12 Steps to Success

The following are helpful hints to get you through Mission College.

Healthy Habits

Good health is one of the most important attributes of a successful student and an area that many students overlook. If you are sick, you will be more likely to struggle with concentration and do worse on your tests and exams than you could.  Here are some tips for staying healthy while in college.

  • Eat a healthy diet:  eat breakfast, keep healthy snacks around, drink plenty of water.
  • Get regular exercise:  ride your bike or walk to class, take a PE class, join a gym with a friend.
  • Ensure you get enough rest:  take naps, stick to a schedule, avoid all nighters.
  • Avoid illness:  get a flu shot, wash your hands often, see a doctor if needed.
  • Reduce stress:  put limits on work hours, give yourself a break, find time for hobbies.
  • Care for your emotional health:  create new friendships, expect things to change, ask for help.

Connections Across Campus

Establishing a support network is critical for college success.  No one can do it alone! 

  • Form a study group.  Your classmates may understand topics or concepts you missed.
  • Get to know your instructors.  They can help answer questions about class, write letters of recommendation or share experiences studying and working in your major.
  • Visit the student services offices.  You’ll get additional assistance and support, stay current on essential information, and get leads on special programs, jobs, or scholarships.
  • Make friends.  Finding friends that share similar goals and interests can keep you on track to your goals.

Career Services

You might be in college, but all your work is meant to prepare you for a rewarding and successful career.  There are tons of career services available on campus to help develop a competitive resume even before you graduate.

  • Visit the Career Center.  They can help you explore various career options and learn about pay, occupational outlook, job requirements, and necessary educational preparation.
  • Take a career exploration class through the Counseling Department.  You’ll take self-assessments that identify careers that may suit you well.  You’ll get information about the occupational outlook of various jobs.  You’ll get help making a decision on which major and career to pursue.
  • Take advantage of job placement resources.  Employers post open positions and meet with students on campus.
  • Have your resume reviewed by a Career Advisor in the Career Center.  Make sure it’s polished and ready for your next job interview.

Time Management

Time is one of our most important resources. Effective time management is a skill most people need to make the most out of their personal and professional lives. It can make the difference between a mediocre and superior performance.

  • Use a planner or electronic calendar.  Note all important dates, deadlines, and events.
  • Create a weekly priority list.  Before each school week begins, prepare a weekly priority list that takes into account both short and long-term assignments. List those things that you both need and want to accomplish during the week.
  • Look for ways to save time.  Carry pocket work so you can study while waiting in lines or eating alone.  Put your phone away while studying.


Taking the time to complete an assessment test is essential to a good start to your college career.  Assessing your skills and abilities will ensure you take courses appropriate to your needs.  You’ll build a strong foundation for your educational journey.

  • Take all the assessments you need as early as possible.
  • Meet with a counselor to review your results.  Determine if they accurately reflect your abilities and how those results guide your educational pathway.
  • By completing assessment, you’ll be one step closer to earning priority registration.


Research shows that those students completing a college orientation have greater success.  Orientations ensure students have the foundational tools necessary to make informed choices about their education.  And, students learn to navigate the college environment, understand campus procedures, and are familiar with services available.

  • Enroll in an orientation class through the Counseling department.  COUNS 00A, 001, 005, 023 and 145B all satisfy this requirement.
  • By completing orientation, you’ll be one step closer to earning priority registration.

Educational Plans

Extensive research has documented the importance of informed education planning to set incoming students on a pathway to a successful outcome and build early momentum for their success.

  •  Schedule an appointment with a counselor to develop a comprehensive ed plan.  It will be your roadmap for your educational goals.
  • Meet with your counselor at least once per year to update your plan, verify that you’re still on track, learn about any changes to requirements, and make any adjustments to your plan that might be needed.

Financial Aid

Visit the Financial Aid office for help. Research indicates that those students receiving financial aid are often more successful in college courses, particularly in basic skills classes. Take advantage of the financial support that is there for you.  Managing your finances while in college will help take some of the stress off so you can focus on school.

  • Complete a financial aid application, the FAFSA, every year in January or February.  Even if you don’t qualify for grant money, you may receive a fee waiver or even find you qualify for a scholarship.
  • Consider applying for special programs like CalWORKs or EOPS.  These programs also provide various forms of financial assistance for students that qualify.
  • Apply for a work study position if you are eligible.  The salary earned through work study is considered financial aid.  It’s a great way to make connections on campus, build your resume, and earn extra income.

Early Alert

Early Alert notices from instructors are a quick way to get feedback on how you’re doing in your classes.  Instructors can let you know if you are in jeopardy of earning a low grade due to absences or difficulties with quizzes and assignments.  The goal of early alert is to help you get help as soon as possible.

  • Look for early alert notices around the 6th week of the semester.  You will receive an email from the college.
  • Meet with your instructors to ask more about how you’re doing and what you can do to improve your grade.
  • Follow-up with a counselor.  Talk about strategies you can use to improve your study skills or support services that may address any challenges you are facing.

Transfer Services

Identifying a college goal early in your educational journey is important.  Those students intending to transfer must navigate not just the community college system, but the university admissions procedures as well.  Connecting with the transfer services available will help you sort through the complex and ever-changing admissions processes.

  • Visit the Transfer Center to explore various colleges and universities that offer degrees in your major.  Consider applying out-of-state or internationally. The Transfer Center can help you choose your best options.
  • Take a counseling class such as COUNS 007 to help you understand and prepare for the application process.
  • Meet with your counselor regularly to establish and update your educational plan.
  • Attend transfer fairs or meet with university representatives when they come on campus.
  • Participate in virtual advising by viewing webinars and holding live chats with university representatives.
  • Visit 4-year schools whenever possible to get a sense of what that campus and community are really like.

Goal Setting

How can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you want to be?  Having clear academic and career goals helps student attach meaning to all the hard work and sacrifice they put into their courses. 

  • Take a career exploration or study skills course through the counseling department.  These courses will help you explore academic and career options.  They will also provide guidance how to make wise decisions.  The sooner you declare a major, the more focused you’ll be.
  • Take advantage of student support programs such as MESA, the Career Center, the Transfer Center, or the ACCESS Program.  These programs offer supplemental services to help you gather information and make informed decisions.
  • Talk to family friends and others in your social network.  Their personal understanding of who you are can provide insight into your strengths and help shape your goals.  They may know of prospects for internships or volunteer work that could provide an opportunity to test out various options.  Real-life experience is one of the best ways to know if a major or career is right for you.


Leadership is a skill you’ll use for your entire life.  Universities and employers are looking for students that can take on tasks and see them to completion.  They want students that can work well in groups and bring out the potential of their team members.

  • Get involved on campus.  Consider joining a club or the Associated Student Government.
  • Pursue an internship or volunteer work.  Check out www.volunteermatch.org.  These organizations will help you craft your skills and you’ll learn from professionals you observe.
  • Find a mentor.  Leaders in your chosen profession are often happy to share their knowledge and guide you in developing your leadership qualities.