Freshman year of college can be incredibly daunting for newly graduated high school seniors. From learning how to navigate campus life, to making friends in a sea of new faces and to attempting to manage the drastically different workload of college classes, adjusting to life as a college student can be incredibly challenging.
In an attempt to help ease the burden of such a transition of being a veteran high school student to a now unsuspecting college freshman, here are five ways in which you can succeed as a freshman in college:
- ATTEND CLASS
Unlike in high school, many classes in college don’t require mandatory attendance. As tempting as this may make skipping class, don’t! As a freshman with no prior experience in college classes, going to lectures is incredibly important for learning how to study and also in getting used to the much faster pace that most college classes follow in comparison to that of high school’s. It’s also in lectures that you will be able to start socializing and making friends with fellow classmates. Try introducing yourself to someone sitting next to you and see where that takes you; you might just make a friend or two!
- INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR PROFESSORS
As a freshman in college, you will most likely be taking classes consisting of 200+ students. This will make it very hard for Professors to be able to get to know their students personally, and so taking that first step to introduce yourself to your professor can be a great way to start networking. Go to their office hours, but if that is not an option for you, schedule an appointment! Professors are usually very open to meeting with students. Introduce yourself, your major, what your current goals are, and iterate your excitement for their class. In doing so, you are able to establish a great connection that will be very useful as you continue to progress through your college years.
- CREATE AN ORGANIZATION SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOU
In high school, classes are highly structured and most teachers guide and instruct on when to submit assignments and exactly how to do them. That is not the case in college. In college, the coursework is a lot more independent and students are expected to be able to keep up with readings, class assignments, quizzes and exam dates on their own. Professors will not hold your hand and guide you to submit assignments and such! This is why it is incredibly important to create a system of organizing your classes and assignments that will make it very easy for you to be able to keep track and follow along with the required materials while also providing you with a way to create an effective schedule that allows for life outside of school.
Some great examples of organization systems include inputting your scheduled assignments and exam dates in a calendar, having a paper planner in which you keep track of assignments on a week to week basis, creating daily to-do lists of things that must be completed each day of the week, and so many more. Your organization system does not have to be conventional or adhere to what others are doing; it just has to work for you!
- UTILIZE AVAILABLE RESOURCES
There are so many resources on campus that are readily available to students, however most students never make use of them during their time in college. Making use of these resources, though, can play a huge role in your success as a college student, especially as a freshman in need of help adjusting to college life. For classes, there are on-campus resources such as tutoring services as well as study groups for students who are struggling with the course material. If you would like to discuss something specific for a particular class, go to office hours or meet with the Teaching Assistant for that class, they are always more than happy to help!
If you are struggling with finding out how to study for a particular course or are having difficulty properly managing your time, seek out an Academic Coach. Academic Coaches are there to help students form good study habits and create systems that will aid them in forming a healthy work-life balance. There are also mental health services for students who would like to speak with a mental health professional. Help is always readily available for students, so please be sure to take advantage of all of the resources that are on your campus!
- JOIN A CLUB OR ORGANIZATION ON CAMPUS
With a vast array of clubs and organizations on campus, joining a few that interest you is a great way to get involved in campus life and also meet other students who have similar interests as you. In your first few weeks, make sure to attend a few meetings for clubs and/or organizations that you might be interested in joining. This can be a great way for you to start building more connections and progressing towards future leadership positions as well as making new friends!
As daunting as college can be, it is also an incredible time of growth, forming new friendships and relationships, building important connections and being a part of important life experiences that will help shape you as an individual and guide you toward your future endeavors. Be sure to enjoy every moment!