Class of 2018: Quick steps to take to be ready for college!
Seniors – yippee! You’re practically done with high school. You made it, what an accomplishment! First and foremost, you should take this summer to relax, recharge, and spend quality time with your friends and family. Summer vacation can be long, so we want to make sure you feel focused and ready to step foot on your college campus in the fall. Here are some solid steps to get mentally ready for college.
1. Connect with fellow admitted students on social media
You may be feeling nervous, excited, and everything in between with the big life change you’re about to make. The good news is – it’s TOTALLY normal! Showing up on your college campus to start your freshman year is a major milestone in life, and one you shouldn’t embark on alone. Remember, your entire admitted class of incoming freshmen is feeling the exact same way you do, and it can be really fun and reassuring to connect with them over the summer! Your college is likely to setup an official Class of 2022 Facebook group, where you can see all the other students who have accepted their admission to your school. From there, students will take the initiative to form unofficial groups (especially meme groups) where you can have more informal discussions and meet fellow freshmen. In addition to Facebook, you can join Snapchat campus stories, and on Instagram you can hashtag your college and other students will find and friend you. Start building your friend group over the summer and you’ll have that many more friendly faces to greet you on day 1!
2. Consider a pre-orientation summer program
Your college is likely to offer extensive orientation programming, some of which may include summer programs that you can participate in. These are a great opportunity to get to know other freshmen before the school year begins and have a fun, immersive experience led by upperclassmen. One of the most popular types of pre-orientation programs is an outdoor leadership trip. An example, from a RaiseMe partner school, is the Leadership Outdoor Orientation Program at Syracuse. Your college will get in touch with you to give more information about the orientation schedule and any summer programming they may offer. You can also go on your college’s website to learn more about incoming freshman support or you can message your peers on social channels. Our advice is to take advantage of and attend as much orientation programming as you can!
3. Create a checklist to cover with your freshman advisor
Your college will assign you to a freshman advisor, who is tasked with helping you pick your courses for the year. The classes you take freshman year are going to influence the major you decide to pick. Your advisor has a lot of experience working with freshmen, and the best way to make the most of their know-how is to come prepared with questions!
Here are some factors to consider in advance and ask your advisor about:
- What major programs are very strong at your college?
- What career fields are you interested in, and what are the major programs that would best provide the academic background necessary?
- What is your preferred mode of studying? Would you prefer to spend the bulk of your time reading and writing? Would you prefer to get lots of laboratory experience? Do you enjoy group problem-solving and math exercises? Do you really like text-based discussions and visiting museums/ academic exhibits?
- Knowing in advance the type of intellectual exercises you enjoy will help your advisor to select courses and programs that are a good fit.
- What are the most popular freshman courses? Which courses fill up quickly?
- Are there foundational courses that are offered to freshmen that you should make sure to take to help you choose a major?
- A common example at many colleges is the introductory biology class that is a prerequisite for pre-med students. Many students come in thinking they may want to be a doctor; some find that they can’t imagine eight years of academic coursework that mirrors the experience they have in that bio class (not at all spoken from personal experience 😉 )
- Are there any hidden gem courses that get overlooked but are taught by spectacular professors?
- Are there any courses you should plan to save for later in college, when you have more experience under your belt?
These are our suggested reflection questions, but think of this as a starting point for your own personal journey in continued education. Take the time this summer to reflect on your academic experiences to date and try to pinpoint the learning opportunities that piqued your curiosity. Having this framed in advance of freshman year will be a great foundation from which to build your course calendar with your advisor.
Class of 2018, the finish line is in sight! In addition to resting and spending quality time with friends and family, take these steps to get the jump on college:
- Connect with admitted students on social media
- Sign up for orientation activities at your college
- Reflect on past educational experiences and create a checklist to go over with your freshman advisor
- Get excited for college! It’s going to be an amazing journey
When you are intentional with your summer vacation, you’re setting a game plan for your future. Steer on, captain!
“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” – William Ernest Henley, from “Invictus”