THE BLOG
12/14/2015 06:22 pm ET Updated Dec 14, 2016

5 New Year's Resolutions for College Students

Amidst the end-of-year celebrations and the excitement of winter vacation, many college students start looking to the future, whether to plan their next semester or their eventual career. Setting college resolutions in the final days of December can help you turn that planning into positive results. As you celebrate the New Year, consider these five resolutions:

1. Participate in a new extracurricular activity
This resolution is perfect for any college student, and winter break is an ideal time to research the various extracurricular activities on your campus. However, if you are unsure about where to begin, consider joining a club that relates to your major and that completes real-world projects. This type of work can be a great addition to your in-class education, and it may even make you more qualified for future jobs or internships.

2. Create a weekly study plan
By now, you have likely finished at least one full semester of classes--which means that December is a great time to think about what went well and what did not. How often did you cram for tests? Were you scrambling to finish projects the day before they were due? How did this affect your grades?

You can avoid such last-minute work with a bit of planning. Consider forming a weekly study plan for each of your spring courses so that you can stay current on exams, projects, and readings.

3. Schedule regular meetings with your advisor
Most colleges assign their students an advisor. However, advisors are often busy, and yours may not reach out to you. Resolving to schedule regular meetings with your advisor can help you succeed academically, as advisors can provide you with insight on which classes to take when in order to graduate on time (or early). They can also help you balance the demands of a minor or a double major. Get to know your advisor early in your college career, and aim to earn his or her respect, as your advisor may even be able to point you toward or recommend you for jobs, internships, or graduate schools.

4. Schedule at least one meeting with a career counselor
Many schools also maintain career development offices that can help you understand and hone the necessary skills for your prospective career. Career counselors can help you search for internships, polish your resume, and network with professionals. In fact, organizations that are seeking interns or entry-level candidates often reach out to career development offices.

5. Develop a personal five-year plan
Unfortunately, there is no one meeting with an advisor or career counselor, no one course or extracurricular activity, that will magically lead to success in your academic and professional careers. The above resolutions are instead most powerful when you take the time to develop a five-year plan for yourself.

For instance, are you interested in graduate school? Where do you picture yourself living and working? Answering questions like these can better inform your conversations with advisors and career counselors, and your responses can clarify what steps you should take next to achieve your goals.