No matter how life has been to date, college life will be the fresh start you need to define or re-define yourself.
The next four or more years of university life – depending on the chosen program – can be the best years of your life.
Upon graduating, you will not just leave with a degree but with fantastic career prospects as well as lifelong friendships.
However, you may have many concerns about how college would turn out to be because, for many, this is the first time walking out of their comfort zone.
Questions enveloping your mind may include; whether making friends would be easy, how would I budget adequately, would I need to pick an odd job, what major should I select?
For starters, don’t overthink; time will provide you with perspective. In the meanwhile, to prepare, Superprof is here with some tips and recommendations.
Superprof has prepared a college guide, highlighting necessary things to know before going to college.
For more on this, read on:
The College Board reports that 64% of students at private universities and 40% of students at public universities live on campus grounds, whereas the rest either live off-campus or with parents.
This signifies that the vast majority move away from home, a step towards becoming more responsible and self-reliant.
Starting to live on your own will get you to think about what to carry along to your new home; only consider essentials and make sure you don’t leave any stone unturned.
In most cases, dormitories do not have a lot of storage space. However, you can skip this thought if you are opting for off-campus housing with ample space.
Before deciding, it would be best to check your college guide or check with the institution regarding items that are allowed what is not.
You don’t want to spend on a fridge, TV, or microwave if you aren’t allowed to carry them along.
With that said, here is a definitive packing list for new college students:
- Carry along comfortable clothes to wear during classes. Also, keep suits, and formal outfits for occasions, presentations, and meetings
- All smart devices that you can’t do without, such as a phone, laptop, and smartwatch
- Quilts, pillows, sheets, and other bedding
- Necessary kitchen supplies, including plates and other utensils
- A stash of essential medication such as pain killers, cold and flu medicine, etc.
- Earplugs and eye masks, especially if you have a noisy roommate
- If allowed by campus housing, your car
Better Cognitive Abilities
College life can be quite challenging for most, considering how many subjects, topics, and materials need to be covered.
Additionally, you are tested on every corner, with pop-quizzes, examinations, projects, etc. And if your choice of college has a competitive environment, you’re in for a challenging ride!
Despite American systems doing their best to get students to study on an on-going basis, our short retention spans can still be an issue.
The fact is that after about four weeks, most students don’t recall what they have learned. This means when preparing for finals, the basics learned during the start of the semester are long-forgotten.
This is why we need to work on our memorization, and here are a few tips to get you started:
Form A Connection
Pick a course that you can relate to rather than just for the sake of earning credits. Because if you just learn during exams, the chances are that you won’t remember much after attempting it.
However, if you are invested in the learning process and are passionate about the subject matter, not only will you be quick to grasp, but you will remember what you have learned.
For instance, those looking to be mathematicians would be interested in (QBA) Quantitative Business Analysis, Businesses Math, and Calculus.
Likewise, someone interested in logistics will pick up Communications, Supply Chain, or an SAP course.
To put it simply, find your interests and long-term goals, and connect the dots.
FlashCards And Mnemonic Devices
This method requires you to build associations with the content.
Flashcards can be a great asset to keep you abreast. For instance, if you are trying to remember new synonyms to add to your vocabulary. Write the primary word on one side of a card and its meaning and synonyms on the other side.
While jogging your memory, you can look at one side, tell what is written behind it, and then check if you were right.
Similarly, you can use mnemonic devices to remember spellings, meanings, and concepts. Basically, instead of the actual word or sentence, you remember it by using common words and sequential frameworks.
For example, if you want to remember how to spell the word “Does,” you can recall using a sentence like “David Only Eats Sandwiches.”
Similarly, you can remember how to spell the word “Rhythm” by using a sentence like “Rhythm Helps Your Two Hands Move.”
Just google how to use mnemonic devices, and you can thank us later!
Review And Revise
The end-goal is to take what is learned from your short-term memory to the long-term memory. And this is only possible if you regularly review what is learned.
Ideally, it would help if you revised work every week, alongside reviewing work done in prior weeks. Undoubtedly, this will help you retain information for a long, long time.
