Have you received your acceptance letter to the college of your choice and are you ecstatic to begin your college adventure? We definitely want to begin with a word of congratulations and kudos for continuing your education.
Before your semester begins, there are a few pieces of information that can help you be better prepared for college life. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to avoid any surprises and what you might expect during your first semester.
Keep reading for all the necessary details to help you prepare for the upcoming semester!
Plan for the Long Haul
You might be feeling a bit ambitious about starting school and want to take as many classes as you can fit into your schedule while still keeping your sanity. While this might work for some people and upperclassmen, it’s important to pace yourself.
The length of a semester will vary between schools. Typically a shorter semester will mean more intense classes while a longer semester allows for a bit of a slower pace but possibly more in-depth coverage of a subject.
If a semester is really short (like a winter intersession) it is not advisable to take more than one or two classes at a time. No matter how long your semester is, all of your classes will be measured in credit hours. It can be tempting to take a large number of credit hours in order to get a jump start on your college career – be careful doing this as it can cause you to burn out before you get into the true ‘meat’ of your degree!
You can schedule your classes around work or work around your classes, but try to pick a style of scheduling and stick to it. This will help your employer adjust to your needs as you progress through your degree.
If you are attending a physical university, as you are scheduling your classes have a map of the campus near you. Having classes that are back to back and across campus for each other will end up giving you an unintended workout.
Start Saving Now for Your Books
Even if your tuition is covered by a scholarship or financial aid, there is a chance that this money won’t stretch far enough to cover your books. Unfortunately, brand new books are super expensive and it seems like every semester a new version comes out which keeps the cost high.
Ideally, you can start saving now for your books. If you can email your professor before the class starts, find out if the newest version is necessary or if a book that is a few years old will suffice. Opting for an older version means that you might be able to find the book online at a cheaper rate than the brand-new text at your campus bookstore.
Sometimes the newest version is necessary. Find out if the book can be downloaded instead of purchasing a hard copy. Typically a downloaded version will be cheaper and you can print off the pages as you need them if you choose to do so!
Expect Less Oversight
If you’re starting college the semester after you graduate high school, you might be expecting to have teachers breathe down your neck and constantly as you about your assignments. In college, you won’t be micromanaged.
It will be up to you to get organized, know when projects are due, when the exams are, and generally be able to keep up with your readings as they are assigned. Chances are, your professor won’t even know your name unless you happen to be in a very small class or you make an effort to introduce yourself.
Take Advantage of Office Hours
When you’re enrolled in a class that seems overwhelming, you can ask for help during your professor’s office hours. Most of the time, you won’t need an appointment and can just pop in as you need.
Meeting your professor outside of the classroom will show that you are interested in the topic and are trying to do your best. Often a professor will go the extra mile to ensure you understand complicated lessons and be a bit more lenient with grading if they see that effort has been made.
When you’re enrolled in a class that seems overwhelming, you can ask for help during your professor’s office hours. Most of the time, you won’t need an appointment and can just pop in as you need. Meeting your professor outside of the classroom will show that you are interested in the topic and are trying to do your best. Often a professor will go the extra mile to ensure you understand complicated lessons and be a bit more lenient with grading if they see that effort has been made. Yet, have in mind that every professor has to make enough consultation time for every student and at times responsiveness is not their sharpest tool in the shed.
If it means the world to you to be a part of a thorough education process with the professor’s much needed supervised hands-on experience every day, a vocational school may be another interesting option for you. The trades have a long history in the US and even the newest wave of vocational trades is in high demand. Make sure to take your time and evaluate all options and possibilities before making a final decision.
Making the Most of Your College Career
Even if you were a shy kid in high school or weren’t quite as popular as the cheerleaders and football players, attending college will be your time to shine! You can become whoever you’d like and join clubs or intramural sports teams without the fear of judgment.
There are professional societies, Greek fraternities and sororities, and even religious clubs. All of which will be open to you because you’re a student!
Most campuses are so big that people won’t necessarily know you but such a large number of people will make it easy to find your niche, make friends, and really live the college experience. Get involved in various activities and clubs; attend the sporting events to cheer on your team.
It will ultimately be up to you to ensure that you enjoy your college adventure and learn as much as possible about your chosen field. Have fun and enjoy it!