Never skip a study time. Always sit down at your station at study time. Do this even if you don’t have pressing homework to complete. Keeping a regular schedule will help prevent procrastination. If you find yourself sitting at your desk and looking at your books, but not reading, remind yourself that you only have to study for a short amount of time. Set a timer. At the end of that time, close the book and give yourself a break.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

Appreciate your summers and use them wisely. Don’t let the system brainwash you into thinking that you need to do something this summer to get that internship next summer, which will lead to that other internship and then That Job. Travel to Japan or Patagonia, write a book, read, spend time with family, learn a new language or skill, follow things that interest you, that cliché but wise voice in your heart.
While you might think “duh, that’s obvious,” a reliable Internet connection is not always available in your area or deemed too expensive. You’ll need to have a cable modem or a fast DSL connection in order to connect to your courses. Reliable is the key word here. If your Internet connection has a tendency to crash your browser or drop altogether, you’ll need to diagnose the source of a problem or find a new way to access the Web.
Never skip a study time. Always sit down at your station at study time. Do this even if you don’t have pressing homework to complete. Keeping a regular schedule will help prevent procrastination. If you find yourself sitting at your desk and looking at your books, but not reading, remind yourself that you only have to study for a short amount of time. Set a timer. At the end of that time, close the book and give yourself a break.
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A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group (and be careful not to go overboard) -- student organizations, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or sports teams. You'll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.
Since a large part of online coursework will be in written form, there is an opportunity to submit well-written, polished work that will positively impact your grades. Good grammar and correct punctuation will help convey your message accurately, and it’s always a good idea to be clear and concise in your writing. I suggest reading Write to the Point by Bill Stott for direction in good writing.
A lot of problems first-year students face can be traced back to an illness that kept them away from classes for an extended period of time that led to a downward spiraling effect. Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right. If you haven't heard the jokes about college food, you soon will. And without mom or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra fries or cookies. Stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra "Freshman 15" pounds by sticking to a balanced diet.

I was/am a nontraditional student (about five to seven years older than most students at my university), so this was not quite in my realm, but I was often jealous of the many opportunities afforded to these students. Yes, you have to go to social events. Yes, you might get categorized as a snob or fill-in-the-inappropriate-name-blank, but you really can benefit from the social network and resources (such as old tests).

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