In the next few months many of you, our graduating seniors, will be leaving for college. It’s an exciting time filled with anticipation and likely some apprehension. It’s the start of a new journey where you will have the opportunity to explore new possibilities and discover amazing new things about yourself, too! These next few years are about exploration, discovery, and ultimately goal accomplishment: whether those goals are academic, career, and/or personal growth, the outcome is up to you.
Academics are just one piece of the puzzle. It is also time to explore and pursue your passions, meet new and interesting people, and set your direction for the future.
Armed with solid college advice for freshmen, the transition from high school to college can feel less intimidating. Plus, a lot of the advice you find here can help throughout your college experience. So, are you ready to get started?
- LIVING IN DORMS – Living in dorms – if possible – is a great way to make lasting friendships and memories, plus you may have additional opportunities to get involved in specific activities. It is important, though, to pay close attention to the roommate selection process! Be very honest about your habits, likes, and dislikes. Having a good match can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your living situation which can impact your overall happiness.
- GET TO KNOW YOUR PROFESSORS – Coasting by in the back of the classroom isn’t a great way to get the most out of your college experience. If you want your professors to know you and help you succeed in their class, you need to develop a good relationship with them. Go to class, stop in during office hours, and remember: professors are key to providing references and connecting you with great internships or career opportunities!
- SPICE UP YOUR CULINARY LIFE! DINING HALL FOOD CAN GET BORING – While many campuses have ramped up their culinary offerings, it can get a little mundane after a while. Great ways to help combat this issue are to purchase food from the grocery store, take up cooking as a hobby, or try new dining halls or restaurants a little further from your dorm!
- PRACTICE HEALTHY HABITS – Your daily choices are important. Before your freshman year of college begins, practice the healthy habits that you value. Get up on-time for your classes, and start on your exercise and nutrition plans. SET A ROUTINE – Thing you can expect in college are late-night events and pop-up opportunities, so you will need some flexibility, but having somewhat of a routine can make all the difference in college! A little bit of structure can go a long way.
- USE YOUR RESOURCES AND COUNT ON SOME CHALLENGES – From your RA to your counselors, your resources are there to help you thrive. You can start now by talking to your admissions counselor, and getting any lingering questions answered. Remember that seeking help when you need it is a sign of strength, not weakness. Most colleges offer Freshman Year Experience support, and free counseling is always available.
- SAVE $ ON TEXTBOOKS – With textbooks that can run around $200 a piece, preparing for the semester can get expensive quickly. Luckily, there are a few alternatives. You can try to buy textbooks from students who have already taken the course at a discounted price, or try used books from the campus bookstore. You can also try to rent your textbooks from the campus bookstore or online.
- AMAZON PRIME™ IS A FRIEND – You WILL need things over the course of the semester that you didn’t realize. Amazon Prime™, with a discounted student membership fee, can save you in your times of need. You can have books, school supplies, or dorm necessities delivered to your dorm. Once you are outside of your house and need to be self reliant it might help!
- SPOTIFY® IS ALSO A GREAT FRIEND – You can get a discount on a Spotify® Premium subscription for being a student! Whether you’re creating a playlist with your roommate, tuning people out while you study, or just relaxing in your room, ad-free music is a great idea for any college student.
- NETWORK – You may not think you need to network until you’re searching for a job, but every person you meet could be that connection you need down the road. Cast a wide net and meet new people, learn their names, and take interest. Successful networking is a valuable skill.
- STAY SAFE – This may be the first time you are away from home for an extended period, and you want to remain safe. Take notice of your surroundings. Have emergency numbers programmed in your phone. Always walk with a buddy at night or find out if your campus offers free night time rides. Attend any campus safety seminars. There is a lot to learn, so take precautions to keep yourself out of potentially unsafe situations.
- IT’S OK TO BE HOMESICK – And it’s okay not to be. First-year excitement and homesickness can exist simultaneously. When you feel the stress of being in a new place, realize that the other freshmen may feel similarly, and remember that upperclassmen were once in your shoes.
College life will offer extraordinary opportunities along with many challenges. Be aware that if you’re struggling in a class or something major is going on in your personal life, campuses have many resources for students who need assistance, including counseling, academic assistance, or just friendly advice from your advisor. Don’t try to go it alone. Join clubs and participate in activities outside the classroom to meet new people. Enjoy the journey and be grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn! It will be great!
All my best,
Christina Assal, M.A. Certificate in College Planning
P.S. We recommend reading: The Naked Roommate and 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College, Author – Harlan Cohen (Harlan Cohen also offers pre-recorded Ted Talks and Webinars on-line)