Going to college can be both exciting and scary for many first-year students. If you’re nervous, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for college life.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some things you can do to prepare yourself.
How to Prepare for College Life
You graduated high school and have been accepted into college. You have decorations for your dorm room, toured the campus, and purchased books for your first semester of college. You may be thinking you are prepared for college.
While these are good first steps, they are not the only steps.
College life encompasses your personal connections, academic requirements, financial support and having fun. College life is defined by everything from where you live, where you study, where you work and where you play.
Here’s how to prepare for college.
Work on Your Social Skills
You cannot attend college and avoid socializing. Throughout your day you will encounter professors, roommates, classmates, fellow residents, and administrative staff.
It’s important you learn to communicate well, behave appropriately, and form positive relationships with a diverse group of people. These relationships can help shape the time you spend in college.
Time management provides structure that is much needed for success in college. It helps you stay on track with your class assignments, your social activities and all other important responsibilities.
You can start time-management today by keeping a detailed schedule. There are plenty of apps you can download on your smartphone. You can also purchase a day planner created specifically for students.
Time management can include setting short-term and long-term goals, as well as mapping out the steps to reach those goals.
College life is full of stress. Every area of your life is causing some form of stress. You are most likely putting stress on yourself, striving to get top grades, while also being social, and working to stay within your budget.
Learning and implementing stress-management techniques before you start college can help you when you make the transition into your freshman year. Stress-management can range from deep breathing, exercising, and journaling to meeting with a counselor. Find what works for you.
Attending orientation is a must. The college puts forth a great deal of effort to provide you with invaluable information. They train orientation leaders to show you how to register for classes, departmental resources, introduce you to professors, learn the rules of the school, and tour the campus.
You can also meet your fellow freshmen and start making social connections, which are also very important.
Join a Club
There are many clubs and groups to join on campus. Pick one, not multiple, that matches your passion and enjoyment. If you love politics, join the student body. If you love gaming, join a group that focuses on gaming. If you want to avoid the party scene, join a group of sober friends who know how to have fun without drugs and alcohol.
If there is no club that currently suits you, start one of your own.
Joining a club not only helps relieve stress through positive connections, but it looks good on your resume too.
Know All Campus Resources Available
You may have gone through high school without needing any assistance, academic or personally. But college is different. The professors do not know you or your learning style like your high school teachers do.
The level of academic requirements may be harder in college, professors may expect more, and you may be starting over socially.
High school offers comfort and security due to its consistent, routine structure, and because you have spent years with the same peers.
By preparing yourself in advance, you will transition into college life without any issues.
Know Campus Laws
Laws that you must follow on a college campus are set in place for a reason, for your protection. Some of the laws can vary from the laws off-campus. For instance, if you are caught drinking as a minor while in town, you will face legal charges and fines.
If you are caught drinking or using drugs on campus, you will be given a different set of infractions. You may even be expelled, depending on the circumstance.
If you know the laws, you know how to avoid breaking them.
Meet with Your Academic Advisor
All students are assigned an academic advisor to guide you as you progress through your degree program. They can help you choose the right classes for your major, the right electives, and they can counsel you on any academic troubles you may be having.
They can also steer you in the right direction if you are needing assistance in any other area.
Learn to Budget Finances
The sooner you learn to manage money effectively, the better. In college, there will be many tempting opportunities to spend money and there won’t be parents to help you make the right financial decisions.
The least amount of debt you acquire during college, the least amount of time you will spend after college paying off that debt.
Having a financial mentor during college is a great way to avoid mistakes. They can help you a budget for a scholarship, grant, loan, and even your wages, preventing impulsive spending that can lead to unwanted debt. Debt can lead to unwanted stress, something you need to avoid during college.
Establish a Crisis Plan
A crisis is something that shows up unexpectedly and causes a rift in your routine. Crises can be small or large. Examples of crises can range from your computer crashing and losing all your course materials to getting into a car accident that costs you money that you don’t have.
Establishing a crisis plan can help you prepare for such unexpected events before they happen. Being prepared reduces the stress of the situation.
Crisis plans can include establishing a savings account for emergencies, creating backup files for your class assignments and notes, and building a support system of counselors and peers.
Being prepared for college life can allow you to focus on feeling excited, happy, and eager to begin this new chapter in your life.