College Courses – How to Succeed when You’re Struggling

College is a remarkable time in life. For many people it is a first taste of freedom, a chance to explore a new place and meet new people. The imagery of it all can almost make you forget what you’re really there for–to attend classes, get an education, and eventually a degree that will help you succeed in the working world. Occasionally you’ll find college courses that are more challenging than others. Sometimes this is in your major, but often it comes in core requirements such as science, math, or writing courses. You are required to take and pass these classes, so be sure you are prepared to seek out help when you need it.

college subjects

Tutoring for College Courses:

Most colleges and universities will have a tutoring program in place. Some of these are offered for free, others will charge a fee. Typically graduate students or upperclassmen will provide the tutoring sessions. If you are a student athlete or involved in other extra curricular programs, you may have tutoring available to you through those programs. Some college courses many students find challenging may offer tutoring specifically for that course, such as calculus or chemistry. Reach out to your professor, your adviser, or your program representatives to see what options may be available at your school.

Study Groups for College Courses:

You may not be the only person in your class who is struggling. Setting up a study group with your classmates can help you all keep up. While you may understand the first part of a chapter, your classmate may have a better understanding of the second part. Working together, you can work through problems you may struggle to tackle alone. This has the added advantage of sharing a common classroom experience, while a tutor may understand the material, if they weren’t in the class, they may not know what parts were presented poorly, or follow the examples your professor provided. Working with your classmates can help overcome these hurdles.

Writing Centers:

Writing is a huge challenge for some students. Utilizing the writing center can have an incredible impact on your grades. The staff of the writing center can help you with grammar, formatting, and ideas for writing. These are typically free programs staffed by English majors. You can take your assignment to them to plan what you will write, or take a rough draft to have someone work with you on spelling, grammar, and formatting. Whatever you feel your weakness is in writing, the writing center can help you work through it.


Your professor may be your best option for getting help in a college courses. They should have office hours listed on your course syllabus, or be available to make an appointment at a time that works for both of you. You can meet with your professors to go over concepts you’re struggling with, review a test or assignment, or talk about your progress in the class. Your professor is there to help you learn.

Prepare for meetings with your professors. Know what it is you’re struggling with or want to talk to them about. Review the course syllabus so you know their policies, and don’t try to harass them into doing special favors for you. You have to earn your grades through what you learn and how you apply that knowledge. Meeting with a professor should be about improving those areas, not begging for grade bumps or extra credit assignments.

Almost everyone will find some college courses more challenging than others. Knowing what help is available and how to seek it out can greatly improve your chance of success in those classes that don’t come easily to you. Don’t wait for the end of a semester to seek out help. Getting help early in a difficult subject will keep you from falling behind.

Suggested books to help you with your college courses:

College Study Skills: Becoming a Strategic Learner

How to Study in College

College Study: The Essential Ingredients (3rd Edition)

12 Important College Safety Tips for College Students

Your safety and security are important priorities for your college. Even so, you need to take responsibility for your personal safety as well. Unfortunately, not all students are as honest as you. Things do go missing at college. Assaults on college students are also becoming more common. That’s not to say that college campuses are dangerous places. They are not. It would be wise, though, to keep in mind these 12 college safety precautions when you are at college.

College Safety

1. College Safety Starts With Keep Your Dorm Apartment Door Locked

Always lock your dorm apartment door when you go out. Even if you are only going out for a minute or two. Lock the door when you are sleeping too. It’s a simple precaution to take, but it will prevent theft and keep you safe.

2. Get to Know the Campus

Explore the campus during daylight hours and get to know where everything is. Find the fastest and the best-lit route home so that you can use the safest route when it gets dark. Most campuses have emergency phones or call buttons. Find out where they are on your route home as well.

3. Never Leave Valuable Items Unattended

Never leave valuable items like your laptop, phone or tablet unattended. Not even for a few seconds. If you are in a public space and you need to use the bathroom, pack up your belongings and take them with you. It’s a nuisance, but it’s better than having something stolen.

4. Carry a Self-Defense Tool

Buy a self-defense product to carry with you when you go out. Personal alarms and safety whistles will attract attention in an emergency. Pepper sprays are good self-defense weapons, but they are not allowed on all campuses. Check with your college what you can carry on campus before you buy a self-defense product.

5. Load Emergency Contacts into Your phone

Add the local police department and campus security numbers to your phone. Make sure you have your home emergency contact numbers in your phone too. Never be afraid to call for help if you need it. That’s what the police and the campus security staff are there for.

6. Use the Buddy System at Night

Always use the buddy system when you go out at night. Whether you are going out for the evening, going for a run, or going to the library, don’t go out alone when it’s dark.  Wherever you are going at night, you will always be safer going with a friend. If you go with a friend to a party, always come home with them.

7. Buy a Flashlight

Buy a good quality flashlight to take to college. It will come in useful in an emergency if the lights go out in your dorm. You can also carry your flashlight with you when you go out at night. The best types of flashlights are tactical flashlights. They are small, tough, and very bright.

8. Tell Your Friends Your Plans

Tell your friends where you are going and what time you expect to be back. If someone knows what your plans are, they can alert the authorities if they think you may need help. Keep your family informed of your whereabouts as well. You don’t need to report in daily, but they will worry if they don’t hear from you when they were expecting to.

9. Stay Alert for College Safety

When you are walking around campus, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. This is especially important at night. Don’t plug in and zone out! If you are staring at your phone, you will have no idea of what you might be walking into. If you listen to music while walking at night, you won’t hear someone approaching you.

10. Be Careful What You Post on Social Media

Don’t post anything on your social media accounts that you wouldn’t show your mom, and don’t post any personal details. Be especially careful about posting your whereabouts on social media. Posting a picture of you having a great time at a late-night party is not a smart move. Nor is telling the world that you are home alone in your dorm.

11. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol

When you go to parties, don’t drink so much alcohol that you lose control. Alcohol affects your judgment. That could land you into a lot of trouble. Know your limits and stick to them. Even though they shouldn’t, some people will take advantage of you if you get drunk.

12. Always Put Your Safety First

Always make your safety a priority. Avoid dark, deserted places and keep your eyes open for trouble. Most bad situations are avoidable if you see them coming. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and get yourself out of harm’s way.

College Safety Conclusion

When you are in college, surrounded by your friends, it’s easy to let your guard down. Unfortunately, not all the people you meet in college will be as honest and trustworthy as you would hope. Taking these simple steps to protect yourself and your belongings will take no time at all. It will, though, give you peace of mind and let you get on with enjoying the college experience.

Suggested books to help you with college safety:

College Safety 101: Miss Independent’s Guide to Empowerment, Confidence, and Staying Safe

The Her Campus Guide to College Life: How to Manage Relationships, Stay Safe and Healthy, Handle Stress, and Have the Best Years of Your Life

Protect Yourself at College: Smart Choices-Safe Results