Five Essential Tips For Freshman To Make Their First College Year Successful

Cengage Learning and Dr. Constance Staley, author of Focus on College Success, provide strategies to help college students make the most of their first yeard

Every summer, soon-to-be freshmen prepare for their first year of college, getting all of the essential pieces in place: registering for classes, checking out their roommate on Facebook, and finding the closest all-night diner to campus. Many students, however, are still unsure about how to succeed once school begins. Cengage Learning, a leading global provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions, and Dr. Constance Staley, a Professor of Communication at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and author of Focus on College Success offer the following words of wisdom to help freshmen succeed in their first year and beyond:

  • Spend your time wisely—time is money. A college education costs. You are paying to go to college so make the most of your time and learn to focus on what counts: your classes. When deciding how to spend your time, sit down and determine which project, class or assignment is most important – even if it’s not the most fun. To illustrate how time is money, Dr. Staley illustrates how much one hour of class costs students, room and board included. Estimating $200, she hands a student in her freshman seminar course 200 $1 bills and asks the student to throw the money in the trash can at the front of the classroom. This visual, she says, sticks.
  • Build bridges, not walls. College isn’t just about going to class. As in the business world, it’s also about networking and building connections. Engage and interact with other students. Dr. Staley tells students that there are literally thousands of relationships to be made in college, and you never know where these relationships will take you. They could help you study for and ace your next exam, or get a job 10 years down the line.
  • Make the Web work for you. Cengage Learning’s website, with its new [email protected] widget, helps students improve their classroom performance and save money. The [email protected], a virtual study buddy finder, connects students using the same Cengage Learning textbook to better prepare for class. To help students save money and ease some of the financial stress associated with college, offers textbooks for rent at up to 70 percent off the purchase price.
  • Get to know one professor really well. According to Dr. Staley, building a meaningful relationship with one professor can connect you with a mentor for years to come. This person can help advise you during the rest of your college career and even after. Thinking about going to medical school or law school? A really great recommendation helps you stand out in a crowd of applicants.
  • Register for one class you’re passionate about. Many students only take required courses their first year. Required classes are important. But whether it is photography, European history, or rock climbing, Dr. Staley advises students that it’s much easier to stay motivated for the long haul when you’re taking one class that energizes you.

For more tips on success from Dr. Staley, please visit the Engaging Today’s Classroom podcast series. For more information about Cengage Learning’s direct-to-student retail offerings, study tools and more, visit

About Cengage Learning

Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. The company’s products and services are designed to foster academic excellence and professional development, increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes. Cengage Learning’s brands include Heinle, Gale, Wadsworth, Delmar, Brooks/Cole and South-Western, among others. For more information on Cengage Learning please visit