The 5 Biggest Mistakes College Kids Make . . . And How Parents Can Help Students Avoid Them

From USA Weekend – Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman • August 8, 2010

Soon, more than 3 million students will start
college. Here are the five most common mistakes
freshmen make and how parents can set their kids
on the path to success:

Problem: Cutting classes.
Many students figure they can miss six, eight, 10
lectures in each course and still do well.

Fix:
Encourage your child to take responsibility. Point
out that on average, each lecture is 3% of the course
and 1/350th of tuition cost ($35,000 tuition equals
$100 a lecture, and $7,000 tuition equals $20 a
lecture).

Problem: Overloading.
Some students make it a point of pride to take as
many courses as allowed.

Fix:
Urge your child to sign up for the standard course
load and concentrate on doing well in those. Point
out that employers won’t be impressed by quantity.

Problem: Oversurfing.
Students spend hours a day on Facebook, Twitter
and YouTube, then complain that they don’t have
enough time for studying.

Fix:
Encourage your student to set up “media-free”
zones each day.

Problem: Procrastinating.
Many students believe in “no work before its time.”
Then they pull all-nighters when the crucial test or
term paper is due.

Fix:
Impress on your child that careful planning and
time management are essential to success in
college, and that without parents and teachers to tell
him what to do and when to do it, his success is in
his own hands.

Problem: Going it alone.
Many students shy away from visiting their
professors. As a result, they end up blowing a test
or paper.

Fix:
Be sure students understand that professors must
hold twice-weekly office hours and that they want
you to help you do well.

Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman are authors of the new book