You made it! You worked hard, got admitted to college and graduated from high school. And your family, NSBE Jr. advisors and peers, teachers and community are applauding you! I am, too!

But now what?

Here are a few words of advice to prepare you for the next stage of your academic journey: college.
 
Get a Purpose. A few years ago, a researcher friend and I discovered that one difference between successful college students and those who had a mediocre experience is in their goals. In other words, one group set their sights on getting to college. Once they got there, they flamed out partly because they set their bar too low. The other group, however, set their goal at getting through college and securing a career. These students who had higher aspirations were those who did much better academically, sought out opportunities for professional and personal growth and took full advantage of what their college had to offer. What’s your goal? To be successful, set a goal to finish strong, and develop a sense of purpose for your college years. Once you do, you’ll feel like you’re flying with a strong tailwind. It’ll also help you avoid distractions, which will be many in college.
 
Build Relationships. College and life were not intended to be a lonely journey. In my own research, I found that the students who were most successful in college had two types of relationships: 1) They had good relationships with their faculty and administrators; and 2) they were engaged on campus and had a strong peer network. To be successful in college…and in life, you have to build relationships in both dimensions. And, like plants and animals, relationships need to be cultivated for them to grow. Spend time with your faculty outside of class, during office hours for instance, or on a research project. Utilize study groups among like-minded friends and classmates. Stay connected with your family. And join the NSBE chapter! Invest in relationships that matter, and divest of those that don’t.
 
Discover Your Identity! If someone asked you to complete the sentence, “I am _____,” what would you say? Probably your name, right? That’s how most of us would respond. But what if you couldn’t use your name? What attributes would you highlight? I discovered that students who are successful in college are those who know how to answer that question. They are most secure in their racial and ethnic identity. They’re comfortable in their skin and know who they are. They’ve filled in the blank. Discover your multidimensional you to the point that you can finish the statement with a clear voice, “I am ____.”
 
Plan, Plan, Plan. Another thing that separates the exceptional students from all others is their ability to plan — by the semester, by the week and by the day. Planning your work and working your plan are essential to success in college…and in life. For instance, many of my former students used to plan their week on a Thursday night so they knew how to utilize their weekends. Take the time to plan how you’ll attack your work, because “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”
 
If it hasn’t occurred to you, my advice formed an acronym: GRIP. To be successful in college, and to avoid being a pawn in this next important chapter of your life, get a GRIP: Get Purpose, Build Relationships, Discover Your Identity, and Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan!
 
Finally, please know that your NSBE chapter members will be there to urge you to succeed…or, more accurately, EXPECT you to succeed!
You made it! You worked hard, got admitted to college and graduated from high school. And your family, NSBE Jr. advisors and peers, teachers and community are applauding you! I am, too!

But now what?