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Advices before heading into college?

I will be attending college in the fall of 2022, and I don't feel prepared for it at all. Therefore, what are some things that can help me get physically and mentally prepared? Are there anythings I should know or look out for?(How is it different from High School?) Tips/advices on making connections or fitting in? #college #college-advice #college-bound #college-freshmen

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Betty’s Answer

Hi Elaine,

What an exciting time for you to be entering college! Since you'll be entering as a freshman and not transferring from some other college, I think it's okay to take it easy, not put too much pressure on yourself and feel things out. Where it comes to preparing for college, you may want to think about what needs to be done in the first month, next several months - 6 months, 1 year out and 2-3 years out.

Let's go through some of these.
1) Who is your success coach or guidance counselor? Do you want to make an appointment or call that person directly to check in? They may have tons of helpful advice and wisdom for freshmen.
2) Do you know your way around the campus? Familiarizing yourself with the campus layout and classrooms would help as you get from one class to the next.
3) Have you enrolled in all the foundational courses and purchased the textbooks and created your online student account?
4) Have you figured out a major? Creating a course planner is one step towards fulfilling the requirements of your major. If you haven't selected a major, then it's probably a good idea to start narrowing down a list based on your interests.
5) Join any extra curricular activities offered by your college that pique your interest.
6) Have you figured out how to get to and from the college or are you staying in a dorm? If you're moving to campus, you'll need to make a list of things to bring and figure out how to move your possessions over.
7) Continue to stay connected with your friends so that they can share their college experiences with you. It's important to keep up with your relationships.
8) Have you applied for the available financial aid programs or scholarships or figured out your college budget? College expenses can add up and making sure you have sufficient finances to cover your education is one step you shouldn't overlook.
9) Lastly, is there anything you want to do before college starts? It could be a trip with friends or family or taking some prerequisites for courses you plan to take as a freshman.

Don't lose sight of the fact that this is a major chapter in your life and to embrace it fully. Make your education count towards a successful future career. Investing in yourself is one of the best things you could do for yourself.
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Grace’s Answer

Hi Elaine! Congratulations!

College is a scary time, and despite what many people think when they are entering into college, I don't think anyone is ever really ready!

I have a few pieces of advice.
1. Don't worry so much about figuring out the "most profitable major." Enjoy your general education courses, take your time with them, and figure out what you like and dislike. Majoring in a subject doesn't mean you're only able to work in a specific field -- I've known people with religion degrees that worked in tech!
2. Don't sweat your GPA. Your GPA is important insofar as schools use it as a baseline. You may need a 2.0 to pass, and a 3.0 to keep your scholarship, for example. But other than that, your GPA is just a number, and it doesn't represent the breadth of learning and knowledge that you can gain from a course. I've gotten easy A's in classes that I don't even remember, and C's in classes that taught me the most.
3. Avoid comparing yourself to your colleagues. In college, it's so easy to focus on the few people who are standing out the most -- the people with the best internships, dream job offers a week before graduation, 4.0 GPAs, and the like. But remember that we're all on our own journey, and one person's success may not look like your version. Remind yourself what's important to you, and remember that it may not always make the front page of the student newspaper (and that's ok!)
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Madi’s Answer

Congratulations on your college acceptance!

It is very normal to feel unprepared for college. It is a big change as college grants you more independence than high school and you will be in a sea of new people. However, many people (including myself) have managed to navigate college and have an amazing time. I hope that you will be able to do the same.

Some tips that I would give to you are as follows:
- Join clubs and extracurriculars that interest you: This will help you to make friends who share common interests by spending quality time and having fun together.
- Make friends with those in your class and/or major: Many other students feel just as nervous going through the transition into college. By befriending classmates, you will have someone who knows exactly what you're going through and who can help you navigate those feelings.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help: Whether you're lost in class and need help from your professor, having an issue with a roommate and need to speak to an RA or you can't find the cafeteria and need to ask another student... don't be afraid to ask! Many people will be more than willing to help you.
- Keep a planner: This will help you stay organized and on top of due dates for homework, quizzes, assignments, etc.
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Carl’s Answer

Hi Elaine, my best advice is to put yourself out there. By that I mean don't hesitate to try new things or talk to new people. One of the the best lessons I learned my freshman year was that everyone is new the new kid in school. There generally are no existing friend groups. You will likely find that everyone is equally nervous/anxious about how they will fit in and welcome someone else making an introduction. Upper class students walking around were freshmen not long ago, so ask for suggestions on getting the most out of the experience (where to eat, how to get around, classes to avoid, etc...). The freshman 15 is real, so any physical activity you enjoy can be very important. Signing up for intramural sports by yourself, even if you have never played the sport, is a great way to meet new people. You will be placed with other people who are also looking to make new friends.

