Joining college as a freshman without adequate survival strategies can be a tall order for anyone. There are too many factors involved to make the experience potentially frightening and overwhelming. It is difficult to leave the comfort of familiar surroundings and routine at home and start your college education without breaking a sweat. But the truth is that with sufficient guidance, one can actually thrive and excel in college as a freshman and lay a solid foundation for the subsequent years. It does not matter what you were or did in high school. High school success or failures are not automatically applicable to college life. Here are 7 practical tips on how to excel in college:
- Attend the Orientation Program
Freshman orientation is very important. It is the quickest and the most trusted avenue through which a freshman gets to know all the important aspects of their campus. It helps the new students to quickly learn their way around the campus grounds. Students learn how to navigate around the ever present red tape and get things done quickly. Granted, the freshman gets mountains of information all at once during the orientation program, but they soon realize how invaluable it is as soon as the college education commences.
- Get Well Organized
A student joining college for the first time needs to be well organized on two fronts:
a. Personal Effects
The freshman needs to ensure that they have carried adequate supplies of the toiletries and personal effects that they need. One of the most potentially embarrassing things that could happen to a freshman is to run out of these items. The student needs to ensure that they have either the personal effects to last them the semester, or the money required to replenish the toiletries should they run out midway.
The freshman should invest in an app or a calendar to alert them when the assignments are posted. This is important because things operate differently in college from high school. For example, teachers in high school are quick to remind their students about their homework and the due dates for assignments. This is not the case in college. Assignments are posted – often in bulk by the professors, and rarely will they remind their students of the due dates. It is expected that the student will be prepared and well organized to hand in the assignments when they are due. One of the weakest excuses that any student can give their lecturer is to say that they did not know the assignment was due. If you are not organized, you can order essay from custom writing services companies.
- Arrange for a Loan
Admittedly, college education is not a cheap investment for many students. A student who knows they need financial assistance should arrange to get a financial loan in good time. This will help them to avoid the inconveniences of last minute rushing, or losing out on the chance all together. Of course, the student needs to take into account the fact that student loans are repayable, though the terms and rates are friendlier than the normal loans.
- Find the Ideal Position for Learning
One thing the student needs to constantly remember is that their core reason for being in college is making grades. Unlike in high school, where good grades sometimes come naturally, they have to be earned in college. The student therefore needs to do everything it takes to ensure that they get quality study time. They need to get an ideal place from where they can conduct their personal studies without distractions. The ideal place could be in their hostel room, a corner in the library or any other suitable place on campus grounds.
Equally important, the position one chooses in the lecture hall has a direct bearing to the grades they get. An online research paper published recently, highlighted that a student who chooses the front seats, in close proximity to the lecturer, will definitely get more and participate more in the lesson without straining
- Strive to Lead a Balanced Life
Making the transition from high school to college education can and will be stressful. College life is a mixture of three things: academics, social life and extra-curricular activities. The secret in combating stress and burn-out lies in seeking to balance the three. The student should not allow the balance to lean too far in any of the three. One should study hard, play hard and get involved in clubs, students’ societies, fraternities and sororities.
Social life will enable the student to develop new skills and make new friends, and this will help them create an affinity with their college and studies.
Taking part in extra-curricular activities is a great stress-buster. Fortunately, most colleges have well developed facilities for this. The student needs to identify at least a couple of activities that they can comfortably get involved in, and jump right into it from the onset of their studies.
- Make a Connection with the Key Offices
One of the key personnel that a freshman should get to know is their professors. They are very important because they are directly connected to the student’s main reason for being in college – course study. Professors allocate time in their schedules to meet students. A new student should take advantage of this to make the acquaintance of their instructors, and to create a long-term partnership that will enhance their studies.
b. Academic Advisers
Academic advisers are very important in matters involving course conflicts. The time will come when the student needs assistance in choosing of majors and minors, scheduling of classes and dropping or adding units of study, and the person they will invariably turn to for help is the academic adviser. The student therefore needs to take the least possible time to make the acquaintance of their academic adviser.
c. The Career Office
The Career Services Office offers a wealth of information that guides students on the direction to take with regard to the job market. All students start their college education with certain career prospects in mind. The Career Office helps the students to concretize their career aspirations into something tenable. They help the student to start planning, preparing and acting on their career prospects. This office should therefore be high on the list of offices the student needs to connect with.
- Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Illness arising from consumption of unhealthy foods can keep the student away from classes, and this is a disastrous way to start college education. A bad start may spiral out of control and affect the student’s subsequent years. The way out of this is to purpose to lead a healthy lifestyle: eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, take the required vitamins, avoid junk food and exercise on a regular basis.
One gets to be a freshman only once in the course of their college education. How that first year turns out can very easily affect the rest of college life. The above guidelines should fill any freshman with the confidence to learn and enjoy the new experience, and lay a foundation that will last them a lifetime.