First Year of College
About four million people start college each year. So, when you’re starting out at school, it’s important to set yourself up for success.
But, what do you need to do to make sure that your college years are as good as they can be? Let’s go through how to prepare for your first year of college.
See The Place
You’ll want to actually set eyes on your future school before you commit to it. It may just not be a very good fit for you, or it may not have the resources you need.
Ideally, you should do research and visit your future school before you put a deposit down. But, if you’re already pot-committed, you still want to explore and see if there are things you can do to make your college experience as good as it can be.
Look at the different libraries and study spaces until you find one that makes you feel comfortable. Search for fun coffee shops and bars near campus that you might want to hang out at in your free time. This will also help you make friends since you’ll have suggestions for all of you to hang out at!
Prepare For Your Course Work
You need to try and do everything you can to get prepared for your classes themselves. Read your syllabuses for each of the classes you plan to take and ensure you can handle the workload.
You’ll want to see what’s required in terms of essays, exams, and class participation. And, check and make sure your classes don’t occur at the same time. You can’t attend multiple classes at the same time, after all.
And, you’ll also need to check that you’re taking the right classes. You may have some classes that are required for the majors you’re considering. So, read your course catalog carefully when you’re choosing your schedule, and consult with your register and career counselor when possible.
Think About Extracurricular Activities
School isn’t just about studying. You should think about what extracurricular activities you want to do while you’re at school, based on what you enjoy doing and how you want to set yourself up for your future career.
For example, signing up for the Alpha Kappa Delta honor society can give you some of the networking opportunities you need to get a head start in the workforce.
Or, you can join a sports team, so that you can get lots of exercise and bond with other people with similar interests. Sororities and fraternities are a good ways to make friends while you’re at university. You could also sign up for your school newspaper or magazine to get some more writing experience.
Have The Money Sorted Out
Whether you have student loans, scholarships, or anything else, you still need to pay for your everyday life on top of your school expenses while you’re at college.
Make a budget as soon as possible. You’ll want to take into consideration, of course, tuition, textbooks, and other school fees. You’ll also need to consider your living expenses and the costs of food and other necessities.
Lastly, you’ll want to have enough money to pay for the finer things in life, like entertainment. You don’t want to run short of cash and end up missing out on the fun parts of college, after all.
But, make sure that you have a cushion included in your budget. You need to make sure you have enough money available to fix things in case of an emergency.
Have Your Paperwork Ready
There’s actually a lot more paperwork than you might think involved in college. First, your school will likely require your health records, along with records of any vaccinations that the college or state requires.
You’ll want all your identification, along with photocopies. These include your driver’s license, passport, social security number, and birth certificate.
You’ll need backups of all your financial aid information in case there’s some sort of snafu at the registrar’s office. The more copies of your paperwork you have properly filed, the fewer issues you’ll have as you begin your career as a college freshman.
Know Your Skills
You need to make sure your study skills are up to snuff before you go to college. Try out different methods to help you memorize and retain information.
While you’ll need study skills to get through college, you’ll also need to be able to take proper care of yourself when you’re going away to school. Ensure that you have at least some basic cooking skills so that you can feed yourself outside of cafeteria hours.
Practice doing basic cleaning tasks, such as doing your laundry, using a dishwasher, scrubbing down the bathroom, and more. Know what to do in case of an emergency, whether it be a minor one like a lost debit card or a major one like an injury.
And, understanding self-care is tantamount when you’re starting college. You don’t want to end up feeling completely stressed out and overwhelmed with everything and manage to wash out of school.
Know how to schedule yourself to have time to yourself when you need it, and know what you need to do to take a deep breath, calm down and lower your stress levels when you’re struggling. These could include getting more sleep, yoga, meditation, and anything else that could help you relax.
Start Your First Year Of College Out Right
Clearly, there are a lot of things you can do to get ready for your first year of college. Start a checklist, and make sure you don’t miss any of the major steps.
Do you want more help with your education and more? Scroll through a few of our other articles.