Going to college is a huge life transition. For many, it is something they look forward to. The independence offers, meeting new people and making new friends in an entirely new environment, and all the fun it promises are some of the things that excite many high school graduates.
On the other side of the spectrum, some people fall into anxiety at the thought of going to college as a freshman. They barely know what to expect, and the knowledge that they’d have to cope, make decisions, and handle their day-to-day life on their own without parental intervention gives them the creeps.
Regardless of what category you fall into, it is essential you consciously prepare for college to ensure you don’t run into pitfalls many first-year students fall into.
“Live life as it comes” is what you often hear. But for a life transition as critical as leaving for college, you want to make sure you get things right by observing the following.
1. Begin your college search
While there are many great colleges all over the United States, not all may be the best for you. One of the greatest mistakes you can make during this time is choosing a college because of a friend or location. When going about how to choose a college, it’s advisable to speak with a counselor or certified educational consultant. Such professionals will not only guide you on the right college to apply to but also expose you to certain financial and academic tips you’ll need while in school.
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2. Learn how to take notes impromptu
The teaching style in college is quite different from that in high school. Your teachers may have more than enough time in high school to give you notes and explain things till you grasp them.
In college, the lecturers can talk on and on, discussing important facts relevant to your field without giving any notes. While some people have photographic memories, believing you can remember every detail is a lie.
The purpose of you going to college is to broaden your knowledge and get smarter so you can flourish in your chosen career. It’s therefore important you hone your note-taking skills so you can revert to that valuable information when you need it later. Such information is vital to your success as a college student and graduate.
3. Prepare for intense studying and research
The homework you did in high school is nothing compared with what you’ll find in college. However, don’t fret. Just as you grew to meet high school level, that’s how it would be in college.
Nevertheless, have it in mind that you would have to learn so many things on your own in college. A lecturer may come to class and give you a topic to research, which may be the key to passing your examination on that course. It’s up to you how much you’re willing to study without guidance to amass knowledge relevant to your career.
4. Don’t limit yourself to academics alone
One important point to note when preparing for college is that this phase of life sets you up for the journey ahead. And to a large extent, life after school isn’t all about what you learned in class.
Therefore, it would be helpful to you if you could grab every opportunity that comes your way to learn extracurricular activities in college. It could be through community service, joining a social group, finding a part-time job, or bonding with people of like minds.
You’ll get to meet people of all kinds and backgrounds in college. You don’t have to mingle with all. But there are things you can learn from that one student you met that can transform your entire life.
College is filled with opportunities, but they’re hardly ever in the open. While keeping your studies as a priority, be open to other things that develop you as a person.
5. Choose to be responsible
In high school, attendance was compulsory. But one of the perks of college is no one forces you to attend classes. It’s up to you whether you’d sleep in, drink all day, or go to school once throughout the semester.
Nevertheless, it would help if you don’t get swayed by the level of freedom you’re given. Instead, stay focused on the primary aim of being in college: gaining the skills and knowledge required to become relevant to your society.
Class activities are where you’ll get most of what comes out in your exams. Hence, attending class is critical to your success in college.
Skipping too many classes means you’ll miss out on valuable materials. Studying would become an uphill task when the exam comes, and you may not do well in the end.
6. Find something that interests you
Life becomes like clockwork when your day is filled with mandatory tasks. You do these things because they are important, not because you enjoy them.
To stay on the side of sanity, find something you enjoy doing and fit it into your schedule. It could be sports, some time out with friends, organizations, or some activity that aligns with your major. Such activities get your juices flowing, and you need that high spirit to give your best in whatever you do.
7. Build time management skills
One essential skill you’ll need to learn while preparing for college is time management. With so much homework to sort, classes to attend, and social activities to meet up with, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed and losing focus.
The ability to balance these things is also vital to your success in college. Try to allocate time to each obligation you have and work with that time. Mark out all the exam dates on your calendar and make the preceding days activity-free so you have enough time to revise.
8. Build relationships
This has already been alluded to, but it deserves a section of its own. In college, you get the opportunity to meet people of diverse cultures, beliefs, backgrounds, classes, and networks. The brightest thought leaders of tomorrow are in college today, just as those of today were once in college.
You may get to partner with a classmate and together invent some word-class machine or discover the cure to a disease. Find people who are driven by passion, people whose dreams align with yours.
Make acquaintance with your professors as well. They may be of significant help to you at a point.
Life in high school is huge fun, but your college days are bound to dwarf all of that. Make the most of it, and the life ahead will most definitely be one filled with achievements.