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Before You Head Off to College Freshman Orientation

Your first year away at college will be an exciting one, for sure. College Driven offers this last piece of advice for all you high school graduates who are entering into your next chapter. If you haven't tied up those other loose ends, get up to speed by reading this post!

1. Commit yourself to achieving success.

College is what you make of it. Envision for yourself what you want your college experience to be, then make it happen for yourself.

2. Know who you are and what you stand for.

College will be filled with a bunch of tests for you. Not the kind you take in a lecture hall, but the kind that tests your moral anchor. Do not falter on your beliefs and values. Know who you are.

3. Be a time manager.

The workload in college may exceed what you are used to from high school. There will also be many opportunities that may be distractions from your studies. Choose what is important to you then create a disciplined time schedule and keep to it. Work hard, play hard.

4. Get to know your professors.

Schedule a meeting with your professor to introduce yourself. If you need help in the future, it will be a lot easier if the professor already knows you and you’ll feel more at ease. Don’t be afraid to ask for help ASAP.

5. Safety is your responsibility.

There will be times when you’ll be studying at the library until after midnight. Use the campus safety patrol to walk you home. Be aware at all times. The safety services are for your convenience, use it.

6. Keep in touch.

Be sure to communicate with your parents. They want to know how you are doing and what challenges you are facing. Like most parents, they probably won’t call you because they think you are too busy and don’t want to bother you. Take the initiative and call them.

7. Get involved.

Now is your chance to try new things, meet new friends, and begin to find your place in the world. If an activity interests you, then get involved. Now is the time. Do not be anti-social.

8. Seek help.

The college pace is fast. Miss a day and it’s difficult to catch-up. Be sure to keep up on your studies. It is the reason you’re there. If you are having troubles, there are a multitude of resources to get you over the hurdle. Teaching assistants are usually more available than professors in helping students understand the material. Additionally, you can join study groups and attend tutoring sessions.

9. Living with a roommate.

This may be the first time you are sharing space with another person. Keep an open mind and realize college is about celebrating diversity and learning from each other. Agree on some ground rules at the beginning for an easier go at it. Remember, you can always study at the library if your roommate requests some privacy. Be considerate knowing she will be considerate back when you need the same favor.

10. Fiscal Responsibility.

Before you spend a dollar, THINK. Do you need it? If you need it that bad, pay cash. You’ll have enough debt on your hands with student loans that adding an out of control credit card to the mix won’t be very fun. Establishing credit while in college can be beneficial to you as long as it’s good credit. If you can’t pay the bill off every month, then you shouldn’t be charging anything. If it gets out of hand, work with cash only. Allot yourself a certain amount of cash for each month. When that runs out, you’re done for the month. Hopefully, you’ll learn how to better manage your “allowance” for the next month. College Driven is not opposed to having fun. Everyone needs a little extra funds to have fun beyond campus offerings. But don’t do it at the expense of your future milestone purchases like your home or car.

11. Have fun.

But do so responsibly. You are an adult now, act like one.

And a note to parents: your child will be extremely busy while away at college. Give them the space they need to figure things out. Don't get upset if they don't call or text; they truly are handling a lot all at once, and they want to try to be as independent as possible. Be understanding and grateful when they do reach out to connect. But, don't waste time talking about classes or tests. Focus on how they are doing both mentally and emotionally. A caring conversation will encourage them to call more regularly as opposed to a lecturing inquisition.

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