How to Transition to College Life

Graduating High School and moving away to college can be scary, or it can be exciting. Not knowing what to expect, how to act, and having mixed feelings are common among many freshman in college. There are plenty of ways to find your niche along the way through your first semester on campus.


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    Stay Organized - This includes two main points: Knowing your schedule, and buying a planner/calendar. The work load in college is going to be a lot more than in high school. The better you know your due dates, class times, and breaks will help you tailor your time management to your personal learning needs. It will also help you get a feel for how much time you will need to dedicate to studying and homework outside of class, so you have a better view of you're available social and free time.
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    Print Out Your Syllabi - On the first day of classes (sometimes even the first couple of classes) teachers will want to go over the class outline with you. Main points will include what tests are mandatory, what projects will be like, what grading scale will be used, how to contact the professor, if attendance is mandatory, and other important details to know about the class. Having a hard copy in front of you will allow you to star important items, make notes, and overall better prepare you for the overview of the course that the professor gives.
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    Get To Know Your Roommate - Of course this step applies only if you have one. It is crucial to try to talk to your roommate and discuss and compare your interests, hobbies, values, etc. You will be living with this person all year, and it will all be what you make of it. If you two get along, great, this can usually end in a lasting friendship. However if you find that you are uncomfortable for whatever reason, it will be beneficial to talk to your Resident Assistant and address them with your concerns. Under most circumstances if you are truly unhappy, you can request to be moved.
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    Make Your Dorm More Comfortable - Most college dorms are the basic four walls, tile floors, desks, and a bed. One window, or two if you're lucky. It's important to decorate and make the place feel more comfortable since you will be spending a lot of time there. If you're having a hard time with the transition from home, try posting more pictures of your family or hometown around your things. Maybe even have your loved ones send you a comfort package, a simple letter or favorite snack from home can be comforting when you're feeling a little home sick. Surround yourself with your favorite colors, decorations, posters and pictures. You want to feel as though the place is your own, and personalized. College is about exploring yourself and setting out into the world on your own, so start expressing yourself a little through your decorations.
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    Meet More People - If you're finding it hard to transition to the life on campus, it may be greatly helpful to branch out and meet some more people. You'd be surprised how much the support and friendship of even just one person can better your experience. Great ways to do this is through joining clubs, teams, meeting others on your dormitory floor, or simply talking to the people next to you in your classes. Most colleges have a running list of clubs, which you can pick from and attend interest meetings for. If sports teams are more your thing, but you aren't feeling too professional, try out for an intramural team! There are plenty of things on campuses to get involved in. You might even decide you want to start your own club. Get out, get involved, and get socializing.
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    Greek Life - A huge subcategory to meeting new people is Greek life. A lot of students think this is expected in college, but that is not at all the case. Sororities and Fraternities on campus definitely have a known presence, but they aren't for everyone. When rush time comes around on your campus, attend a few interest meetings or talk to some kids in one. If you feel greek life is for you, they are a great route to meet new people and to get involved both on and off campus. If you aren't exactly jumping at the opportunity to join, don't stress out. It simply isn't for everyone and just remember that your college experience is what you make of it.
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    Join Social Media - (If you haven't already!) This step is important because not only will it help you feel better about keeping in touch with friends from home, it can help you connect with the new ones you're making at college. Sites like Facebook are great for inviting people to events like concerts, parties, and fundraisers. Twitter is great for sending quick comments to friends, like "want to meet for lunch on Main Street @Friend1?" or "Can't wait to come home and see @Friend2 on spring break!" It's a great way to stay connected all around, and a lot easier than the old fashioned writing letters home.
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    Encourage Visitors - Most campuses have a 'Friends and Family Weekend' dedicated to students having their loved ones come and visit them. There are usually activities and sights planned for your visitors to see the campus and all it has to offer. It might be more motivating for you along this transition to a much different life to have your parents, siblings, and loved ones to come visit and support you. It's a great reminder that you are not completely alone in this new scary stage of your life, and also a perfect opportunity to prove your newfound responsibility to your parents and loved ones, and make them proud.
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    Go Out And Explore - After you've met those new friends from clubs and teams, gotten to know your roommate, and been invited to parties on Facebook... go to them! Mingle at a frat party, or go to a sponsored concert or event put on by the University. You never know where you might end up having the most fun. If you don't explore different options, you might never know where you belong.
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    Talk To Your Parents - I know it might seem like a nuisance to call them every day or every other day at times, but they really can provide the best advice for you. Even if your parents didn't attend college they can help you when you're feeling stressed out, lonely, just need someone to talk to, or if on the opposite side you just want to brag about the wonderful time you're having. Try to keep in touch with them as much as possible. Remember, this isn't just your transition, they are adapting to their own changes in environment too now that you're gone!
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    Remember That It's Not The End Of The World - If you don't do so well in a class, if you haven't picked a major your first semester, or even if you aren't sure if you're at the right college... It's ok. The main thing to remember in your first year transitioning is that this is the time you're supposed to explore. You're out on your own for the first time, and no one knows the direct path to walk on. There are going to be times you wonder if you're making the right decision, and there are going to be regrets or desires that you ponder over. This is just the beginning to finding out who you are and what your place will be in the world, and there is much change ahead of you. Remember that this transition is unfamiliar for everyone, and you are not alone in wondering which way to go.


  • Be open to new experiences
  • Be positive with your outlook on college life
  • Try not to go out too often (parties, social events, etc.) students often find it hard to balance out time management the first year.
  • Get to know your professors. Knowing your assignments, getting help, and success in the class can be greatly improved by simply talking to them or sending them an email whenever you have an inquiry about the class.

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Categories: Campus Life