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4 Useful Ways to Prepare for College Life That You Might Not Think Of

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College is an incredible journey. Use these tips to take advantage of resources, get good grades, and build a network of friends that will help you enjoy college and learn more about yourself.

Congratulations, you’ve been admitted to college and can’t wait to start this exciting new chapter. Some of you are embarking on a journey to a new state or even a new country. Some of you might have decided to stay closer to home and will commute to campus instead of living in a dorm.

Whether you decided to study at a college that is walking distance from your home or over 1,000 miles away, you should ask yourself: Are you really prepared for your new life in college?

If you’re being honest, then your answer is probably “no.” But that’s OK. We got you. Read on for a few tips to help you prepare for what will arguably be one of your life’s greatest adventures.

1. Know What Resources Are Available to You Before You Get to Campus

You might have been a straight-A student in high school, but college can be more challenging and demanding not only intellectually, but also in regards to managing time.

You never know when your laptop might crash, or if you’ll unexpectedly need to drop a class, or write a pivotal research paper in organic chemistry or some other topic that feels out of your league.

This is why it’s important to know what academic resources you’ll have on campus. These resources are there to help you in case you encounter any challenges that you might not be able to solve on your own. These can be tutoring services, ADA counselors, reference librarians, on-campus computer labs, or the advising department.

Known frequently under the heading of “student services,” become familiar with the programs and facilities offered. Read through your catalog, consult the college’s website, and talk to alumni. If you’re prepared for challenges, then you’re more likely to get through them unscathed.

2. Save Money for Emergencies and Other Unforeseen Events

One of the basic requirements for adulthood is to be prepared for financial emergencies.

Although college students aren’t known for being the most financially stable group, it’s still important to practice prudent decision making with money. This means saving money for emergencies and other unforeseen events.

For example, say you rely on your car to commute to college, but then it breaks down and you have to pay for repairs. Or, perhaps, the worst-case scenario occurs and your GPA slips due to sickness. Now, you’ve registered and paid for a class that you’re no longer taking.

Both of these scenarios are reasons students struggle or drop out of school. Don’t let your college story end this way.

Even saving a little extra money can mean the difference between getting through a semester. If you prepare for college life by saving money for those unforeseen events, you’ll be better prepared for when the unexpected occurs.

College is all about change. You’re growing up. You’re trying to find what you want to do in life while also learning more about your needs.

3. Connect with your college

Don’t underestimate how isolating college can be when you’re the new guy or girl on campus.

Even if there are thousands of other freshmen on campus, they’re all strangers until you get to know them. And how do you get to know them? Social media is a good start.

Following the Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts is a good way to monitor campus life. You’ll receive updates about events and workshops that will be hosted on campus, which will be a great way to meet friends. Even better, some colleges and universities offer meet-and-greets for their newly admitted students in cities and towns across the U.S.

These networking events present great opportunities to get to know other prospective students and alumni. Just think about it: If you meet another student through an event advertised via social media, that’s at least one person you’ll be comfortable with in a sea of fresh faces when you arrive on campus in the fall.

4. Be Open to New Experiences

College is all about change. You’re growing up. You’re trying to find what you want to do in life while also learning more about your needs.

Keep in mind that when you go to college, your fellow classmates will also be growing and changing. You’ll meet people from different countries, religions, and cultures. Hence, you’ll need to be open to hearing ideas and thoughts that might be different from your own.

Prepare yourself by trying something different now. This will keep you from experiencing culture shock on campus.

Go to events that you’ve never considered before. Are you a rocker? Check out a blues club. Are you only into gaming and hate the outdoors? Try going camping. Is everyone in your hometown mostly of one race or religion? Then explore a new town or neighborhood before you go to college.

Sometimes, when we’re homesick, it’s not because we miss the physical place we’re from but because we miss what’s familiar. Prepare yourself for homesickness by engaging with others who are different from you and seeking new experiences before stepping into the fast-paced life of college.

The Takeaway

It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. If you want to be successful in college, preparation is key, so keep the above tips in mind.

Good luck!

See also: How to Make College Less Overwhelming

Author: Jason Patel

Jason Patel is the founder of Transizion, a college counseling and career services company that provides mentorship and consulting on college applications, college essays, resumes, cover letters, interviews, and finding jobs and internships. Jason’s work has been cited in The Washington Post, BBC, NBC News, Forbes, Fast Company, Bustle, Inc., Fox Business, and other great outlets. Transizion donates a portion of profits to underserved students and veterans in of college prep and career development assistance.