on academic probation. This, too, can hurt your financial aid.

(I can also talk forever about loans, but the key thing to remember is this: you have to pay those back. Certain circumstances aside, there’s no getting around this fact. Don’t borrow more than you need. You don’t want to default on a loan because you couldn’t get out of bed to make your classes!)

I know I’ve hammered down this point, but I should mention one little known other thing about attendance: your professors are required to send a weekly report of sorts to the school, indicating your attendance and participation. If it’s unsatisfactory, well – guess who’s getting a letter sent home to their family? And, yeah – you bet that financial aid is going to know about it, too.

So, in short? If you want to make sure that you’re learning everything you need to know, want to maintain ways to fund your education, and avoid public humiliation, it would be in your best interest to go to class.

Alright, that’s enough of that. Next time in this series, we’ll discuss some fun ways to have fun and get involved on campus – because believe it or not, having fun is one of the ways to succeed. No kidding!

See you then!

4 thoughts on “College Success Series, Part One: GO TO CLASS.

  1. Great post! Staying focused at community college is critical to your degree completion and transfer success. It all starts with going to class and showing up ready to learn and engage with your classes.

  2. Rachel

    I heard that the mens basketball tryouts took place today. Why doesnt the coach give all interested young man a fair chance to try out? When you go to tryouts a coach writes down all the names of the young men trying out, however the coach for the Cougars could care less. How dare the coach disrespect these young men this way. Everyone who trys out should be listed so the coach is able to write notes as to why they did or didnt qualify. I have never witnessed anything like this and I have been apart of several basketball tornaments. I hope the coach is serious about taking his team to the next level unless he doesnt truly have faith they can compete against the best.

    • Hi Rachel – thanks for your comment. Below is a message from Terry George, GCC men’s basketball head coach, about yesterday’s basketball tryouts:

      I would like to say thank you to all the young men that came to tryouts for the Men’s basketball team. I know many of you just arrived this fall at Genesee and many aspects of college athletics are new to you. At the college level, we the coaches are expected to go out and recruit quality student athletes. I spent hundreds of hours scouring the region in search of the best student athletes. From my hard work, I assembled a roster of talented players from all over the Northeast from cities like NYC, Rochester, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, anywhere top high school players play.

      The NJCAA, our governing body, limits our roster to 15 participants. My roster already consisted of two returning players and 10 recruits many of which are here on a basketball scholarship. Besides my recruits many interested students emailed me well before college began and took part in all team activities giving me the opportunity to extensively evaluate their talent. From my evaluations of the players that showed interests in playing on the team and from the tryouts, I have selected three players to fill the roster spots that were available.

      With 80 percent of our team constructed, we held this tryout session for the whole student population because of the large volume of interested students. Though intercollegiate athletics are very competitive and everyone will not have the opportunity to play for the Cougars, we do offer intramural leagues and other programs to accommodate all other students interested in sports.

      Best of luck to all of you,
      Coach George

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