• Course Introduction

        • Time: 40 hours
        • Free Certificate
        This course offers new students an orientation to the college environment. It helps build more capable lifelong learners by combining conceptual knowledge with practical strategies and skills. It will equip you with the basic academic, professional, and personal skills you need to be successful in college.

        In Unit 1, we determine your goals for your college education. Why are you pursuing an undergraduate degree? Knowing your response to this question will help you stay motivated when you encounter challenges during your college experience. In Unit 2, we explore how to manage your personal space and time to maximize your ability to learn. In Units 3 and 4, we consider what it means to be career-ready and understand the importance your social life has in your college success. In Units 5 through 7, we explore the learning process itself and the different skills and tools you can use to improve your academic performance. Units 8 and 9 provide general strategies for communicating with college instructors and managing stress, anxiety, and other factors that affect your academic goals and overall health during college. Unit 10, the final unit of the course, equips you with some tools to help prepare you for a career after college.

        By the end of this course, you will have gained a comprehensive overview of the skills, tools, and resources you will need for a successful, healthy, and happy college experience. You will understand how to apply the concepts we discuss to your individual academic and personal goals and practice the skills you learn by testing them in the college courses you plan to take or are already taking. Finally, you will possess a strong starting point for applying your newfound skills to your job search and career beyond college.

        This course was developed by Lumen Learning, with contributing work from Linda Bruce of Goucher College, Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer and Zack Varpness of Chadron State College, and others.

      • Course Syllabus

        First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

      • Unit 1: Motivating Success

        This unit starts by introducing the core concepts of succeeding in college. It challenges you to examine your personal identity, explore the many types of students you may interact with, envision the kinds of courses you might take, and understand how those courses may be delivered. In this stage-setting unit, we invite you to define success in terms of what it means to you personally. You should measure success by your own standards.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

      • Unit 2: Goal Setting and Time Management

        Unit 2 delves into strategies and techniques for setting your goals and managing your time. You are guided to first define your goals, then assess your physical environment in the context of how it can affect your productivity. Finally, you identify how you use time in your daily life to fulfill commitments and achieve goals. New skills in setting goals and managing time can support your success in college.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

      • Unit 3: Career Exploration

        Unit 3 is an exciting opportunity to examine how your college experience can prepare you for a specific career. This unit will help you distinguish between jobs and careers, give you ideas about college majors you might choose to aim toward a career, and present techniques for building certain skills. As you gain confidence about career possibilities, you learn how to network, how to construct a strong résumé, and how to interview for a job. At the conclusion of this unit, you should have stimulating ideas about attaining your career goals.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

      • Unit 4: Social Interaction and Diversity

        Unit 4 explores relationships between people and groups of people, and ways of keeping those relationships viable. The unit will walk you through the benefits of social interaction, lead to you examine diversity and what that means, and help you identify organized groups available to you on campus. 

        The relationships with others and the support networks you develop as a student will likely serve you long after you leave the classroom.  

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

      • Unit 5: Thinking and Analysis

        Unit 5 centers on the importance of being able to think critically and creatively in order to make judgments and solve problems. What is the difference between the two ways of thinking? Critical thinking analyzes information and roots out the true nature and facets of problems, whereas creative thinking drives progress forward when it comes to solving these problems. To help you gain skills in thinking both critically and creatively, this unit guides you in exploring and applying patterns of thought. It illuminates the value of technology in expanding thinking. By challenging your thinking processes, you grow as a student, a learner, and a thinker.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

      • Unit 6: Learning Styles and Strategies

        Unit 6 focuses on learning styles and strategies to strengthen your learning skills, helping you learn deeper, faster, and more fully. The unit covers how we learn, how to effectively prepare for class, and techniques for active learning, with the aim of giving you tools to expand and retain knowledge. 

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

      • Unit 7: Study Skills

        This unit is a deep dive into studying. What does effective studying entail? You are guided to correlate good study habits with effective reading skills, writing skills, and presentation skills. You are also invited to examine your perceptions about quantitative skills, like those involved with mathematics. Overall, this unit helps you gain new strategies and employ effective techniques for performing well in major types of college assignments.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

      • Unit 8: Beyond the Classroom

        Unit 8 is an exploration of ways to deepen your learning independent of a physical environment like a classroom. For example, do you communicate effectively with your instructors? How wholeheartedly do you approach the learning process? Do you maintain academic honesty in all your college pursuits? And how well do you embrace mistakes as opportunities to learn more? Unit 8 presents multiple concepts, strategies and techniques in these areas to help you gain new skills and attitudes for college success.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

      • Unit 9: Health Management

        Unit 9 is a compendium of recommendations about managing your health and wellbeing in college. Nutrition, good exercise and adequate sleep are vital to this pursuit. But substance abuse, stress, mental health, and sexual health are critical, too, and can mean the difference between staying focused in college or deviating from your intended path of success. Employing safety measures on every level helps you be secure no matter where you are, on or off campus. Your health and wellbeing impact every aspect your life.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

      • Unit 10: Financial Management

        Unit 10 explores how to manage your finances effectively. What are your financial goals, and how do you plan to achieve them? Guidance comes first on how to assess your finances in college. Your financial interests during college years can be enhanced through employment and by learning to save, and to establish and maintain a budget. Credit cards are also considered. The goal of financial management is to be able to carefully weigh the pros and cons of financial alternatives you may face as a college student. Choose the options that are best for you personally.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

      • Course Feedback Survey

        Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

        If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

      • Certificate Final Exam

        Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

        To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

        Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

      • Saylor Direct Credit

        Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.

        The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Credly Badge and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.

        We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!


        1. Desktop Computer
        2. Chrome (v74+)
        3. Webcam + Microphone
        4. 1mbps+ Internet Connection

        Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credly Badge and can request an official transcript.