12 ways to prepare for your first year of college


Be ready before class starts. The transition from high school to college can be a big change for students as they…

Be ready before class starts.

The transition from high school to college can be a big change for students as they embark on their own, with many moving away from family and friends for the first time. For those stressed out by this new chapter in life and the uncertainties of today, there are ways to prepare before starting those first lessons. From finding academic support to developing strong interpersonal skills, the following tips can help new freshmen get organized and lay the foundation for college success.

Find out about the latest COVID-19 protocols.

The coronavirus pandemic has shaped the 2020-2021 school year into an almost unrecognizable experience as colleges have largely turned to distance education, enforced social distancing policies, forced campuses to wear masks, and have implemented other rules to keep their respective communities safe. The advent of COVID-19 vaccines means that many rules previously in place have been rescinded, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a return to the pre-pandemic world. Many colleges require coronavirus vaccines for students. Those who don’t get the jab will likely have to meet social distancing and face coverage requirements, and some colleges charge unvaccinated students for COVID-19 testing. Students heading to campus this fall should check out their college’s advice on what to expect.

Read as much as possible.

College courses include a lot more reading than is required in high school. Students should start to get used to the increased workload by reading books during high school and the summer before college. While many students read for leisure over the summer, some colleges assign the same book to incoming classes to read before the semester begins, which can then be discussed in introductory classes and other forums. . Students looking for a good read should check out a few selections from popular college reading programs across the country, which feature several New York Times bestsellers and books grappling with current societal and political issues.

Look for possible college majors.

At most colleges, freshmen don’t need to know for sure which major they’ll be taking right away. But students should start to think about it before choosing the courses. Those interested in pre-law and pre-medical, for example, should find out more about these avenues if their college offers them. Experts encourage students to explore the academic counseling programs at their respective schools to understand what classes are needed to meet the requirements of majors or minors and ultimately their way to graduation day.

Polish social, human and non-technical skills.

The college pushes students to develop strong communication skills. From group projects to communication with faculty, an ability to convey ideas clearly and work collaboratively will serve students well. This includes the treatment of social problems. Many students will find themselves working closely with people from different backgrounds and life experiences, so they should consider taking advantage of courses or books on diversity and inclusion. Additionally, leadership and problem-solving skills are important qualities when it is time to apply for jobs and internships during school and after graduation. Once school begins, students should consider enrolling in courses that teach soft skills.

Adopt time management tools.

University often offers a sense of new-found independence that many students did not have during their high school years, with teachers and parents forcing them to surrender on graduation day. Additionally, balancing the academic and social demands of college can be a challenge for even the most diligent student. But there are plenty of digital tools designed for students, and a little organization can go a long way in ensuring that time is used wisely. Smartphone apps and tools can help students limit time spent on entertainment and social media and keep study schedules on track.

Weigh in getting a job in first year.

College is expensive, and the costs go beyond tuition and fees. Daily expenses are a large part of a student’s university budget. A part-time job can ease budget constraints, but it can also take time away from school. Some students may be eligible to participate in the federal co-op program, and college financial aid offices can help answer questions before the semester begins. Before making a decision to work as a freshman, students should talk to their families about financial expectations.

Keep in touch with the financial aid office.

If a family’s financial situation changes in the months leading up to the first year, there are options for getting more help paying for their education. The Federal Student Aid Office website notes that students or families whose income has been affected by job loss, reduced working hours, or various other factors may be eligible for additional funds to pay. their studies by writing a letter of appeal. Funds may also be available under COVID-19 Emergency Grants, depending on how a school disburses those funds. Keep in touch with the financial aid office and ask for more financial support if needed.

Know how to stay safe on campus.

Some students may find themselves taking classes online and in person this fall as the United States emerges from the pandemic, and it’s important for students to feel safe on campus. Students should use common sense in being aware of their surroundings and learning how their college deals with safety issues, including sexual assault. Parents and students should take the time before the start of the semester to familiarize themselves with campus safety resources and procedures. Families unsure of how to assess campus safety can use these 12 questions as a starting point to understand what to look for and expect when their student heads to college in the fall.

Contact the teachers before the start of classes.

Cultivating a strong relationship with faculty can go a long way in helping students achieve success. Once students have selected their courses, they should consider emailing multiple instructors or seeing if they can speak via video conference or phone this summer. Make sure you are respectful and mature in all communications with professors and other academic staff.

Take advantage of orientation activities.

Orientation typically begins in the weeks and sometimes months before classes start, although the pandemic forced these events to be postponed or held entirely online last year. With the pandemic in mind, some schools are sticking to online orientation again this year. Additionally, some colleges offer hybrid orientations to give incoming students the best of both worlds. Regardless of the format, orientation is a great way for students to acclimatize and ask lots of questions. Be aware that everyone is trying to make friends and adjust to a new environment, so don’t be shy. After orientation, many schools offer unique freshman experiences that help students connect more with their classmates and the college community.

Look for ways to get involved.

The college offers a number of opportunities for students to explore existing interests or to engage in new hobbies. Whether it’s joining a musical ensemble or getting involved in social issues, there are many schools that make it easy to get involved. Having a plan of action before you arrive will help students choose meaningful activities and make sure they don’t miss registration dates or important meetings once school begins.

Know where to go for school help.

Incoming freshmen should be aware that many colleges have desks dedicated to helping students brainstorm and write essays. Students having difficulty in a classroom or simply wanting to speak with a one-on-one teacher should take advantage of open office hours. School libraries can also offer knowledgeable staff and study resources to help students. These options can be particularly useful for international students who might have difficulty with their English skills.

Find more resources for a successful college education.

The college journey doesn’t end after the first year, and US News is packed with information on everything from finding scholarships to writing a resume for opportunities like internships. You can also get the latest news by following US News Education on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Tips for a successful first year

– Discover the latest COVID-19 protocols.

– Read as much as possible.

– Look for possible college majors.

– Social, human and soft skills Polish.

– Adopt time management tools.

– Weigh in obtaining a job in the first year.

– Keep in touch with the financial aid office.

– Know how to stay safe on campus.

– Contact the teachers before the start of the lessons.

– Get the most out of orientation activities.

– Look for ways to get involved.

– Know where to go for school help.

More American News

What you need to know as a first generation student

Living on Campus: A Guide to University Housing

Diversity questions for colleges: what to ask

12 ways to prepare for your first year of college originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 07/13/21: This slideshow has been updated with new information.



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