September 8, 2011 | Diane Johnson | Leave a comment According to Jean Keller, who is a college expert and creator of the Smart Plan For College Systemâ„¢, only about 50% of college students successfully complete their freshman year. Various reasons contribute to why individual students do not complete the first year of college, but one of the primary reasons is that students simply are not prepared for the transition from high school to college life. Using some proactive steps on your part, as a freshmen or first year college student, you can use this seven-step strategy to make your first year of college successful, and the subsequent years, as well. 1. Positive Mindset The power of positive thinking can and will get you far in life and in college. Before you enter your first lecture, make sure that you have it set in your mind that you are going to give your education your all. Sure, college life is full of new experiences, parties, meeting new people and living on your own for the first time. The primary focus you should have, however, is on your schoolwork and performance. When you make this commitment in your own mind, then you are more likely to accomplish getting your work done and getting good grades. 2. Speak Positively It is not only how you think that will propel you toward success, it is also how you speak. When you keep a positive attitude in your head and with the words that come out of your mouth, it helps to attract the success you are looking to achieve. You will also find that when you surround yourself with positive thinkers and talkers, it helps you to remain positive too. You end up feeding off of each other’s positivity, which can be mutually beneficial for everyone. 3. Set a Schedule Create a schedule. Primarily, you want to make sure that you schedule enough time to study, do your homework and prepare for your daily lectures in various classes. This does not mean that you have to give up having fun, but it does mean that you should organize your schedule to make sure that you have everything prepared for school prior to heading out to the neighborhood party or the college football game. 4. Be Present When you are in class, focus your attention and your thoughts on the professor, the class discussion and what is going on in the class. It is easy to allow your mind to wander off to the plans you have tonight or the pretty girl or handsome guy sitting across the room. These thoughts, however, will not help you to gather the information you need to complete you class assignments and pass your tests. 5. Ask for Help When You Need it You may find that a particular subject or professor is causing you to struggle with the class. It is normal to have a class or two that may be more challenging to you than your other classes. If you are having a hard time keeping up in class, completing your assignments or passing your exams, schedule an appointment to meet with your professor. He or she may be able to offer some advice to help you, or they can refer you to a study group or tutor that can help you get up to speed. Don’t wait until the end of the class when you realize you have a failing grade. Go to the professor as soon as you realize there is a problem. 6. Never Give Up You should never give up on passing a class or grasping a concept that you are studying in a class. Try to keep an open mind and try to understand what is going on. Even if you are failing a class and have reached out for help, do not give up. Go back to the professor and let them know everything that you have doneâ€”joined a study group, hired a tutor and visited the professor during office hours. Find out if there is extra credit you can do or something you can do to pass the class still. 7. Take Care of You It’s easy to get caught up in the social aspect of being away at college. A healthy body, however, feeds a healthy mind. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Eat as healthy as you can. Most major colleges and universities have a gym, so take advantage of this benefit to get some exercise at least two to three days a week. Attending your first year of college is a lot of change all at one time. You can proactively take steps to make the transition as simple and easy as possible, so your first year is a successful one.