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SELF HELP SERIES: How to Suceed in College


*photo courtesy of Bellarmine University 64’

An Open Letter to High School Seniors! Here’s How to Succeed in College


It’s really very simple, and I have only one bit of advice to students entering college: Study your notes within twenty-four hours. I don’t have to tell you of late night discussion sessions, those are part of the college experience. I don’t have to remind you of the dangers and distractions of alcohol and drugs. If you follow my one bit of advice you will succeed. Partying the first year will get you behind the eight ball such that the next four or five years are an uphill struggle grade/probation-wise. If you crack down and get A’s that first year, then college is a downhill breeze. Simple.


It’s really as simple as that when you consider that is you studied your notes, you got up and went to class. That means you didn’t party all night and after a good healthy breakfast your body and brain are fueled and refreshed and ready to tackle the day. It means that you went to class and took notes and if you skim-read (a ten minute exercise of looking at the title, headings, bold print and pictures and reading the summary) the chapter before hand the material is not “new” to your brain.


If you then go back to your dorm room and flesh out your notes and review them for 15 minutes, you are going to do well grade-wise and otherwise (If not grab a tutor from the department office, it’s your right and privileges for paying tuition). Also if you study your notes within twenty-four hours, there will not be that dreaded need to cram before an exam. Psychology theory notes that in spaced vs. massed learning (cramming), spaced (studying a little each day) wins every time!


Another theory of learning that you will no doubt study in psychology 101, is that the more times you see an item the more familiar your brain will be with it. Viola, learning! The other theory of learning - one I first published in 1967 (Oh I can’t believe I’m that old!) – is that if you like a subject, you will do better in it, so chose your major wisely.


And please be SERTN in college: Spiritual, Exercise, Relaxation, Think Positive, Nutrition. The college years are the best years of you life - Enjoy!


Trust me’” as Eddie Murphy says in Beverly Hills Cop, you study your notes within twenty-four hours and you will succeed in college. Good luck and God bless!


Enjoy and don’t take any wooden nickels.


Dr. Tenbrunsel, PhD, Class of ’60 *photo compliments of Bellarmine University

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