It's important to have at least the foundation of an academic plan before you begin your classes. While it's okay to not be 100% sure of your future plans, you should at least have a general notion of your academic and professional goals. Be sure to create a plan that is structured, yet flexible. You never know when an emergency or unexpected event is going to strike, and you may need to quickly make changes and adjustments to your schedule. A rigid and inflexible plan, though it may keep you on track, may also hinder your chances at success because it does not allow for disruptions. Give yourself plenty of leeway so that any potential complications will not interrupt your academic goals.
John recommends the following next steps:
Congratulations on your college acceptances! That's really exciting. My biggest tips when preparing to head off to college are:
1. Don't put too much pressure on your major - choosing what to study can be really overwhelming, I was undecided for my 1st year in school and ended up changing my major a few times after that. Depending on what you'd like to do after graduating, you can usually get there with a few different majors, so don't feel trapped thinking that a finance degree means you can only work in corporate finance, your major will open lots of different doors for you to be successful!
2. Take classes you're interested in - outside of your major, try and take some electives that are interesting to you. I studied Economics, but some of my favorite classes were around sociology or philosophy. College is a time where you're able to learn so much, take advantage of the opportunity to learn a few things outside of your chosen major to help keep you interested and well-rounded.
3. Make the most of the opportunities you have - there is so much to do on a college campus outside of class. Clubs, sports, committees, jobs; take advantage of the resources that your school provides and get involved as much as you can. You learn so many soft skills in these settings, outside of the classroom, that are essential in the job market. Extracirriculars are a great way to develop yourself and have FUN!
I hope this helps, best of luck at school!
I would also suggest to have a planner and/or calendar and mark down important dates such as when your exam is and what assignments are needed to be completed; you really want to be organized especially now with everything being online and having more time at home but also having more responsibility to complete the work. For textbooks I would recommend to check out sites like Chegg or Amazon because there are more affordable options especially with renting; I bought my first semester but ended up renting for the others because I felt it was better to just use it for that semester and then send it back. It prevents having too many books to sell or deal with later! I'm not sure what your major is Ling, but you will take general education (gen. ed) classes regardless of your major, and I would also advise to study well for them. Don't think that they may be easy because they are gen. ed., most of the time gen. ed do require you to put in effort and work hard like a major class. Your first year GPA matters a lot as it sets a base and since most of the time Freshmen end up taking many gen. ed. classes their first year, I would recommend to get those A's; it really isn't bad but just requires time and effort and with those A's your GPA will look solid for your first year!
Since I mentioned classes I also want to mention scheduling. Now as a freshmen you have a hold on your record that must be removed by your academic adviser (which will be assigned to you based on your major) so be sure to know who they are. Scheduling classes are kind of like the "Hunger Games", because the classes can go quick! When I first heard this I was confused but after my first experience I understood it better. Basically based on your class year you have a scheduling time that is given to you; you can find it when the time comes, usually an email is sent out but it is also in your academic records online where you find information about classes, holds and financial records, etc. The upperclassmen like seniors, juniors and athletes get the first pick and last is freshmen, therefore to avoid being locked out of a class because seats fill up, I would recommend to make more than one schedule. This has helped me tremendously over the years because you have more options. For example if you are taking Chemistry, History, French, and Mythology you want to make about three schedules that give different times for those classes. Let's say Mon./Wed. you are scheduled for Chemistry in one of your schedules, in your other one you should schedule a different day and/or time like Tues./Thurs. This will give flexibility knowing that you will at least get into one of the schedules you prepared! There is still time for this as most class scheduling takes place Nov. for Spring semester and April for Fall semester.
Last notes: Get to know the campus, especially the resources; get to know about tutoring, center for writing excellence, events/activities, etc., These resources are part of your tuition so if you are struggling in a class you can get tutoring or schedule a writing appointment to get a read over for your paper.
If you are on campus I would recommend to check the weather before you leave your house or dorm; make sure to dress warmly if cold or bring that umbrella if raining! I would commute from my house so therefore I would also be prepared by bringing water bottles and snacks as well. Although the campus has options as well I would recommend to be careful with money and make sure debt doesn't accrue!
If you are looking for a part time job I would make sure to check out campus options first, especially work study! Since many jobs on campus are student friendly and one wouldn't have to commute I would recommend them first! Work study is a FAFSA option that is granted by the university as part of your financial aid. I don't know if you put work study when applying for financial aid but I would definitely recommend it as you become an employee with the school and receive a paycheck.
As a last note, make sure to keep in touch with your professors through class interactions and office hours! Ask them questions and be an active student because this will not go unnoticed and if time comes for a reference letter it'll be very helpful!
I hope this helps! If you have more questions, especially as you begin college please ask! You will be fine and make so many great memories as well as meeting some of your lifelong friends!
Best of luck future undergrad!
Before beginning college, I would recommend getting organized if you aren't already in terms of study habits and understanding how you learn/work best. You can get prepared by looking at the curriculum you will be taking to begin the semester, and how your time will be divided to study and complete work. Don't forget to remember to schedule in time to take care of yourself, as mental health is a really important part of having a great college experience. I hope this helps!
Best of luck :)