Six Tips On How To Succeed In College, New Jersey Institute of Technology Provost Advises Freshmen

NEWARK, September 20- Freshman convocations on college campuses may be as common as Indian summer nights in autumn and equally as welcome. No matter the campus or frosh, the first year on a college campus can be bewildering. But advice can help.

“At our convocations, I give our freshmen an idea of what’s ahead and how to better manage their time,” says William Van Buskirk, Ph.D., provost of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). “All colleges are difficult but being in any college, let alone a competitive technological university like NJIT, can be a demanding experience even to seniors. To freshmen, though, it can be downright terrifying. ”

Nevertheless, if freshmen begin their year with strong, productive habits, they will encounter a richer and more rewarding college experience. At NJIT’s recent convocation, Van Buskirk offered the newest class a half dozen practical tips.

1. Work Hard At School
If you are not studying or doing homework for at least two hours for every hour you spend in class, then you are not studying hard enough.

2. Limit Outside Employment
Even if you desperately need the money, you cannot commit yourself to more than 15 hours of outside work and expect to get the most out of college.

3. Join a Study Group
If people ask you to join their group, that’s great. But if no one asks you to join a study group, put together your own. Ask other students, who might have also been left out. You may even make a new friend.

4. Teach Your Study Group
If you can learn the material well enough to teach it to someone else, then chances are you’ll ace the test. Another bonus: You may discover a love of teaching that you never knew you had. Says Van Buskirk: “It was when I was teaching my study group in college that I first understood the great satisfaction that teaching offers.”

5. Befriend A Professor
Every semester get to know well at least one of your professors. By the time you graduate, eight faculty members will not only count you as a friend, but when you need recommendations for graduate school or references for jobs, they can supply them.

To meet professors out of class, visit them during their office hours. And don’t be put off, if a professor seems cold or reserved. “You may be surprised to hear this, but many of my colleagues are simply shy and need you to break the ice,” Van Buskirk says.

6. Play Tourist
Whether you are a city or a country dweller, investigate beyond your college boundaries. Read about your new hometown, and then visit its unique sites.

For Newark, which incidentally happens to be a growing college town, Van Buskirk suggests reading Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, American Pastoral. He also advocates visiting Newark’s famous Ironbound section, the world’s largest Portuguese community outside of Portugal, attending cultural events at the nearby downtown Performing Arts Center, and hopping a train to take advantage of nearby New York City’s vast cultural offerings.


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Public Relations
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