Five resolutions to succeed in college

Many college students spent their winter break with friends and family, and are returning to campus more committed and energized. But far too many others are not. 

For these students, winter break exacerbates doubts about the school they selected and highlights their frustration with college. This is particularly true of first-year students, as half of all students who drop out do so within their first year. Many of the students who are not succeeding may already be contemplating taking a break from college. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who take a temporary break join the 43 percent of students who begin a bachelor program, yet never graduate.

Academic ability, while important, is only part of the picture when it comes to being successful in college. Jasmine Stirling, chief marketing officer at InsideTrack, which offers technology-enabled student coaching services, suggests five resolutions to help any college student be more successful.

1. Choose friends wisely

AP Photo/Yuma Sun, Craig Fry
Arizona Western College freshman Siria Alvarez stops to pet Maddy, a Cocker Spaniel, during a break between classes Nov. 30, 2011 in Yuma, Ariz. Maddy, along with several other dogs and owners from Love on a Leash, helped AWC students de-stress as they prepared for their upcoming finals.

Many students make the mistake of generalizing about their university based on the few people they’ve met in their first months on campus. These students can be plagued by feelings of not fitting in, or of choosing the wrong school, and spend weekends and evenings shut up in their dorm rooms. It’s important for these students to get out on campus, try new things, and find groups of people with whom they can connect.

Our coaches often encourage students to put together lists of things they love doing, or interests they had in high school, and actively work to translate those into events, clubs, and extra-curricular activities on campus where they might find like-minded friends. When students start to form great friendships, college becomes a second home for them.

But choose wisely – if you can’t keep up with the partying or late nights of a particular group, keep looking. Hundreds of students we’ve worked with have had their college experience transformed when they joined the right organization and found the right group of friends. It’s worth taking the extra time to do this right. Research shows that solid social connections are a strong predictor of success in college.

1 of 5

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.