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College Success!

Your college search is just beginning, and there are some things that you can do to maximize your admission opportunities and prepare you to make your best college choice. However, getting in is only the first step, so we want to share some wisdom on being a successful student as well. Take a few minutes and look over these tips—you will be well on your way to becoming a successful college graduate!

Students on campus

Tips for a Successful College Search

Challenge Yourself

Consider what requirements some colleges have before scheduling your senior year classes. Make sure you have what you need to graduate, and alsowhat you need to be competitive for schools and majors. Colleges want to see that you are prepared.


Research career options so you know what you are looking for in a college program. Shadow someone with a career you think you are interested in. This will help you understand what the job entails and what you need to do to get there. Realize that not every career has a specific major, or that it may require additional education beyond a bachelor’s degree. Look ahead to what minimum requirements graduate-level programs have when considering the undergraduate major you choose to help get you there.

Be Professional

Set up an e-mail account to use for colleges and other official correspondence, and make sure that the address is unique, but professional. Even if you only occasionally use e-mail to communicate in your personal life, e-mail is still an important method of communication for colleges and employers. Choosing an e-mail address that is an appropriate representation of you will serve you in college and beyond. Remember that all of your interactions—whether electronic, on the phone, or in person—should be opportunities for you to demonstrate the kind of asset you could be to the institution, so it’s important to always look and act professional in order to leave a positive impression.

Prepare Yourself

Most colleges still require the SAT or ACT in order to be admitted. While these exams often cause students a lot of stress, preparation is the key to performing well. There are many free resources available to students, and you should take advantage of as many of them as you need. Also, take the tests early so you know the results. If you do well, you won’t have to take them again—but if you think you can improve your score, you will know where to start. Remember:

  • Take them during your junior year.
  • Take them multiple times.
  • Consider the ACTs if you struggle on the SATs.
Students on campus


A campus visit will probably be the most helpful task in choosing which college is right for you. Take the opportunity to visit as many different types of schools as you can to really help form your wish list for what you want out of your college experience and to see which schools can provide that to you. Distance, location, dorms, food, and services are just a few things that a visit can tell you better than any other source, and all are important points to consider in making your college choice. Make sure that you:

  • Visit several during your junior year.
  • Allow time for a second visit to your top choices.


Apply to colleges early in your senior year. Each school you apply to will be different, so you have to make sure to check with each one regarding requirements, deadlines, and any other admission-related information as you go through the process. The earliest that schools will start admitted students is September 1, but not every school begins at that time. Completing the process as early as you can for each school will give you the opportunity to know if you’re admitted, or if you need to improve your tests or grades first. Once you receive your acceptance letters back, you will have more time to consider each option and decide which school is best for you!

Tips for Successful College Students


It is important to know the requirements of your major. Your catalog is the best resource for determining what is required, and it can usually be found online and/or in your campus bookstore.

Your advisor should have additional resources to help you determine what courses you need and the sequence in which you may need them.

Students and professor in class

Go to Class

Class attendance is extremely important. Whether it’s at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday morning or late on a Friday afternoon, try not to miss your classes, because this is your priority while you are in school. If you need to miss a class, try to inform your professor ahead of time and get any of the materials and/or notes that will be handed out.

Know the attendance policies of each of your professors for each class.

Time management is a skill you must have in college. Planning your time effectively will help you with every aspect of your college life, from attending class to studying to socializing and participation in campus activities.

Learn about Campus Resources

Colleges and universities have resources that will assist you with your class assignments should you need help. A variety of resources and staff are usually available to help you with your academic assignments. These normally include, but are not limited to:

  • Writing, Mathematics, Foreign Language labs
  • Tutoring sessions
  • Study groups
  • Peer mentoring
  • Disability support
  • Major and career exploration services
  • Internship fairs
  • Study Abroad programs

Find out which programs and services are available to you, and use them!

Get Involved

Investigate the various clubs and organizations that are sponsored through the institution, and make a conscious effort to get involved with one or more that interest you. Most schools will have:

  • Student government
  • Student newspaper/radio/TV
  • Greek life (fraternities and sororities, both social and professional)
  • Intramural athletics
  • Service groups
  • Religious organizations


Make the effort to get involved in your education. Speak frequently with your advisor and other faculty members in your major department. It’s a good idea to communicate with your advisor early and often so that you can stay on track with courses and requirements for graduation.

Students at Commencement

  • Admissions Office
  • Sutton Hall, Suite 120
    1011 South Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: (724) 357-2230
  • Fax: (724) 357-6281
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.