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The first four weeks of each semester are critical in setting yourself up for success. Even small acts can make a big difference in finding your place on campus and getting a strong start.

The research-based ideas below are proven to make a difference in student success during the first four weeks of the semester and beyond. Choose one or two from each category to implement this semester. Then add more next semester, and the next – right up until graduation!

connect iconBuild Relationships and Connect

Connect with faculty, students and staff to develop your Columbus State network. Building your network at Columbus State expands your support system as you make progress toward the academic, career, and financial goals you’ve set for yourself.

  • Learn your instructors’ names.
  • Introduce yourself to your instructors before or after class or using your Columbus State email account.
  • Read the syllabus for each class and put important dates on your calendar/planner.
  • Get to know students in your classes so you have study partners in the future.
  • Ask and answer questions in class. Show your instructor that the class is important to you.
  • Get to know your Academic Advisor and meet with them to plan your path to graduation.
  • Sign up for Cougar Connect at so that you are aware of opportunities to connect with other students and faculty through workshops, leadership programs, student groups, clubs and more.
  • Attend a campus event or performance to be a part of the campus community.

Engage iconEngage and Stay Encouraged

Contribute in your classes and invest in your own learning by actively participating in campus events and classroom activities and assignments. Reflect on your achievements and your goals. Remember why you made the decision to invest in yourself. You are creating your future!

Active Learning

  • Show up to class! Don’t miss any classes. Being present is critical to your success.
  • Before class, write down three questions from the materials so you are ready to participate.
  • Respond to questions from the instructor. It may be outside of your comfort zone but the more you do it, the easier it will be.
  • Ask for clarification or examples when you don’t understand a topic. Chances are, if you don’t understand something, other students are struggling with the same thing. Be the one who speaks up (your classmates will thank you!)
  • When reviewing for test, create your own activities to help you work with the materials. Flash cards work for many students, but everyone learns differently. Try different methods and be patient with yourself as you find the techniques that work best for you.
  • Discuss what you are learning with friends, classmates, and family members.


  • Log into Blackboard (Bb) daily to work on assignments, review deadlines, check for updates and read announcements. Bb is Columbus State’s web-based course information for online and many face-to-face classes and can be accessed at
  • Get answers to your questions about technology in the Computer Commons in the TL Building on the Columbus Campus, the Learning Center in Moeller Hall on the Delaware Campus or by calling 614-287-5050. Watch for technology workshops offered at the start of every semester.
  • Use CougarWeb to check your Financial Aid status, update your address or phone, make payments, and also to find links to common forms and information.
  • Check your student email account every day. You don’t want to miss important last minute emails from your instructors.

Communicate, Celebrate, and Aspire

Believe in yourself and stay focused on your goals. Your instructors and professors have high expectations of you and you are capable of meeting (or exceeding!) them. Learning is a process and is different for each person. You belong here and will achieve success by inspiring yourself and others to keep moving forward.

  • Stay motivated to accomplish things. Start each day reminding yourself why you are in college and why it is important to you and your family.
  • Everyone has doubts from time to time. If you get discouraged, sit down and write a list of all the good things you know about getting an education. What does it mean to you and your family?
  • Seek out the positive and encouraging people in your classes. Get to know them. The more you hang out with those who are motivated, the more you will motivate one another!
  • Treat each class as a new opportunity! Go prepared and ready to learn. Be excited about the material because that class is going to get you to the next one and closer to your goals.
  • Do a countdown to graduation by marking down the days each semester so you can see your own progress and know that it is getting closer. Know that graduation and future successes are within your grasp.
  • Inspiring others will help you stay motivated. Look around you and see who needs a confidence boost today and reach out to them.

Achieving the Dream



First 4 Weeks