Moving from high school into college is a very big transition for any student. It can be a nerve-racking and stressful time, however, there are ways that you can prepare for it before you even step foot in your dorm or a classroom.
From developing your interpersonal skills to researching the academic support available the following tips will help you transition and build a strong, solid foundation for college success:
Think About Your College Funds
If you’re reading this then the chances are, you’ve already settled on a college and know what you are going to study. The next aspect of college you need to think about is how you are going to finance your studies. College can be expensive but it is also very rewarding. Make sure you research all of your undergrad student loan options before you make any commitments.
You will find that your college coursework consists of a vast amount of reading, even more so than required in high school. It’s good practice to get used to this level of reading, so before you start, think about trying to read a little more. It’s not really important what you choose to read, but it might help to choose from recommendations for your intended major subject and of course personal interest.
Look At Potential College Majors
Most colleges don’t expect you to know the college major you’re going to pursue when you first start. However, students should ideally start to think about what they may want to study so you can prepare for course selection. If you’re interested in premed or prelaw, for example, you should make the effort to learn about the routes you are going to have to take to achieve it.
Take some time to explore the different types of academic advising programs that are available at your university of choice. It’s always a good idea to make connections with people who will able to get you on the right track to achieving the goals you want.
Brush Up On Social, Soft, And People Skills
College is certainly going to push you to develop stronger communication skills. From group projects through to communicating with college professors, the ability to communicate well is going to serve you well. It’s going to include social issues too, you may find yourself living in a dorm with several different people that you didn’t know before starting college.
Research your college’s policies on requesting roommates and finding replacements. On top of this, you also need to have strong problem-solving and leadership skills, they are both important qualities for when it’s time to apply for jobs or internships for after graduation. It might be a good idea to enroll in a few courses to teach you soft skills once you’re on campus.
Use Time Management Tools
If you’re not someone who is particularly good with time management, then college may be a struggle. Balancing social demands, the academic side of things and possibly a job can be challenging for even the most diligent student.
There are plenty of ways that you can help to manage this though. Using things such as apps on your smartphone, Google calendar and a handwritten diary can all go a long way into helping you stay organized and well managed. You need to make sure you are writing a schedule and sticking to it as much as possible, make sure you always prioritize your studies above all else.
Consider A Job Carefully
There’s no doubt about it, college is expensive. Your costs go above and beyond just your tuition fees. You should take all costs into consideration such as day-to-day costs like eating out, extracurricular activities, travel and weekend entertainment.
They are all known to at into a lot of students’ budgets. Although a part-time job may alleviate some of your budget strains, it can also take time away from classes. Before you make any final decisions about working through college, you need to speak to your college, write out a complete budget and talk to your family about financial expectations.
Understand How To Keep Safe On Campus
It’s important that you know how to stay safe on campus. Regardless of whether it’s walking back from a night class or from an evening out with your new friends, you need to make sure you keep and feel safe at college.
Of course, you should be using your common sense by being aware of your surroundings and don’t do anything that you know is going to put you at risk, but you should also make yourself aware of how your college handles any safety issues. Both you and your parents should take some time before the semester starts to become familiar with the procedures and resources about campus safety.
Take Advantage Of Orientation Activities
Orientation at college is important. It usually starts in the weeks leading up to classes starting but can sometimes start months before. You should take advantage of this time, it will make you feel more prepared and less anxious about your starting date. Orientation is a great way for you to make friends before you even start, it’s great to begin talking to people and then meeting up again when you arrive on campus.
Make sure you ask plenty of questions and push yourself to be as outgoing as possible. Remember, everyone is in the same boat as you are and are all trying to make friends and get used to their new environment. Try not to be shy, be open to meeting new people. Many colleges offer a first-year experience which enables you to connect with your classmates and the college community.
Find Ways To Get Involved
There are countless opportunities where you can start new hobbies or extend your existing interests. Whether it’s playing an instrument, singing, debating, getting involved in social issues or sport most colleges make it easy to get involved. Try to put together a plan of action for when you arrive, select activities and make sure you don’t miss the sign-up dates.
These tips should help you to get prepared for starting college. Are you starting college soon? What have you done to prepare? Please share your tips below.