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How do you prepared yourself before entering into university?

I'm a senior. planning on going to college after high school.

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John’s Answer

Ling moving from high school to college can be a big transition for students, and this year's incoming freshmen are facing new challenges as the coronavirus pandemic pushes many colleges to fully online or hybrid classes. For those stressing over this new life chapter and today's uncertainties, there are ways to prepare before starting those first classes. Most college courses are going to require more reading than high school students are used to. Additionally, you're going to be doing a lot of research and completing a lot of projects throughout college. Making sure that you're familiar with how to research (both online and through the library system) is a good idea before you're hit with lots of coursework.

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:

Getting familiar with where your classes are going to be is an obvious step for preparing, but it's not the only thing you should look at before you start school. You should check out your dorm, the library and the parking system before you're living at campus full time. You might also want to get familiar with the area around campus.
College pushes students to develop strong communication skills. From group projects to communicating with professors, an ability to convey ideas clearly and work collaboratively will serve students well. That includes dealing with social issues; many students will find themselves working closely with people from different backgrounds and life experiences, so they should consider taking advantage of diversity and inclusion classes or books. In addition, leadership and problem-solving skills will be important qualities when it comes time to apply for jobs and internships during school and after graduation. With that in mind, students should consider enrolling in courses that teach soft skills once school begins.
Proper time management is crucial to your success. As soon as you receive your list of classes, get to work building a weekly schedule that incorporates classes, study time, and other time commitments (such as your work schedule or family obligations). Allow plenty of time for homework and other projects, but also give yourself time to rest; community college can be a big time commitment, but it shouldn't take over your life. Give yourself occasional breaks so that you can have some fun and relax. These small respites can let you recharge and help prevent you from getting overwhelmed.
Of course, all the planning and organization means nothing if you don't have the proper supplies and equipment. Research your school and classes and see what tools and supplies are recommended. A laptop is a huge benefit, as it allows you to perform research and complete assignments on the go. They can also be used to take and easily store class notes. You'll also want to acquire standard school supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.

Thank You Veronica. “If we talk about it, it’s a dream. If we envision it, it’s possible. If we schedule it, it’s real.” John Frick

Thank you Raquel for your continued support. What we get by achieving our goals is not as important as what we become by achieving our goals. John Frick

Thank you so much for the response. this is really helpful. Ling H.

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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Ling,

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!

Absolutely very helpful, thank you very much. So I'm trapped between what my parents what me to become and my own interested. I'm not really sure what I wanted to study yet but I decided to study Nurse Anesthestist because my parents want me to become a doctor but that is too much for me so I choose to study Nurse Anesthetist. Even though I know this major is going to be hard but I just wanted to fulfill my parent's desire. what will your advice be? Ling H.

Hi Ling - that is a tricky spot to be in and something that so many students face! I would recommend talking to your parents about what it is that you want to do. If you're able to articulate to them your interests and your career goals, they might be more understanding. Another option if you do choose to pursue a major as a Nurse Anesthetist, you can get involved in clubs and organizations related to other areas that you're interested in. Maybe take a few classes in another major that you enjoy or pick up a minor, these activities can help you balance out your challenging medical major that your parents are recommending with some courses that you really enjoy! Samantha Miller

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Simeon’s Answer

One good way to prepare before getting started is to talk with college advisors ahead of time. They have a lot of resources and can bring a lot of clarity to the college journey. Once you are at college, look at the curriculum for your classes, print them off, and take a look at the assignments percentage of your total grade. This will give you a better idea of what to focus on when it comes to studying. Look for good work-study options on campus. There are sometimes really easy assignments and you can even sometimes be allowed to do your homework while doing some of them. For instance, I worked in the front desk of my dorm signing in visitors and sorting mail. If there were no mail or visitors, I was able to work on my homework while I waited and it was easy to focus on getting it done since I couldn't leave the desk. This helped me support myself financially while also giving me focused study time.
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Ling! Congratulations on getting accepted, I remember my acceptance letter and how happy I was plus setting foot on campus the first day! Honestly I would make sure that your financial aid is in order, making sure you got the amount correct, what you owe and what is paid by FAFSA including grants and scholarships. If you aren't sure about it I would ask maybe an older sibling or someone who you trust and has gone down the college route as well. You can also contact financial aid and have an adviser help you out as well; with COVID face to face may be difficult however I believe you can call or set up possibly a virtual appointment. Speaking of virtual and technology, at orientation the college says to bring your laptop and have it set up with the WIFI at the technology department of the university. I didn't do this because there are also computers provided by the university for rental; basically you show your ID card to the rental department and they loan you a laptop for 4 hours (it was 4 hours at my university and you can check one out again after bringing the first one back if you need it longer). I think this was helpful because it is part of your tuition plus honestly I didn't trust to bring my computer to school especially with weather and being on campus the whole day. I felt it was safer at home and better to rent! Right now with COVID many things are online and many classes as well and since this may be for a while more, if you are at home then you will most likely be using your computer anyways but just something to keep in mind.

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!

Thank you for taking the time to explain all these. Much appreciated. Ling H.

You're welcome! Yasemin G.

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Sanober’s Answer

Hi Ling!

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 :)


Thank you so much. very appreciated the response and this is really helpful. Ling H.

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Evan’s Answer

Hey Ling - have you already applied to colleges? Meaning are you asking the process to get into school or the actions taken after applying and getting accepted?

Thank you for responding. I already got accepted by three colleges that I applied to. My question is what action needs to be taken after getting accepted. Ling H.

Got it - thank you for the context and CONGRATS on three colleges! Have you made your mind up yet? If moving, first thing I would do is go to that area, make sure you know of any nuances (ex. no right turn in NYC), and start figuring out where you are going to live, where you will shop, etc. I also spent a lot of time figuring out what I needed to bring with me. I made sure to order applicable books, supplies, etc. (most of which can be found on a syllabus of the classes you will take). Does this help? Evan North

Yes, this is helpful. Thank you so much for your time. Ling H.