Today’s post is by guest blogger Suzanne Shaffer. Suzanne counsels parents in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parents Countdown to College Coach blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.
Moving from high school to college can be daunting. It’s your first step toward independence and adult responsibility. You transition from someone dictating your every move (parents) to the freedom of making every decision. Don’t expect, however, to ease right into college life without an adjustment period. College life will be much easier if you expect some bumps in the road and some course adjustments along the way.
A recent report on college dropout rates presented some shocking statistics – 46% of those who enter college fail to graduate within six years. What you do your first year of college can impact not only your college years but your future. This makes the beginning weeks and months on campus critical for all new students.
Here are ten “mom approved” tips that should help you with the transition.
1). Don’t skip orientation.
Orientation helps you become familiar with the campus, its opportunities and on-campus organizations. During orientation you will meet your advisors, plan your schedule and do some group activities with other incoming freshmen. Skipping orientation is like skipping the first day of work. Orientation helps you ease into life on campus.
2). Make a friend.
Your college experience will be enhanced by the friendships you make. The first few months are the easiest time to make new friends. You can start with your roommate, your dorm mates, and your classmates. College is not the place to foster your inner shyness; it’s your opportunity to branch out, meet new people and make new relationships.
3). Get organized.
Since your parents won’t be there reminding you to study for your test, do your homework and go to class, you need to get organized. Keep a calendar, set alarms, make to-do lists, schedule study time, and keep track of all your term paper deadlines. Organization will give you peace of mind and alleviate those last minute panic attacks before a test or term paper due date.
4). Make academics a priority.
Even if you were an excellent high school student, this is college. Academics will be more challenging. Without constant parent nudging, it’s tempting to let the studying slide and skip class. If you begin to struggle or feel overwhelmed, get help. Speak with your professors. Take advantage of on-campus tutoring services. Don’t ignore the problem; act before your grades start a downward spiral.
5). Call home.
Every new college student gets homesick. Make time to call your family. They know you better than anyone else and will remind you that you always have their support. Set aside a time each week to talk with your family. It will curtail the homesickness and ease your parents’ inevitable tendency to worry.
6). Stay balanced.
College offers opportunities for you to experience life in social settings. You don’t want to be a recluse, but tipping the scales in either direction can affect your social life and your academics. Don’t be a recluse but don’t be a party animal either. Keep a good balance between focusing on academics and having fun.
7). Stay on top of your laundry.
Make time every week to do laundry. Dirty laundry piles tend to stink up your dorm room quickly. Separate the darks from the lights and wash them separately. Wash everything in cold to avoid fading and shrinkage. Take your clothes out of the dryer when they are done. Leaving them there can result in you losing your favorite t-shirt or pair of shorts. Your parents will appreciate the fact that you don’t come home with piles of dirty laundry during breaks.
8). Become a coupon clipper.
Every college student pinches pennies. Use student discounts, local coupons and online coupons when purchasing everything from groceries to student travel to entertainment tickets. A dollar here, 15% there, and “buy one-get one free” offers will help you stretch your college budget.
9). Get involved.
Staying in your dorm room with your nose buried in your books is not the way to enjoy your college experience. Find an organization or club that interests you and get involved. You will make new friends, learn to work together as a team, and stay connected with your school.
10). Eat well and get plenty of sleep.
Late night study sessions, cramming for tests, and the availability of fast food make it easy to neglect sleep and eat unhealthy foods. This type of behavior can affect your immune system. The last thing you need during your first few months of college is to miss an extended period of class time due to illness. Sleep helps your body recharge and a balanced diet will help your brain function at its best.
You’ve spent the last four years of your life preparing for the college admissions process. Now that you’re accepted and heading off to college in the fall, anticipate bumps in the road, slow down, and make the necessary course corrections when necessary. This advice should help you ease into college life and graduate as planned.