Beginning your college education means you’ll be exploring a new place, making new friends, learning new things and setting your own priorities.
The more prepared you are for college when you get there, the more ready you'll be to address these new challenges. Here are some realities to consider, and a few common-sense ways to help you handle them.
College Work Is Harder
The material covered in college courses is more complex than that taught in high school classes, and it’s presented at a faster pace. Also, professors assign more reading, writing and problem sets than you may be used to.
Give yourself an opportunity to adjust gradually to the new academic demands. Choose a course load that includes some challenging classes and others that are less intense.
You Make the Schedule
You are responsible for managing your time in college. It’s your responsibility to get to your classes on time, do all your assignments and be prepared for exams.
Use a calendar and note when and where your classes meet, when assignments are due, and when tests take place. Create reminders for deadlines and important dates. When you plan your schedule, give yourself plenty of time to study and write papers; that way, you can avoid pulling an all-nighter at the last minute.
More Independence — and Responsibility
It’s time for you to take control of your life. That means you have to handle your finances, manage daily life, and keep yourself healthy and focused. Of course, your college has support systems to help you with these things, but now they’re your responsibility.
Make smart decisions. For example, when it comes to your money, stick to a budget and use credit cards wisely. When it comes to your health, get enough sleep, eat well, and pay attention to what your body tells you. You need energy to enjoy all that college has to offer and succeed in getting a good education.
A New Social Scene
Social opportunities abound. You may have the chance to meet different people, join a new crowd and even remake your image if you want to.
Remember that new friendships can be exhilarating, but true friendships are formed slowly. When participating in social events and activities, consider your choices carefully. Talk to parents, trusted friends from high school and college counselors about how to make good choices.
Reach Out to Resources
College is full of resources — professors, tutors, counselors and resident advisers. Help and advice are available, but it’s up to you to seek them out. The good news is that once you do adjust to college life, it opens new doors to all sorts of learning — and living.