Derenda King, CFP®/CDFA®
Making the Transition to College Life
Moving from high school to college is usually a big transition for students, but the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in colleges changing practically everything, especially the way they offer instruction. Most are either offering classes fully online or using a hybrid model. For incoming freshmen who are stressing over this new chapter in their lives amid all the uncertainties, here are a few tips to help you prepare and ultimately build a foundation for college success.
1. Prepare for online classes
To prepare for online classes and new social distancing guidelines, students can begin by checking their college’s website frequently for updates. Prior to the first day of school, students should not only acquire all of the necessary technology they may need to successfully complete their online classes, but also research their school’s resources before problems arise.
2. Research college majors
Many schools don’t require students to declare a major until their sophomore or junior year. But students should begin thinking about what they’d like to study in preparation to select courses. For example, students who want to pursue a career in law or medicine should learn more about those tracks if their college offers them. Students can do so by reaching out to their academic advisors who can help them figure out a plan of action for completing their required courses.
3. Learn how to manage your time wisely
Balancing the academic demands of college requires effective time management skills. There are plenty of resources available online and via smartphone apps that students can utilize to help them stay on track and remain organized. For more information on digital tools, check out this article: Gear Up for College with these Essential Virtual Tools.
4. Consider reaching out to professors before classes start
Once students have registered for their classes, they should consider emailing their professors or seeing if they are available to speak via videoconferencing or phone. Cultivating a strong relationship with instructors can be instrumental in helping students succeed. However, it’s important to make sure that they are respectful and mature in all of their communication with their faculty and other academic staff. Avoid using emojis and texting lingo, such as “LOL”.
5. Know how to seek help with your academics
Most if not all colleges have offices dedicated to providing academic assistance to students, such as tutorial services. Students should also know that they can often speak with their professors one-on-one via open office hours. Library staff are also great resources, especially if they need help with a research project or paper.
For more tips, take a look at this U.S. News and World Reports article: 12 Ways to Prepare for Your Freshman Year of College. For tips on what to avoid, check out this: Don’t Make These 10 Freshman Mistakes in College.