After taking the ACT and SAT, submitting applications, visiting campuses, finalizing your housing situation, and registering for classes, you're finally ready to start college. But do you really know what's in store for you? Here are some tips to keep in mind to make it through your first semester of college with good grades and a thriving social life:

1) School comes first: During your first few weeks of the semester you are going to m

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eet new people and make new friends, which is all a great part of the college experience. But your grades during your first year of college are crucial for helping you maintain your GPA throughout your college tenure. Make sure school is your priority. You can say no to social events, even if doing so upsets your friends, when you know you need to spend time studying.

2) Schedule time for fun: Now, taking your academics seriously doesn't mean that you can't ever take a break. In fact, stepping back from schoolwork to have some fun is actually good for you. Set up a calendar for yourself that includes all of your important due dates along with a schedule for when you will be working and when you have free time. Once you get into a routine you will be able to anticipate how much time you will need to complete your assignments. This can help you plan ahead so you don't need to say no to every social event that comes along.

3) The workload has changed: You may have breezed through your high school English course, but college writing is a whole different ballgame, and the same goes for every subject you will encounter. Accept that you are jumping up a level when it comes to expectations and workloads in your classes, and plan accordingly when you're trying to complete your assignments on time. 

4) START EARLY: You will hear this from your professors over and over again, and for good reason. You will never lose out when you start a paper or project early. This gives you time to do research, get materials sent to your library if needed, and meet with your professor to answer questions and go through drafts. Professors will be happy to help you with a project a week before the due date. They will be less inclined to answer a frantic email that is sent a few hours before the project is due.

5) Ask for help when you need it: Professors can get a bad rap, and some are arguably more interested in doing their own research than helping students. The majority, however, are in their profession to teach students. If you have questions about an assignment, something you've read for class, or just about the class in general, you will benefit greatly from taking a trip to your professor's office during his/her office hours. 

Whether you're excited, nervous, anxious, or just plain ready for your first semester of college, these tips should help you get the most out of your new adventure. For more advice on what to expect from college, contact us.