Six Tips to Prepare for Your First Year of College

Your first year of college can be an exciting and daunting transition. If you’re feeling a little stressed about it (which is completely normal), here are some tips that can help take the edge off and make you feel better prepared to take the big step into college life.

Sharpen your reading skills. Reading on a regular basis not only increases your speed, it also enhances comprehension. If your chosen college has assigned summer reading, get started on it. If you don’t have assigned reading, check into a recommended reading list and see how many books you can finish before the first day of college to get ahead.

Use technology to your advantage. Understanding how to use various technologies can help you be more proficient at conducting online research, staying organized, and effectively managing assignments and projects. There are lots of time-management and study apps available to make it easier to manage college life. Here is a list of apps that can make your college experience more efficient, fun, and safe.

Know how to get help. If you’re feeling frustrated about an assignment or project, it’s important to know where you can get help. Reach out to your professor after class or contact them during office hours with your questions. Or check into academic resources (e.g., tutoring) to get the extra help you need.

Participate in orientation activities. This is a great time to learn about clubs on campus, sign up for intramural sports, consider a service opportunity, and meet people with common interests. Be open to learning something new, and get ready make friends.

Create a budget. From paying tuition to eating out with friends, you’ll find that college life often brings on new expenses. It’s important to start thinking about how much money you’ll need each month to help pay for things like tuition, gas, food, clothes, etc. If you create a budget for yourself before you arrive on campus and do your best to stick to it, you’ll be ahead of the game at managing your college expenses.

Get social. It’s important to be confident and friendly when you first connect with new classmates, friends, and professors. Be ready to share some of your experiences, talk clearly about your thoughts/ideas, and be open to meeting new people and learning about new perspectives. Socializing might also help you find a part-time job to help pay for expenses or get some valuable research experience with a professor.

Although going to college can feel a bit intimidating, you’ll quickly learn that with a little preparation, college life is manageable and might be one of the most valuable experiences of your life.