The Complete Candidate’s Transition to College Playbook Part 5: Nailing Your First Semester

Classmate Classroom Sharing International Friend Concept

Your first semester at college can be a bit overwhelming.  You are trying to figure out where your classes are located, how to get your prescription filled and that concept your swore you understood in AP Calc now looks like gibberish when “explained” by your college professor (at least it did to me; intro calc is the lowest grade on my college transcript, even though I got an A in my high school AP Calc class).  Your roommate may not be your forever best friend that movies led you to believe he or she would and you are probably missing your parents, your friends and your dog (or cat or lizard).  You’re just not sure you made the right decision with this college.

When I interview college freshmen at campuses large and small, urban and rural, about what advice they would give to future freshmen, they all say the same thing: GET OUT OF YOUR ROOM!  Here are a few things you should be sure you do in the first few weeks of school:

Academic Activities:

  • Go to professor office hours, even if you don’t think you need help
  • Get your paper reviewed by the writing coach, even if you earned the English prize in high school
  • Attend a quant lab, even if you are a math genius
  • Form a study group
  • Get an old-school, paper-based academic planner (this was the #1 piece of advice college freshmen shared – I promise)

Social Activities:

  • Attend all orientation activities, even if they are cheesy, because you will bond with people who also think they are cheesy, and you’ll get free stuff
  • Attend a sporting event
  • Join a club
  • Study in public (café, library, college green) instead of shoring up in your dorm room
  • Put as much energy toward your social plan as you do toward your academic plan

Personal Activities:

  • Make a plan for physical fitness
  • Identify location of resources (health services, mental health, registrar, IT, financial aid)
  • Open bank account
  • Do laundry
  • Take public transportation
  • Explore the surrounding area

College is not high school.  Your mom is not going to knock on your door to make sure you come down for dinner.  It’s time to put your big pants on and get to know your world and you can’t do that while hiding in your dorm room.

To maximize the likeliness that your college-bound student will be successful, be sure to explore the other parts of The Complete Candidate’s College Transition Playbook:

Part 1: The College Roller Coaster

Part 2: College Success Framework

Part 3: Selecting the Right School

Part 4: Go Beyond the Beach

Part 6: The Parent’s Role

Part 7: Transferring Out

Part 8: The Legal Stuff

Mauler Pattern Thin
Mauler Pattern Thin