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Success at University Means Recognizing and Avoiding the Pitfalls

Achieving success at university by avoiding the pitfalls Success at university comes easier for some people than others.

Success at university is never a guarantee

There are obvious things – like aptitude – which factor in. If you are an economic or engineering major, and mathematics is something you are just naturally good at, you are going to have an easier time at it than the person who has to spend 4 hours in the library following every lecture going over that day’s class. But university can get the best of even the most talented, most intellectually gifted people. When most people enter university straight out of high school, they are entering, for the first time in their lives, a world where they are left almost entirely to their own devices; where they must sink or swim on their own merits – no concerned teachers, no family invigilation or oversight; just you.

If you are a new university student, or are soon to be one, below are some of the pitfalls to avoid at school if you want to maximize your chances of success, and ensure that your university experience is one you look back on with fond memories and an appreciation for what it took.

Partying to much

Some people get to university and are overwhelmed by the options for socialization and hedonism. If you go to a large school (especially one that has a reputation for parties), there will likely be something going on every single night of the week. Frosh, and other such opening weeks can seem like a dreamland where every night is a new adventure. New, young, interesting people from all over the world, a seemingly endless lineup of potential romantic partners, games, concerts, pub crawls – it is all very easy to get caught up in it. But staying grounded during the first couple weeks of school is crucial.

In 2008, 150,000 freshmen students were predicted to drop-out of college because of their drinking. That is not to say you can’t go out for a few drinks with your friends, but if you find it becoming an everyday occurence, or if you know for a fact that you failed to show up for class, or failed to turn in an assignment on time because you chose to go out partying instead of getting your work done, you should rein it in quick. It is easier than you think for bad habits to become normalized, and if letting loose on Friday and Saturday starts to become Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday, it might be time to ask someone you trust, who will give it to you straight, whether or not your partying is out of control.

Aimless wandering

It is unfortunate, but true: many university students spend years at school and tens of thousands of dollars (of their own money, their family’s, or borrowed) to learn very little, in disciplines they aren’t interested in. A university education shouldn’t be something you get because you think it’s expected of you; you should want one because you think it will make you a more complete person. Aimless wandering is common on university campuses, and it can eat you alive.

Which is why it is important to know that you can, and if you feel completely listless in your current area of study, should, change your major. Expecting new students to already have the next four years of their lives completely mapped out and set in stone is an unfairly tall order. You enter university not really knowing much about what is out there in terms of academic opportunities, and find out, along the way, what you are really interested in. That is why first year (unless you have chosen something in the STEM fields) is typically full of elective courses. You are meant to test the waters and find out what you really like. If you think you want to major in economics, but find yourself captivated by your urban planning, or a social work course, follow your heart and your passion.

Competing demands

A 2009 Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “Why do Students Drop Out? Because They Must Work at Jobs Too,” contends that 71 percent of students surveyed in their study consider work to be a factor in their decision to drop out, and more than half considered it a major factor. Life is full of disparities. Not everyone has the luxury of a family that is able and willing to pay for some, most, even all of their university education. As the cost of postsecondary education has skyrocketed over the last several decades, the financial burden of an education has become prohibitive for many smart, hardworking, talented students.

Many students take up part-time, even full-time work in some cases, in order to help pay the bills. But full-time school does not really allow for much else. Trying to work a part-time job while attending school full-time is asking a lot from students, and the stress, even the failure to make ends meet can be crushing. If you are a student who is attempting to do both, there will likely be times, especially during midterms and final exam season, when you will be asked to simultaneously fulfil work and school obligations, and it simply won’t be possible. If that is the case, consider contacting a professional essay writing company to help lighten the load.

More students graduate university than drop out, so clearly starting and finishing an undergraduate degree is not overly-difficult. You might be forced to take a break for a semester while you collect yourself, or while you save-up enough money to continue your studies, but with dedication, effort, and your natural talent, a four year program should be something you enjoy, and something you look back on with fond memories, and newfound knowledge. If you find yourself struggling, and need a boost while you get back on track, Homework Help Global’s professional custom essay writing service can help ensure you are always set up for success at university.


Ashburn, E. (2009). “Why do Students Drop Out? Because They Must Work at Jobs Too.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from:

Clyde, B. (2008). “Alcohol is a Big Factor in College Dropouts.” Mustang News. Retrieved from: