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Freshman Survival Guide: Tips to Prepare for the First Year of College


Posted on June 22, 2016 by Delaware Valley University.

Going from high school to college is a major change in any student’s life. To make the transition as smooth as possible, it’s important to prepare before you arrive on campus. Here are eight ways to do so:

1.      Hit the Books

Compared to high school, college classes require tons of reading. Use your summer to read material recommended for your major so you’re not overwhelmed when classes start. 

Depending on your classes, you may have required reading before school begins. If so, give yourself enough time to finish it before the first day of class.

2.      Improve Your Technical Skills

College students complete the majority of their homework on computers, so it’s important to have sharp technical skills. Over the summer, spend time learning to type quickly, research efficiently or use programs like Excel. These technical skills will help you to complete assignments on time and succeed in the classroom.

3.      Work on Communication Skills

During your college career, you’ll collaborate with professors, students and even potential employers. It’s important to communicate your ideas effectively in these settings, whether it’s face to face, over the phone or through email. Use your summer to hone these skills and find a communication style that works for you. 

4.      Work on Time Management

Finding time for academics, extracurricular activities and a social life is a juggling act. Luckily, there are tons of digital tools and apps available to help you keep track of time commitments. This summer, find time management tools and strategies that work for you and use them to your advantage when you arrive on campus.

5.      Look into Part-Time Employment

Between tuition, books and room and board, college is expensive. Factor in activity fees, entertainment and groceries, and your daily budget shrinks quickly.

A job can be a great way to make pocket money and get involved in the community. However, jobs take time away from class, so talk to your family about financial and workload responsibilities before deciding if a job is right for you. 

6.      Contact Your Professors

Before class starts, reach out to your professors and start building relationships with them. See if they have summer office hours or if they’d be willing to talk to you during orientation. Opening a line of communication with teachers helps you succeed in class and can even open up research, internship and career opportunities down the road.

7.      Go to Orientation

Take advantage of any first-year activities your school offers and come prepared with a list of questions. Going to orientation is a great way to meet other new students and makes the jump from high school to college less scary.

8.      Learn Your Campus

Before move-in day, visit your school’s campus to get the lay of the land. Find out where classrooms and residence halls are located and stake out its recreational or dining facilities. Being aware of your surroundings will help you feel safe and makes navigating campus a lot easier over the first few weeks.

Starting your freshman year of college is an exciting time, but it can also be scary if you’re not prepared. But with our tips above, you can arrive on campus feeling confident.