Top tips for a successful start to College

September 5, 2019

Students waiting for train

About the Author: Aidan is beginning his second year of studying A Levels on the Havant Campus; he previously attended The Cowplain School. He has written this post to give new students tips that he would have found useful to have been given last year when starting his HSDC experience.

When the time comes to move from school to college, the change is never easy! So, here are a few tips and pieces of advice to help you prepare yourself:

Get Organised

Not to scare you or anything, but frequent home learning tasks and longer deadlines will be lurking at the horizon, so being organised is critical! Use of a diary or planner will help you categorise and prioritise your workload. Get into the habit of being on top of your work now, rather than later – nobody is going to remind you about when something is due, so take responsibility and complete all of your work within a few days of it being set. Also, lots of pretty stationary is great… Just don’t get addicted like I did – trust me!

Consolidate knowledge from the get-go!

Honestly, I cannot stress this enough – go through everything after every lesson. Do practice questions or re-read important sections from the textbook. Completing set tasks is essential, but why not make a revision poster or read around the subject if it really interests you! For example, I had a lesson on stem cells, and I found it so interesting that I decided to read up on it. Let’s say that my findings were quite scary, yet fascinating as I discovered that there is a species of jellyfish that is immortal and can age backwards… Yeah, weird right? Practice and hard work will go a long way throughout your entire life, so why not start now? Pretty notes are useless if you are never going to look at them again! Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate.

Build positive relationships with friends and your lecturers

This is vital, because without a good support network, you may not feel you have someone to turn to if things get tough. Communication with those around you is essential and being proactive about seeking advice will allow you to achieve your goals and overcome any difficult periods throughout your time in college. Never forget that the pastoral team love to help students and are always there to guide you. Make college a time to remember by discussing any issues you have, in order to eradicate any stress, especially during the dreaded exam season!

Think carefully about extra-curricular activities and part-time work

I know you may see so many new clubs in the first week and you want to find a job – trust me I get it! But please think about how much you are taking on. Don’t spread yourself too thin! The recommended hours for part-time work alongside full-time study is a maximum of 20 hours a week and personally, I wouldn’t recommend committing to more than 1-2 clubs as well as a part time job, because trust me it builds up and you do not want your college work to suffer because you have taken on too much. Feel free to check out all of the clubs and societies on offer here

Enjoy Every Moment of College

It goes too fast! Your time at college is precious, use it wisely and never be scared to put yourself out there; what have you got to lose? You will make friends that’ll last a lifetime and you will grow as an individual! Before you know it, you will be in the next stages of your life. The next two years will be gone in a heartbeat: hopefully when you look back in the future you will fondly remember this incredible time in your life! What will you do, to make your time at HSDC unforgettable?