The transition between high school and college can be difficult. Often new students don’t know what to expect during their first semester of college. It can be a challenge to find the perfect balance between your social life, studies, and sleep. As you wrap up your high school career and start thinking about the fact that college is in your future, we have a few tips to help you excel during your first semester at school!
If you didn’t have to study in high school, you will in college! Pay close attention to each course syllabus (a document with course expectations and timeline), and take responsibility to plan ahead. Find a study method that works for you and stick with it; many students find that making flash cards or creating a study outline is beneficial. It’s also important to find out which study environment works best for you. Some people like to study in their room with music on and others need the complete silence of a library. Find a study style that works for you and use it often.
Part of not getting overwhelmed by college is making time for yourself. Don’t feel as if you should be doing homework all of the time, it is important to find a balance between work and friends. Make time to have fun! The friends you make in college are often lifelong, so don’t miss out on these important relationships.
Don’t forget that you are at college to learn! Unlike high school, many college classes do not take attendance. Go anyway! You are much more likely to do well on assignments and exams if you attend the class and take your own notes. Also, if cell phones are allowed in your college classes do your best to put the phone away and devote your attention to the lecture, you will thank yourself come exam time.
If you will be living away from home for the first time, learn how to do the behind-the-scenes cleaning that your parents may have done for you in high school. For example, learn how to do laundry, learn how to load and use the dishwasher, remember to take your trash out and clean your bathroom. These tasks, while simple, are a big part of becoming a responsible and self-sufficient college student!
The first semester of college can be a scary transition time, but it is also full of fun and excitement! With these tips, you will be sure to have a happy and successful first semester as a college student. Enjoy it and use this time to continue learning about which of your interests may lead to a future career, as well as what you might select as your major program.