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It is not easy for international students to stay on top of their workload, especially when freshmen are in an environment that is far different from their home high school. There is so much free time, many entertainment options and friends that can distract them from finishing homework that is due the next day.

  Once students – particularly new international freshmen – realize that they have done something wrong, their GPA has probably already started going down. Here are a few tips to help you avoid all of that distraction and stay on top of your classes.



  1. Learn how to say no: International students are always under pressure to fit in and to try to befriend as many American students as possible. It's not bad to say yes to every football, basketball game or party invitation – until you figure out that some of your school work is always left undone.

  It is important to keep in mind that you should sometimes learn how to say no when it comes to choosing between work and play. At the end of the day, making friends is important, but what is more important is that you are in the U.S. to study.



  2. Get enough sleep: You often have people telling you about how they stayed up all night to write an essay or study for their tests. Do not be fooled into thinking that these students are hard workers and what they do is what you are supposed to do. A college workload can be heavy, but not so heavy that you cannot find time during the day to get the work done.

  Some international students are not given much freedom at home. They are usually told by their parents to go to bed at a certain time. However, as they come to the U.S., there is no more supervision from their parents. Thus, these students are tempted to stay up very late at night and gradually start performing poorly at school.

  Getting enough sleep is extremely important for your academic performance and your health. Your body needs time to regain its energy, and so does your brain.





  3. Do not waste too much time with entertainment: Spending too much time online with YouTube, Netflix or social media can cause your grades to go down. As students typically have much more free time between classes in college, being productive during that time is much more beneficial than spending it watching videos or checking Facebook.

  Many first-year international students in the U.S. have trouble being far away from their friends and family, thus relying on social media as a source of emotional fulfillment. This is not a bad thing, but spending too much time on social media will not help you improve your English speaking or your social skills, and can hurt your academic performance.




  4. Work smart and complete your tasks ahead of time: Whether it is an essay assignment, a test you are going to take, or a project that is worth 15 percent of your grade, you cannot get them done the day before deadline. It is crucial that you check your syllabus frequently and pay careful attention to what is due, when it is due, and how you can make time for it.

  In my personal experience, those writing an essay two weeks before it is due usually gets a higher score than essays written by students who pull all-nighters to get them done.

  Overall, time is your important asset, and what you do during that time is even more important. You can always seek help from your professors, advisers or even family members. However, you are the last one to decide what you can do, and will make out of your time in college.





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