How to Get Ready for College
You’ve been accepted to college or have decided to go to community college. You’ve applied for tons of scholarships and grants. You’re making the grades in school and are participating in extracurricular activities. Now, it’s time to start getting prepared for college.
Prepping for college starts long before you even submit the first application for your first school and keeps going long after your first day of orientation. The earlier you begin to prep for your college years, the easier your first day and the rest of your college experience will be.
The College Prep List
Whether you’re a non-traditional student going back to school or a high school grad getting ready for your first years of college, everyone could use a bit of prep work before taking the plunge into the next stage of academia. Make sure to speak to school guidance counselors, teachers, or family members and ask if they have their own tips for you.
- Read as Much as Possible – If you’re not one who likes to read books or articles, high school is the time to start. College will require you to read on an almost daily basis whether it’s from your books or doing research. It doesn’t matter what you decide to read, so long as you’re reading frequently. Reading increases your vocabulary and will improve your writing skills.
- Get Better at Writing and Take it Seriously – Reading and writing go hand and hand. While you’re increasing how much you read every day, try to improve your writing skills if you know they could be better. Don’t make your professors or instructors struggle to read your bad writing. A poorly written assignment can make you look bad and don’t be surprised if you receive a note about your bad writing. Learn the basic structure of sentences, how to use a thesaurus properly, and say what you need to say in as few words as possible.
- Practice Note Taking – Note taking isn’t always the most fun thing to do in class, but in college it’s essential. Your instructor likely isn’t going to repeat themselves in the middle of a lesson, so be prepared to write down anything and everything you think is important, especially if you have a horrible memory and know you won’t remember specific details. Make sure to keep your notes in a place you can easily find later.
- Work on Time Management – Being able to set schedules and stay on track with assignments, extra curriculars, and social engagements is critical in college. While all-night cramming sessions are a normal part of life for college students, practicing better time management skills can make sure you have fewer sleepless nights. It’s also a great idea to research into time management tools like phone apps to help you keep track of tasks and when they need to be completed.
- Develop Your Social and People Skills – College is the place where having friends and strong social skills can help during tough times. Being a natural people person can help you build a strong social circle of people who can help you study or simply be there to lean on when the pressure of school becomes too much. It also wouldn’t hurt to build a friendly relationship with your professors. Doing so might get you a bit of extra time or help with an assignment.
- Research Potential Majors – It’s alright if you have no clue what you want your major to be when you get to college. Most people change their majors several times in school. Before going to college, research several potential options and how they can benefit you in the real world.
- Consider Getting a Job During Your Freshman Year – If your schedule permits, consider getting a job to help cover unexpected costs or just to have money to go out occasionally. But if working isn’t an option….
- Learn to Budget Money Carefully – Scholarships, grants, and even loans can only stretch so far, especially if you’re not able to work while in school. Before you get to college, learn effective ways to manage your money and learn to keep a budget. Ask your parents the best way to stretch the few bucks you have in your pocket.
- Research Ways to Get Involved – In addition to building your social skills, find ways to take part in college culture. Get involved in various activities and clubs and meet new people who might give you an insight to different cultures or ideas you didn’t know anything about before.
- Always Know Where to Get Help – Whether you’re struggling with classes and need a bit of study help, need additional financial help, or are having trouble coping with the pressures of school and being away from home, always know where you can turn to for help. Visit the school and learn about all the services it offers so you can be prepared to use them in the event you need help.
College is a Challenge
College, just like high school, can be some of the best years of your life if you don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Keep great study habits, make lots of friends, and never be afraid to ask for help or seek help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Having good social skills can help you build up a network of people who can help you out in more ways than you realize.
Learn to budget your time and your money. You will have a short supply of both quickly if you don’t learn to manage them appropriately. But of all the important tips about preparing for college, remember not to over prepare. If everything is going well, make some time to have fun and experience something new when you get the chance.