Straight up – if you make the Dean’s List in college, then you’re focused and more than likely on your way to success. Placement on the Dean’s List indicates that you understand why you attended an Institution of Higher Learning and you are handling your affairs as you should. Many people go to college, experience their first taste of living on their own as a young adult and cannot handle this new freedom. The consequences often produce disastrous results for your GPA. By following the Nerd’s simple advice, here’s how you, even as a naïve freshman, can balance all of your responsibilities and strive to make that Dean’s List. Even if you miss by a grade or two, you’ll be in the “B” range, which is not bad at all and will certainly keep your head above water at a new campus.
Step 1 – Before you set foot on any college campus you must know why you are there. Not to only party and hang out with friends, not to just pledge a fraternity or sorority (although that is a nice curricular activity), you are there to create a successful future for yourself in the next 4-8 years and beyond. That is the bottom line. If you truly understand your reason for being enrolled as a student then you will know the consequences of putting your best foot forward, as well as the consequences of not: A waste of money, precious time, and a crappy job.
Make a commitment to applying yourself every single day for the next 4 years.
Step 2 – It’s ok to have fun and enjoy the experience but being responsible has to be the order of the day. Every day! All the lectures your parents gave you since you were 3 years old must be at the forefront of your thought process. If you are scheduled for an early class (and you set your own schedule), be there on time and ready to go to work. Do not start missing classes early in the semester because this usually spells doom. You will more than likely get behind and to avoid a poor grade you will drop the course. This can quickly become a bad habit.
Step 3 – Dating in college is fine but do not spend too much time with someone who is not focused. If you are dating someone that wants to hang out all the time, and is always trying to convince you to do the same then it may be better to find somebody else who is more goal-oriented. If you don’t you will surely be sidetracked. Because you have some people who have the “crab mentality” and they see you are striving to achieve, then it’s a strong possibility that when they see you climbing the latter of success, they will make an attempt to pull you back down. You must distance yourself from this type of person. You can speak to him or her when you see them on campus and hangout with them socially, but close relationships can be dangerous.
Step 4 – Take good notes (we covered this extensively in The Nerd’s Word: Take Note of this Technique). If you prefer, use a tape recorder to record the lectures of your professors. The notes you take are extremely valuable for both studying and essay writing and they can make or break your career as a student.
Step 5 – Study! Try to avoid cramming and do not wait to the last minute to do your assignments. Even if there is a day when your homework is done, set aside a few minutes to study and prepare yourself for the next day. Although you may not always have time for this, when you do get a free minute just find a quiet place to go over your notes that you have taken, open your textbooks and review.
Make these preceding five steps a habit and schoolwork will come easy to you after awhile. Before you know it, guess what? You’re on the Dean’s List. It wasn’t all that hard, why? Because you have become consistent and you understand your role as a student and a future leader. By the way, to make the Dean’s List you will need to maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher while completing 12 or more credits in a fall, spring, or summer semester. Piece of cake with the trusty assistance of the Nerd. Next week, we’ll take a trip outside the classroom and see how to best choose which extracurricular activities are most beneficial to your collegiate experience and eventual career.