Students are on their way to their first year of college and looking forward to all of the exciting things they’ll learn and all the new people they get to meet. In this first adult stage of life many students find the transition to be somewhat overwhelming and end up feeling unprepared. These feelings can take away from the many positive elements of the college experience so it’s better to think about what students can do in order to prepare ahead of time and smooth the transition to post-secondary education.
- Dorm life
Most college freshman will stay in the dorm, which can be a fun social experience or give students something to complain about. One of the best ways freshmen can prepare for this experience is to meet up with their roommates ahead of time. Many universities provide contact information so that students can meet up in person or on social media and get to know each other before move-in day. It’s essential for students to compare schedules and set a few ground rules so they have a chance to sleep and study in addition to their social living experience.
- Scheduling and organization
One of the biggest issues college freshmen will face is dealing with organization 100% on their own. Students will not have teachers reminding them when things are due or going over assignment parameters in class in the same way they were used to in high school. Students will need to figure out how to get from one class to another on time and organize all of their assignments and test dates in order to succeed academically. This is not something best left to trial and error so students are encouraged to figure out something that works for them in advance of their first day of class.
- The syllabus
The class syllabus offers students some of the most valuable information they will receive all semester yet many students only look over it briefly. The syllabus will include an important list of due dates and testing information for the entire semester. Students are encouraged to keep a copy of the syllabus with their class folder as well as keep a separate copy in their dorm to refer to at any time. It’s also essential for students to keep track of any changes the professor may make throughout the term and update their syllabus accordingly.
- Plan to meet new people
New students will have an opportunity to meet new people from every background and walk of life, something they should definitely take advantage of. Living on campus helps students broaden their horizons and learn about different cultures on a daily basis. Freshmen are definitely encouraged to join a club or organization where they can enjoy one of their personal interests while meeting peers outside of their classroom environment.
- Get to know the professor or TA
Many new college students feel nervous talking to the professor or teaching assistant, but getting to know educators is an important element of adjusting to college. When students go to office hours or study sessions led by the professor they have the opportunity to get insider information and learn more about any particular subject. It’s especially important to attend office hours for classes within the student’s major field of study so they can easily excel in these courses which will eventually help them get a foot in the door to their future career field.
Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerd. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.