It’s hard to believe that six years ago I had just graduated from high school and was preparing for Saginaw Valley State University. Back then, I really had no idea of what to expect. Excited to move into a new place, meet new people, and take on new challenges. I thought I was ready.
I was wrong.
After deciding to attend SVSU, I didn’t think there was a whole lot more to it than moving in the week prior to beginning classes.
Again, I was wrong.
I thought I’d be able to coast through college much like I did high school, without much studying or putting forth too much effort.
WRONG! For someone that isn’t quick to admit when I’m wrong, this is becoming tougher and tougher to write. Anyways, you get the picture. I was unprepared when it came to what to expect and what was expected of me as a freshman. Looking back, my preparation got a little better year after year (perhaps that’s why my grades also got better). It’s the old cliché: “If I knew then what I know now,” I think the transition from high school to college would have been much easier.
In my experience, it’s better to be too prepared than not prepared enough. Do you feel like you’re ready to make the big leap? Whether you think you’re ready or not, here are some tips to help get you ready for the big switch:
1. Attend all orientations. They’re all important. I remember skipping out on one or two at SVSU and paying for it in the end because many of the classes I wanted to take were full.
2. Find out who you’re living with. College dorms differ significantly from college to college. I lived with seven other guys as a freshman. As far as furniture and appliances go, it’s much easier to coordinate with your other roommates to figure out who plans on bringing what. That way, you aren’t stuck with two microwaves and two toasters when only one of each is needed.
3. Wait to buy books. Showing up to your first class without your books might sound like a tip on how to fail. It’s not. I learned after my first semester that many professors “require” the purchase of certain books although the books go unused during the semester. In 99% of my courses, the first week of class lasted a half hour max with professors using the time to hand out the syllabus and answer any questions.
If you’re dead set on getting your books beforehand, buy them online. You will save a ton of money using sites such as half.com rather than buying from the bookstore.
4. Organization is key. I’ll admit, I wasn’t too organized in high school. While my parents always took me out to get notebooks and folders for all my individual classes, I always ended up using the same notebook for all my classes. That won’t cut it in college. When it comes to maintaining a schedule, a big wall calendar is ideal for remembering key dates.
5. Get to know your campus. You’re going to be spending lots of time there over the next four years. While the main reason of going to college is to get an education, it’s also important to make time to have some fun. You’ll find that your dorm will host many fun events throughout the semester. Take advantage of them.
6. Do NOT procrastinate. All my high school teachers knew me as a procrastinator. Many of my teachers often joked with me that it wouldn’t fly in college. They were right. Most professors won’t care that your dog ate your homework, or any other ridiculous excuse you come up with. By getting a jump-start on all your work, you’ll make your life a lot easier.
7. Manage your money. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’ll soon find credit card companies bombarding your mailbox with special offers. While a credit card is a good way to help establish credit, keep your spending under control.
8. Take advantage of campus resources. Whether it’s finding a tutor for a specific class or talking to an academic advisor about what classes you should take, the people are there to help you. When it comes to signing up for classes, you’ll save a lot of time if you talk to an advisor a few weeks before registration opens than if you wait until the last second.
9. Don’t give up. College isn’t supposed to be easy. There are going to be plenty of days that you’re going to wish you were doing something else. It’s crucial to fight through the urge of skipping classes and turning work in late. The harder you work while you’re in school, the more benefits you’ll reap after college.
Looking back, college went by way too fast for me. While I improved and began to take advantage of some of these tips, it’s safe to say I would have been much more prepared if I had known how important it was to follow these tips.
Do you have any tips you think would be helpful to college freshmen? Let me know!