College Survival Tips

Attend All Your Classes and Study Every Day

You should spend at least three hours studying outside of class for every hour that you spend in class. Studying includes homework or group work. When you add it all up and work on papers and projects, that means you need to study every day of the week.

Time Management

Take all of your syllabi at the beginning of the semester and enter exam dates for each class in one place. This could be a planner or on an on-line calendar. Also add the due dates for your big projects, papers, etc. Once you see all of your due dates in one place it will help you realize ahead of time when you have a lot of things due. That will help you get ahead and not be stressed the a day or two ahead of time.
After you enter your class schedule, enter your work schedule for every week. Enter any organization meetings you have committed to attend or athletic practice, etc. Then enter a specific time or times to study every day. If you write it down, find a comfortable place to study and follow your study schedule, you will establish a good basis for studying. If you leave it to chance, it will be hard to “find the time.” Studying should be #2 on your list after attending class.

A “C” Means Trouble

If you get a “C” on the first exam or a quiz in a class, that means that you are in big trouble. The work will only get harder and there will be a lot more of it. Unless you change your study system or study habits, you are zooming toward an “F.” If this happens, go talk to your instructor during office hours and ask for advice on how to do better. This also helps show your instructor that you really care about the class. You can still get an “A” if you get help. There is free tutoring at NMSU.
Go to:
The Campus Tutoring Service, in Corbett Center, Room 206
For more information or for a complete schedule and tutoring locations available visit

Break a Big Paper/Project in to Pieces

If you are avoiding writing a big paper or another scary assignment, break it into small pieces.
Day One: Just ask yourself to “think of a good topic.” That’s all I need to do today. That isn’t that scary is it?
  1. If it is, that means you probably need to talk to your instructor about potential topics. Then you can pat yourself on the back, good job!?
  2. Day two: “Go to the library and check out books or articles on that topic” or “Find articles on the internet.” That is ALL you ask of yourself that day. If you have a hard time finding materials, go ask a librarian. Finding reference materials is much more complex than it used to be. Even professors need to ask the help of librarians in finding articles and good sources a lot of times. Don’t be embarrassed about asking librarians for help. That is their job. Then you can be proud of yourself that day, you are that much farther done!?
  3. Day three: “Start taking notes from the materials you checked out.” “Start accumulating what actual quotes and passages from these materials you are going to use in your paper.”
  4. Day four: “Looking at your accumulated info…start an outline of the main points of your paper.”
  5. Day five: “If you have questions or concerns about your paper, go talk to your instructor. “You will also earn “brownie points” that could help you get a letter of recommendation from the instructor. By going to discuss a project she/he will get to know you better. You show that you are dedicated to your academic work by taking the time to go talk to your instructor.
  6. Day six: “take all of your references and put them in the form of the style your professor wants,” (MLA, APA, etc.)
  7. Day seven: “Start writing the paper” You have done all the prep work, built your base. Now weave it all together and finish the bibliography.
    Before you know it. You will be done! If you have questions or concerns, take it to your professor or the Writing Center in the English Dept.
If you run into questions or issues, contact an instructor, find a tutor, or simply come by Chicano Programs!