It seems like your entire life has been building up to this one moment.
The hundreds of tests, college-level classes, extracurricular activities.
They’re all a culmination for what comes next. College.
You might think the hard stuff is over, but now that high school is in your rear-view mirror, the real work begins. But just how do you prepare for college when you haven’t even set foot on campus yet?
Do Your Research
Each college is different. Some are large, some have more intimate class sizes, some have great sports teams, while others are known for academics. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a college for you.
Before you decide where you want to apply to college, make a list of all the things you want in a school. Consider the thing the helped you succeed in high school or new things you want to experience to ensure you choose a school that offers it.
Another important factor is finding a school that offers a major that interests you. While you shouldn’t feel pressure to decide prior to applying what you want to be when you grow up, be sure to focus on colleges that have areas of studies that intrigue you!
For some, their college experience will be the first time where they are truly on their own financially. Even if this isn’t the case, prior to entering college you should consider planning out your money wisely.
Not only will there be extra expenses to consider like paying your friends gas money to give you ride or eating somewhere other than the on-campus cafeteria, but it’s also important to have extra funds in the case of an emergency. For instance, if you rely on your car to get you to and from campus, but it unexpectedly breaks down, having extra cash to fix it up will take a load off your shoulders.
There are also plenty of extra expenses that come with college such as paying for textbooks, having an on-campus meal plan, or attending extracurricular activities. Even if your parents are willing to fork over some extra cash, it’s nice to have the financial freedom to do as you please.
Practice Time Management
Even the most seasoned student will experience periods of being overwhelmed at the assortment of activities available on campus. Learning how to balance your time between academic responsibilities and college fun can be one of the most challenging aspects of your newfound college experience.
Prior to starting freshmen year, consider finding a time management tool that works for you in order to be diligent about how you spend your time. No matter if you choose to do this digitally or manually, find a way to track the time you spend doing each activity in order to do your best work.
College is going to be full of new people and new experiences. It’s one of the first times in life that you’re truly on your own, learning who you want to be and where you want to go in life.
Choose to take advantage of this time by saying "yes" to experiences that you might have said "no" to in high school. If you prepare yourself ahead of time for a lot of change, it will minimize the culture shock you feel when you step onto campus.
Even if you’re experiencing a touch of homesickness, immerse yourself into the college culture and get to know the people around you who are different than you. Having new and fun experiences is one of the quickest ways to make college feel like home.
Brush up on Your Skills
Ready or not, here you come! College is one of the first places your communication skills will be put to the test. Not only will you be having conversations with your new classmates, but with people like your professors and your new roommates.
You’ll quickly have to learn how to communicate your feelings with others in a constructive way, including resolving conflict and utilizing problem-solving skills. These are important skills to have in college but will also benefit you in everyday life when you apply for jobs and internships throughout and immediately following your college career.
Take Advantage of On-Campus Activities
College orientation is a great place to begin researching various activities on campus that you’re interested in getting involved with. Unlike high school, college will have an endless amount of clubs, activities, and events you can be a part of no matter your skill set or experience. You can even play club sports!
On-campus activities also offer a great meeting place for people with similar mindsets and interests. If you feel that you’re struggling to find your fit, research clubs and after-class activities that will open you up to a new group of friends.
Often times, the hardest step is the first step, especially in college. It can be difficult to get connected, but once you find your niche, you’ll feel right at home. Just as you should remain optimistic about new experiences, continue to say "yes" to things that you might not have considered before.
other valuable tips:
Plan Out Your Four Years
It might seem like college is a never-ending ride, but having a plan ahead of time to ensure your success will make your experience much more beneficial. Colleges provide advisors for each student to help create a guide for success over the course of their college career. Taking advantage of the wisdom and advice given to you will be crucial.
Once you have an idea of where you want your path to lead throughout your college journey, you can sit down with your advisor to create your four-year plan. This can include classes you’re required to take to graduate as well as including extracurriculars to give you rich life experience.
Prepare for College the Right Way
Planning for college is all about doing the leg work upfront so you can reap the benefits of your hard work later. Having to prepare for college might seem like a daunting task, but now that you have all the facts, you can get moving!
Say goodbye to high school and hello to the greatest 4 years of your life!
Image Credit: Pixabay
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