As parents and professionals, we often get the eye roll from students when we try to relate our own college experience to their upcoming college experience. We fully acknowledge that we went to college in the Dark Ages, and that today’s college experience is quite different. To that end, we have reached out to one of our students that just completed their freshman year in college for their version of….
6 Pieces of Advice to Incoming College Freshmen from a Former College Freshman
1. Get to know your professors. While it may be intimidating to go into a 150-person lecture hall, it is important to make the classroom feel smaller than it is. The best way to do that is by getting to know your professor. I recommend starting with personally introducing yourself on the first day, either before or after class. You can continue to foster this relationship by dropping in on office hours to ask a few questions or get help on a paper. While it is often believed that college professors do not want to hold your hand, they really want to be able to help their students, especially ones that show interest in the class.
2. Get involved. There are so many different clubs and organizations on college campuses, many of them focusing on things you may have never heard of before. College is a great time to try that new sport you never had the opportunity to play in high school, or to learn a new way of dance. The opportunities are endless, and even if you end up not liking the activity, there’s a good chance that you will end up meeting some cool people along the way.
3. Find your passion. While high schools are limited to a narrow range of classes that they can offer due to their size, colleges offer classes on things that you have never even considered. For instance, you could study video game design, forensics, sports economics, or archeology. College gives you room in your schedule to experiment and try your hand at new subjects, so take advantage of it because you never know where you will find your new passion.
4. Go to class. Now this may seem like a ridiculous comment to make, but no one is watching over your shoulder to make sure you go to school every day. While a teacher may say that they don’t take attendance and laying in your bed for an extra hour may be difficult to pass up, missing class will hurt your grade in the long run. Teachers often give away a lot of very useful hints during class time if you are paying close attention, so don’t miss out on free points for an extra hour of sleep.
5. Make friends of all ages. When you start to get involved in different activities on campus, you will begin to notice older students who seem like they have it all figured out. Despite the fact that they likely are not as put together as they may seem to you, they have been through what you are experiencing at that time. Reach out to the older students, whether it be for course recommendations, good places to eat, job connections, or just their companionship. You will be surprised by how someone just a few years older than you can offer you a tremendous amount of guidance.
6. Learn from your friends. For many of you, you are coming from a day school where all of the students are from your hometown. In college, kids come from all over the world to get the best education possible. Take some time out of your day to go talk to the international student down the hall from you, and learn about their culture. College is probably the most diverse environment that you will likely be in for the rest of your life, so take full advantage of it.
Garrett Rohr Educational Consulting is a full-service, academic consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. With a combined 40+ years experience in education, college counseling, boarding school admissions, learning styles, and executive functioning skills, GREC delivers unparalleled guidance and support to students and families navigating important academic decisions. Services include: complete academic advisement, college planning, independent day school and boarding school consulting, SSAT Flex Test administration, and executive functioning support.
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