Heading off to college can be incredibly overwhelming. No matter how much preparation you do, you may still not feel “ready”, but there are many practical ways you can enhance your life skills and give yourself the best chance at a smooth transition. College should be a time to celebrate graduation, focus on your classes, and make new friends. Here are five ways you can prepare for this new season in your life:
-Read as many resources as you can: If you can secure pamphlets or brochures about your future college home, this can be valuable. Reading about the sports, clubs, sororities, or other activities can also help you figure out what you might be interested in, and what you should budget for (extra costs, uniforms, etc). Reading about other subjects can also be helpful, like doing your taxes, taking cooking classes or reading new recipes, can give you extra tips and ideas to practice before you leave home.
-Work on your social and leadership opportunities: Pushing yourself in high school, and during your senior summer, can really prepare you for freshman year. Run for student council, volunteer, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. These types or leadership activities strengthen your public speaking skills, and your ability to communicate. They also help you learn to organize your time, and try new things. You will feel confident going into unknown activities on your brand-new campus in the fall!
-Attend orientation activities: You may not want to do all the campus tours and all of the group or team building parts of your college visits, but they can be really beneficial. You can make new friends during these orientations, and exchange phone numbers with people who will be part of your classes. You can also learn where things are, and be more familiar with finding places like the library or the foodservice, or parking. These are not a waste of time!
-Figure out how and where to find help: Getting to know your professors (in a professional way) and being courteous and respectful can go a long way. Know that for many of your teachers, they hope to see their students succeed and enjoy their classes. That doesn’t mean they wont be challenging and at times difficult, but many great teachers make time to answer questions and get students help if they are struggling. If you also can find the name and location of your advisor on campus, they can be a great resource if you have questions. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help; it’s better to ask respectful questions than do an assignment or project without the proper information.
-Ask any recent graduates to give you their best advice: If you have friends who are older and who have settled well into college, you can ask them if they have and words of wisdom for you. They can be really helpful, especially if they are attending the college you hope to get into. They may know the best dorms, the fun events, or the most exciting clubs that you can join. They probably can also let you know what things they wish they had done before they left home!