Some challenges new students often struggle with is the lack of structure. Your schedule will likely be different each day and there wont be anyone there to hold your hand or make sure you are doing what you need to do. Class attendance is your responsibility as are your grades. If you need help it is your responsibility to seek out the resources you need. Self-discipline will determine how well you settle into a healthy routine.

Take advantage of your General Education courses. Your major classes will be harder so you will be thankful to have that A in Art History to balance the C- common to upper-level courses.

If you are living in a dorm, set expectations and boundaries within the first week. It's great if you end up friends, but it's most important to be good roommates. The more explicit you are upfront, the better your relationship will be.

Have fun!



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Sarah’s Answer

Hi! I noticed that you did not indicate if you will be attending a school with a traditional 4 year program or a community college. One small piece of advice that I can offer has to do with the financial aspect of pursuing higher education. In my area of residence, most of the courses required for a traditional 4 year program are all general education courses for the first 2 years. If college costs are an issue for you, many of the general education courses can be taken at a community college for half of the cost. You can then transfer the credits you have earned to count towards your 4 year program. Not everyone thinks about this option to save on educational costs because student loans are typically not paid back until one graduates or stops attending school as a full time student. It seems so far away when you are just barely getting started. However,
by exploring your options, the potential to save thousands of dollars in student loan interest may present itself.

Sarah recommends the following next steps:

Find a representative for your local community colleges. See what degrees are offered that fulfill your general education requirements for your intended degree program.
Talk with a guidance counselor or student admissions representative at the university where you intend to earn your undergraduate degree. Ask if any credits earned elsewhere can be transferred in and counted towards your program.
Compare the cost of each course that qualifies for transfer from a community college to the cost of that same course if taken at the university. Many times, you’ll discover a substantial savings for yourself by completing your general education courses at the community college. You’ll appreciate it taking the time to look into it now when it comes time to pay back your loans!
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Justin’s Answer

Hello, congrats on planning for your next step and further development in college. I can only speak from personal experience, and High School was very different than college. Classes were way larger, there was no requirement to actually go to class, and curriculum was obviously much more in depth. I share these things to say, don't do like I did my first year. Stay organized, actually go to class, study, and make time decisions that put your curriculum first. It is easy to take advantage of the freedoms and quickly fall behind. As far as making connections and fitting in, I would suggest looking into clubs that are aligned with things that you are interested in. There are a myriad of clubs typically that you could consider to meet people with like interests as you.

Thanks,
Justin
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Elaine! Great advice from above questions. I think they really cover the important things stated. I would just add that you should be organized, get to know your professors and think ahead as well but know that life can be versatile and one may need to adapt. It is important to stay organized because classes can be rigorous but I would like to shed light on the statement that I have heard in high school which is that professors won't be as helpful in college. I don't think this is true. Yes here is a lot of independent studying in college, being responsible and being an adult but along with being organized like carrying a planner, doing your homework and assignments on time, planning out your day, meeting up with your advisers and using the tutoring/writing center for class help, your professors are there for you too. They have office hours and extra sessions to help with studying; a lot of students in our General Chemistry course did struggle but our professor was definitely helpful with office hours and study sessions. He even went extra and offered me research and wrote my letter of recommendation for medical school! It is helpful to obtain that assistance from professors and be active in learning because aside from your education this can also help for your future. You may need references/recommendations for internships or graduate programs for example and having professors you know well and they know you can be beneficial when the time comes.

It is also helpful to think ahead as well, and while I do believe that grades and GPA aren't the sole determinant of our success in college and life they are pretty important for our future. Certain graduate programs for your future do rely on your academics to measure as a first baseline in how you would do in the academics of their program. Just a slight example but let's say you are applying to medical school, while you will be viewed holistically such as your community service, essays, extracurriculars, etc., your GPA is a large factor in the application process. In addition it's always good to get involved and see where you envision yourself after graduation. Do you have future educational plans - so would you want to keep up with your grades and extracurriculars and additional graduate exams to take like the GRE or do you plan to work after graduation so would you be more involved in career search and internships that could be promising?

I would also like to add two more points. I know that college can be expensive so applying for financial aid and applying early is key- I would recommend to check out FAFSA.ed.gov. In addition you can also work part time with work study (which you mark as yes for consideration on your FAFSA) and other campus opportunities. Many students work on campus and off campus so work study and other campus opportunities can be helpful for not only making some extra cash but also staying on campus and not having to worry about commuting to work. Lastly, I would recommend to rent textbooks because it usually cheaper and returning them is a feasible option so you don't have to worry about having many textbooks build up over the years and having to resell them. Chegg or Amazon rentals are great sites and sometimes some students on social media-like a Facebook Page-offer their used textbooks at a reduced price option.

These are just some food for thought! I believe you will be fine as asking this question already shows promise that you care about your education and the rest will come. We are always here to assist-please continue to ask more if needed!

I hope this helps and I wish you the best!
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