Finding success while in college

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 11:21 a.m.
Growing up and achieving success is not necessarily something teens can do on their own.
As they enter college, these young adults often try to achieve independence and college success on their own. This is certainly a time when students want to make choices and exercise as much independence as possible.
But we all need guidance and support sometimes. Even mature adults seeking a new job or new career benefit from talking with a spouse, a person of significance or a mentor about these decisions.
The new experience of college can be challenging, particularly for students who have had an easy time with high school success. Some students claim they did not have to study so hard in high school and everything came so easy.
This situation may allow new college students to falsely believe they have everything under control.
To avoid difficulties with your college experience, freshman students should keep their parents informed and be honest about their progress. Even if parents cannot help because they know little about your subjects, they can offer encouragement and resources to help you get the help you need.
We all know the story of students who are believed to be doing well and only at Christmas or summer break do parents get the news of a failed semester.
Another very different fact about college is the relationship with your instructors. Talk with your instructors and put a "face" on your name. Classes are larger and you need to do what you can to help personalize the situation.
College and university professors want to establish communication with you, but they will not come looking for you, as would be the case in high school. Nor will they call your parents when they become concerned about your progress.
Ever heard that the best thing grades predict are future grades, but not necessarily success? This statement should propel all students to identify what they really need for success.
Even if you earn very good grades in college, keep in mind that students enjoy reasonable and legal privacy and parents cannot inquire about the success without your consent. It is then your responsibility to keep your parents informed as well as seek their assistance in a timely manner.
Check out the resources and support services offered by your institution. Most provide counseling for academic, psychological and medical concerns. You may be surprised that institutions want students to succeed. Institutions build their level of credibility truly by the high levels of success of their students, and this credibility is a very highly sought-after commodity.
Since college education is largely a do-it-yourself course of action, you are in the driver's seat, but every driver needs help at times navigating to success.
Shelton Davis, Ed.D., can be reached at

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