Freshman year is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience for many college-bound students. But it can also be scary and stressful for those who don’t know what to expect. Before heading out to start your freshman year of school, it’s a good idea to learn more about the kinds of skills you’ll need in order to start your education off right. Here are a few of the best ways to start preparing for college.
1. Plan Ahead
The best way to embrace the excitement and chaos of your first year of college is to make sure you have everything you need beforehand. If you need to buy specific amenities for your dorm, books for classes, or any personal items that will increase your comfort level, don’t wait until the last minute. Whether you’re at a large school like Emerson College or on a smaller campus, by the time you show up, you’ll be contending with tons of other students who waited until the last minute to get supplies. Beat the crowd by taking the time to plan ahead.
2. Read, Read, Read
Many college students don’t realize how time-consuming all the class reading can be, especially when you haven’t been in the habit of reading 50 to 100 pages a night in high school. The best way to exercise your reading muscle is to spend the summer before freshman year doing as much reading as you can. But don’t just read fiction: Try to diversify the kinds of books you choose. Get comfortable with textbooks, theory, and critical essays. Being ahead of the game reading-wise will not only help you with class reading, it will strengthen your writing skills for all the papers, tests, and class assignments you’ll need to write.
3. Contact Professors
Arriving on campus a bit early is always a good idea. If you haven’t already contacted your professors over the summer, it’s a good idea to do so when you first get on campus with a few days to spare until class. With moving in, orientation, and all the other social stimulus you’ll be dealing with, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re really there for: the classes. Contacting professors ahead of time helps you establish a relationship, get a clearer sense of what you can expect from the course, and figure out how you can show up that first day of class fully prepared and ready to learn.
4. Map Out Your Orientation Schedule
Orientation can be a great way for you to get settled in on campus and introduce yourself to the rest of your class. It can also be extremely overwhelming, featuring tons of activities, meetings, and tours to choose from. Many schools offer students a roster of every activity that will be featured during orientation. Take some time to carefully look through the schedule and figure out which activities interest you the most. For instance, do you want an intro to campus safety? Are you interested in a tour of the library? Do you want activities that will introduce you to a lot of people right off the bat? It’s your choice, and choosing wisely will set the stage for a great four years in college.