Making the jump from high school to college often can often be an intimidating experience for most incoming freshmen. The environment, the classes, the workload, and the people you interact with drastically change in college. For most students this can be both exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Here are five simple tips from a current college student that will help you prepare for your first year.
Research & Plan Out Your First Year – If you are confident and you know exactly what major you are pursuing then great! Make sure to plan out your first year of classes with prerequisites in mind. Refer to your major’s requirements on your school’s website and schedule an appointment with an advisor if you have any scheduling questions. Be aware some classes are only offered for certain quarters or semesters so preparation matters. If, like many freshman, you are still on the fence on your major, don’t stress out. Figure out what majors you might be interested in and take an exploratory class in that course. Meet with your academic advisor who can help you plan out a typical 4-year plan and can help you figure out what majors might be a good fit for you. Even if you know major you want to pursue it is still a good idea to meet with your advisor as they can provide helpful advice that will make sure you are on track for graduation.
Find the Right Balance – As a first year college student the freedom of college life is often new and exciting but striking the right balance between social life and academics can often be the most difficult part of the transition. Prioritizing your academics is key but maintaining a balance with your social life is often in your best interest. Planning out your assignments and project due dates is a great way to stay on top of what you need to get done. Get your work done early and use your extra time as incentive to enjoy time with friends. Enjoy your college experience but also remember to buckle down during midterms and finals to make sure you are able to meet your academic goals. Maintaining a social life, fulfilling extracurricular interests, and meeting academic goals can be achieved through proper prioritizing. It’s all about balance.
Explore Your Interests – College offers many students various outlets to fulfill their interests and desires. During your freshman year make sure to explore your interests through clubs and organizations on campus. Whether you are interested in sports, music, food, politics, business, or the environment, you are sure to find an organization or group on campus that share your interests. Often the first few weeks of your freshman year are the most common recruiting periods for student organizations on campus. Spend this time exploring different groups to figure out what really interests you. Within these groups you will be able to learn new skills, gain new friends, and will be able to connect with your school in ways that are most meaningful to you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help – College curriculum is meant to be challenging. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors and instructors during office hours if you find yourself overwhelmed during your first year. Instructors are here to help you so be proactive about getting help in classes with content that is difficult for you to understand. Also remember to look up any drop-in tutoring services your school offers and to utilize these resources. Finding a classmate or a friend in the same class and forming a study group is also a great way to tackle a difficult class. Make sure to attend any review sessions for classes you are struggling in. Most importantly your academic success is important so do not be afraid to ask for help and to utilize all the resources your school is providing you. Recruiting services like the National Collegiate Scouting Association can also be very useful. Click here for NCSA Reviews.
Be Aware and Stay Healthy – Your first year at college is likely going to be spent at a dorm which often has a nearby dining hall with buffet-like portions and endless streams of soda. These portions are often limitless and this can often lead to some unhealthy eating habits. Make sure you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating balanced meals and staying active. If you are not participating in any athletic activities, consider going to your gym in your free time, which for most students is either early morning or late afternoons. Eating out is also a major temptation for college students so try to limit how often you eat out each week. Eating healthy, staying active, and getting a good night’s sleep should all be priorities during your first year. Your body and wallet will be sure to thank you.
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