Congratulations on your high school graduation! If you are going to college, you will be in good company. According to studies, almost 70% of students who graduate from high school will go to college. Hopefully, your college education is designed in a style that considers your needs and career goals. But no matter how you approach it, life as a college student will be quite different – perhaps exciting, but also challenging. In truth, many students find the freshman year very difficult, a percentage choosing to drop out before the second year.
Regardless of their economic, social, and academic backgrounds, almost all students struggle with some degree of anxiety and stress linked to transitioning into college life. With evidence showing that only about 70% of college students make it beyond the freshman year, students need to prepare in advance. You want to make sure your first year is a success in college, which is why you need to know what it takes to survive. Here are some using tips and what you may encounter.
What to Expect During Your Freshman Year
As you prepare for college, please understand that life in the dorms (if you are going to an away college) will be quite different from what you are used to. You will find that there are longer and more complicated assignments, and managing time is more critical than before. Here are some things to expect:
Hectic Schedules and More Responsibilities
In their freshman year, many students report feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work they are expected to do. There may be tons of homework to keep up with and expectations in terms of class attendance and grades. Understand that the college workload will be quite different from what you are used to in high school. Even for those that don’t find the homework harder, managing your time will be a new challenge. Instead of lots of small, often daily, assignments in your class, you may find a few, much longer assignments across the semester. Classes may only meet once or twice a week and it is up to you have the discipline to manage your student time and not fall behind.
If you ever feel overwhelmed, it is important to seek help. If you find yourself struggling with papers, look at school resources. Or you could ask a professional writer or essay editor to help with some of those complicated assignments.
Loneliness or Homesickness
One of the most common challenges that students struggle with during the first year of college is homesickness. Having to separate from friends and family for the first time often means that students have a hard time adjusting to their new environments. If you feel homesick during your first year on campus, don’t panic — you are not alone. Try to keep in touch with your close friends and family members through social media and calls. With time, you will be able to adjust and create strong social networks. The homesickness will dissipate.
During your first year in college, another thing to expect is roommate issues, particularly if you are not used to sharing space. Whether it is just the idea of living with a stranger, differences on keeping the room organized or actual bullying, issues are bound to occur. Personalities and priorities may conflict. The key to solving roommate issues is to be more understanding and accommodating while creating boundaries and standing your ground.
College is the time to prepare for adulthood. It is also the time to start working on your money skills. For many students, college is the first time they are responsible for money decisions, including budgeting and carefully spending the money they have. With the freedom to make financial decisions, the responsibility of knowing what you do today could affect your future. Learn how to create a budget and avoid student debt as much as possible.
You may also encounter the following:
• Issues adjusting to social life;
• Time management issues;
• Sleep deprivation and fatigue;
• Issues with diet and meal choices.
In each of these cases, look to school or online resources to help you work through them. Counseling offices and residence assistants if you live in the dorms are important sources of help for many students. Also be ready to turn to family and friends if needed.
Preparing for College Freshman Year: Useful Tips
College offers students a chance to start with a clean slate but comes with a lot of independence and important decisions. As you transition to adulthood, you will face numerous challenges. In essence, the decisions you make in college could affect you for a long time, even after graduation.
One major tip for preparing for college is to prepare before the classes begin. For most students, the transition from high school to college can be a major problem. In today’s world filled with uncertainties, you need to plan ahead and prepare for classes before you reach the campus. Start thinking about a major early, even if that major may change. Make sure that you understand the course requirements if you know your likely field of study.
When preparing for your freshman year, you also need to get ready for more independence. At this stage in your life, you will be allowed to make major decisions regarding your major and when to attend classes. Although there will be support in career guidance and counseling, the major choices will be yours to make. Some of the things that you will be able to choose on your own include:
• Your schedule;
• What major to take;
• How you manage your finances;
• Who to be close to as a friend;
• Whether or not to get a job.
To prepare yourself for the newfound freedom, make good use of the available resources. There are planners you can use to improve your time management skills. Campuses also have advising offices for looking at classes and majors and counseling services for other issues you may encounter. Start working on your skills now, as this will make your freshman experience less hectic.
Although there will be doubtless be some challenges, your freshman year should be fun and rewarding. Work towards developing healthy eating habits and exercise to start on the right foot. To thrive in college, you will need to maintain good health and eat well, especially as you get closer to the end of the semester and the pressures of exams. Practice your schedule and dietary habits. Make sure you get to bed early and always have at least eight hours of sleep. Most importantly, start working on your reading and writing skills as soon as you can.