After your parents have dropped you off at college and have headed back home, you may experience a slight shutter of apprehension. However, you will get off on the right foot and feel more comfortable with this new and important experience, if you pay close attention to and act on the eight suggestions that follow.

Make Friends - Smile! Be Friendly! Talk to everyone. Do things in groups. Include everyone anytime you go somewhere or do something. Accept people who are different from you. Try to understand the differences. Look for the best in others. The more friends you make in the early days of college, the easier the transition will be.

Explore the Campus - As a group, walk around campus and around town. Find out where everything is located. Learn about the various campus departments, interesting locations (the library, the gym and the pool), activities, organizations and potential employment opportunities. Go to town with a few friends. Check out the shopping, theater and recreational opportunities. In the early going, get out of your dorm. Make a point of going to a variety of campus and community events and activities. Laugh! Have some fun.

Search for a Direction - Check out the fields that already hold some interest for you. Recognize that it is important to select a field of study where you will enjoy the work, one that is in line with your talents and skills. Do some research. Talk to others about your options and opportunities. You can talk with upper class students, alumni, career counselors, employers or faculty advisors and staff members.

Keep Your Grades Up - As you move through your freshman year, it is important to keep up with your grades. Be willing to put in the time, effort and actions necessary to achieve good grades. Since it is easy to stray toward a less demanding path, it takes much discipline to avoid the pitfalls of college life.

Deal With Your Fears - Everyone has fears. You may fear failure, speaking in public, voicing your opinions in class, taking on a leadership role, meeting new people, joining a club or a million other things. Take some small risks, so you can try a few new things. Only by occasionally getting out of your comfort zone can you begin to grow and expand your possibilities for the future. Few people, if any, have achieved great things by staying in their comfort zone 100% of the time. The only way to deal with your fears is to take action, change your behavior and move in a new direction.

Develop a Healthy Curiosity - Curious people are people who learn and grow. They read, research, ask questions, closely observe, experiment, learn from others and regularly try new things. A healthy curiosity is essential for success. College is the ideal place for students to begin to discover and become who they really are.

Operate With a Positive Attitude - The attitude you present to the world tells others who and what you are. Since we all need other people to help us move toward success, it is extremely important for students to present a friendly, upbeat, helpful attitude to the outside world. When that happens, others will be attracted to these positive words, behaviors and traits.

Develop Your Plan of Action - Once you select a direction, create a written plan. Lay out the steps that will lead you to your goal (a great job or acceptance to graduate school). The odds for success are greatly increased when you clearly understand what and how much has to be done, by when. As you move up the ladder of success, you will find that it is highly unlikely that you can regularly achieve your most important goals by winging it.

Most of the time, success is a choice that you make. Since you have the ability to succeed in college and beyond, these recommendations can help to ensure that you begin your college experience with the right approach. When you follow a few sensible suggestions and keep a eye toward your educational and career goals, you will find that your college experience is positive, fun and rewarding.

Visit Bob’s web site: Bob Roth is the author of The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College -and- The College Student’s Guide To Landing A Great Job.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Roth, a former campus recruiter, is the author of The College Student's Guide To Landing A Great Job -and- The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College. Known as The "College & Career Success” Coach, Bob also writes articles for nearly 200 College Career Services Offices, Campus Newspapers, Parent Associations and Employment Web Sites. Additionally, Bob has developed 20 Self-Scoring Learning Tools that help college students find success. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs across the country and also by many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal. Lastly, Bob serves as an Adjunct at Marist College, teaching a course in Career Development.