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 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!