Future College Students, Don’t Fear.

Simple Solutions to Future College Student’s Biggest Fears:

To college-bound Juniors and Seniors:

Going off to college is a time of great excitement: it’s a time of making new friends, trying new things and finding your independence.  However, it can also be a frightening time; it’s a time of making new friends, trying new things and finding your independence.  The cliché is true; college really is the best time of your life for most people.  But, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t normal to feel a bit anxious.  Yes, there will be changes …but you will be OK. Take a deep breath and read my top five solutions:

  1. Create a roommate agreement because even the best-matched roommates may encounter problems. You may be living with your best friend, someone you met just before starting school, or a total stranger. Living in a tight space can be challenging no matter how well you and your roommate are matched.  It is important to stay true to yourself while respecting your roommate and their living space. For example, if you like to go to bed early, share this with your roommate. If your roommate likes to live in an organized space, come up with a few ways you both can contribute to a peaceful space.  And, know your college’s policies on roommate responsibilities.  If your school follows “My Brother’s Keeper,” you need to have a candid discussion about things like drugs and alcohol because if your roommate gets caught violating the law, you could go down, as well.
  2. Choose your classes with care, but don’t panic if you are not able to enroll in your first-choice classes. Research potential professors and classes and choose classes that most fascinate you. If you have declared a major, be sure that the classes you choose meet the graduation requirements.
  3. Find a schedule that fits you. This tip is by far one of the best I have given my students over the years. Don’t choose 8 a.m. classes if you know that you will not attend them. If you are a morning person, enroll in those early classes and get your work done while you are fresh. If you know that you work best late at night, enroll in a night class. This tip is simple, yet I find that many students overlook it when creating a class schedule and end up struggling later in the semester.
  4. Find Campus Resources and use them! During orientation, don’t blow off the campus resource tour and information session, no matter how tempting it may be.  In addition to the obvious support services such as financial aid, college advising, health services and IT, know where the free tutors are and how to take advantage of them.  The biggest area where incoming freshmen struggle academically is in their writing abilities so find the on campus writing workshop and make sure you send your first few essays to get edited until you get the hang of writing college-level essays.  You (and your grades) will be glad you did.
  5. Get Involved! Remember that everyone is in the same boat, so be friendly to everyone you see and meet someone new every day. The first semester of college is the best time to join clubs, make friends, and learn more about yourself. Instead of sitting alone in your dorm room playing video games or watching a movie, join a gaming club or film society so you can meet other people who share your interests.  And, unless you are attending a commuter school, resist the urge to go home on weekends, even if your college is in your home town.  Weekends is when most of the social activities occur and where many relationships are forged.  It’s hard to become a part of the campus community if you aren’t there.
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