Always take notes before and during classes. However, if you don’t review them, it’s completely pointless.
Before the lecture, go through the provided slides on your College’s LMS. Note down critical information, so it automatically comes to you when your professor mentions it.
You don’t have to take down every word during class, rather listen, pick intricate details, and scribble them down.
Later, you can review them as a reminder of the broader idea. These notes will come in handy during your finals.
Off And On-Campus Attractions And Activities
Sure, the significant chunk of college life is dedicated to studying and maintaining a good CGPA. However, there is much more to it.
College is an extended process through which one has to work on their academic and social life; in short, you need to have the full college experience.
Therefore, check out all the various options to explore on and off-campus. For instance, you may have a student center with many food outlets on-campus and a game room; and other attractions like malls, cinemas, coffee houses off-campus.
Similarly, it would be good to know if there is a mart, ATM, or bank branch on campus.
To see what the college has to offer and what’s near it, check out the university guide or broacher you were provided, or you can call and enquire.
Another excellent way is to open up Google maps, enter the college address, and check out everything nearby.
This will also give you an idea of how to commute to and fro, whether you can walk, bike, hail a cab, use the bus, or use your car.
Choosing The Right Classes
Undoubtedly, the knowledge of picking the right courses ranks high among things to know before getting into college.
You may be sure of what major you want to opt for, or you may want to test the waters and concentrate on the area that best speaks to you.
Luckily, most colleges do not require you to declare a major till the end of your sophomore year, so you get two years to decide.
Firstly, you should consider what courses you want to pick in your first semester. Obviously, some would be mandatory, while a slot or two would be available to pick something of your choosing.
Next, you would have to buy or borrow books required for the selected class.
Other than that, you have enough time at hand to brush up on your concepts to seamlessly grasp all material during your college classes.
The chances are that despite being a good student at high school, you may have forgotten a lot of what you knew in the off-period.
Typically you get a few months between this transition phase. Sure, you should relax and unwind, but an excellent way to prepare yourself for a better, brighter future is to take up college preparation tuitions from a credible source like Superprof.
Creating And Following A Schedule
During college life, most students begin living without parents for the first time; therefore, everything about their daily routine is subject to change.
This freedom can be quite destructive if not appropriately addressed. For instance, many students end-up bunking classes, which should be avoided.
End of the day, you may lag behind and possibly fail your courses, adding more time and tuition fees towards your degree.
This is why you should manage time appropriately, divide it adequately between studies, relaxation, sleep, and social commitments, depending on your lifestyle.
Here is a list of ideal habits to help you manage your university life:
- You should sleep for at least eight hours
- Take out time for reviewing and revising what you have learned
- Put time aside for doing assignments
- Take out time for socializing and extracurricular activities like sports, drama club, glee club, etc.
- Take out time for relaxation, hanging out with friends, going to the mall, movies, etc.
- Dedicate time towards shopping, laundry, and getting through household chores
Tuition and housing alone are quite a burden on your pocket. And once that is paid, most students don’t have much left over to spend on themselves.
Therefore, it is essential to learn to manage expenses and make it to the end of the month.
This is why budgeting is necessary; you need to set limits and ensure that they won’t be surpassed.
For instance, you have $900 to spend across the month, so decide how you would manage. You can put:
- $300 towards food
- $150 towards commute
- $100 towards snacks
- $20 towards cable, Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc.
- $100 towards toiletries, laundry detergent, and other essentials
- $100 towards shopping
- Try keeping the remaining $130 on the side as a rainy day fund
Pro Tip: Rather than buying new books, consider loaning or buying used ones from past students. Many universities also have book swap programs to sell your old books and put your earnings towards new or second-hand books.
If you are still on the fence about enrolling in a good institution and are wondering: “is college necessary?”, well, it is for most professional careers.
Tips like these will arm you to survive your years living alone and help you remain stress-free.
Hopefully, our university guide on things to know before going to college will prepare you to make the most of your upcoming chapter.
We encourage you to take college prep courses from Superprof to face all challenges head-on.