STARTING THE FRESHMAN
HINTS FOR MAKING THE
TRANSITION TO THE FRESHMAN
YEAR IN COLLEGE
STARTING THE FRESHMAN YEAR RIGHT!
They are like a road map to the
You've made it this far and now you school, and they will keep you from
can't wait to leave home and your making too many time-consuming
parents are probably excited about it wrong turns. They are also a great
too, but have you thought about the way to meet other people and start
actual process of leaving home and making friends. Of course,
setting up a new life in another place? orientation sessions at some schools
You're going to be on your own: no are a lot more fun than others, but
parents, no curfew, no set schedule to even if they are a little boring, you
follow, and very few rules of behavior. can still learn some valuable
So, sounds too good to be true, huh? information and shortcuts.
But how do you plan to survive without
the safety nets that your parents and PREPARE FOR DORM LIVING
high school have always provided?
Most schools ask you to list your
The following are some tips to help dormitory and roommate preferences.
make the transition a little easier. You will be asked to choose between
Many of them have been suggested by single-sex and coed dorms; if you
former Goddard High School want coed, you may be offered the
students. option of coed by floor or by room.
Other options may include all-
GET ORIENTED freshmen or mixed-class dorms,
dorms with designated "quiet" floors,
If one is available, do the orientation and "substance-free" dorms. You
program for incoming freshmen. might as well get used to the fact
Some are held in the summer, and that there will be noise and confusion
some are held a few days before the in all dorms, but some are better than
start of the fall term. Some summer others for actual study conditions.
programs offer you the opportunity to Many students do their studying in
enroll early as part of the orientation designated study lounges in the dorms
activities. If they do, take advantage or in the library.
of this opportunity since you will have
better course availability. The roommate situation: Most
freshmen have to learn to live in a
Orientation sessions offer valuable room with a total stranger, deal with
information about the campus and its constant noise, and cope with the fact
programs and facilities, security, that clean laundry no longer reappears
organizations and activities, etc. automatically in their dresser
drawers. You and your roommate will electrical appliances such as
probably have different values, microwave ovens, small refrigerators,
outlooks, and habits....and this can etc., before you load them into the
mean trouble if you don't learn to family van for the trip to campus.
discuss and compromise. If you find Most dorms allow some small
out your roommate's name and appliances, but you'd better read the
address or e-mail address during the fine print on the housing regulations
summer, write a letter of introduction first.
and suggest an exchange of
information to help start the term You will really need the use of a
off on the right foot. Talk about your computer and a good word processing
study habits, sleep patterns, and program at school, but check out the
standards of housekeeping (just how availability of computers before you
deep does the pile of clothes on the consider taking your own. Some
floor get before you bother to pick up private schools offer computers in
a few things?) so that there are no the dorm rooms, but most schools can
unpleasant surprises. only offer labs in the dorms, library,
etc. If you have to use a lab, you may
RESPECT is the key to successful have to wait....and if you have to wait,
roommate relationships. If you are you may miss a deadline.
unlucky enough to get the roommate
from another planet, seek help from Laundry. You will probably be doing
your RA, dorm director, or student your own laundry (it's a sad thing, to
services director. A bad situation can be sure, but Mom just won't be there
make your life miserable and affect to take care of it for you). If you're
your academic success. smart, you'll take a crash course on
the finer points of doing laundry
Stuff. When you get in touch with before you leave home. Pink jockey
your roommate, work out who's shorts (for those of you who have
bringing what. Rooms are often quite never done laundry, pink shorts are a
small with very limited storage space, by-product of washing your white
so you may not have enough space for underwear with your favorite red
both of you to bring every conceivable sweatshirt) tend to cause a ripple in
convenience from home. Consider the men's locker room!! It's a good
sharing certain items especially ones idea to take a couple of laundry bags
that take up a lot of space like or plastic baskets with you and stock
appliances. Make sure you are aware up on quarters!!
of dorm regulations regarding
Security. Crime is a growing concern looking over your shoulder to make
on all campuses. Be smart and protect sure you are meeting your
yourself and your property. Keep requirements. This is your
your door locked and your valuable responsibility!!
property out of sight when you are
not in your room. Learn how to If you are at a large school, try to
contact campus security in an choose at least one small course (one
emergency, and find out if an evening in which there is only a small number
escort service is available. Most of students) in your first term so
campuses have some sort of security, that you can get to know at least one
and those that are larger and/or are instructor well and a few people with
located in or near a city tend to have whom you can work closely. This will
many security services available. make you feel less like a number and
more like a real person.
KNOW THE POLICIES AND
CHOOSE COURSES WISELY PAY YOUR TUITION AND FEES
The college catalog will become your Even if your parents are paying the
guidebook. It tells you everything you bills or you are on scholarships, all
need to know about the policies of the expenses are in your name. Take
school, which courses you need to responsibility for monitoring these
take, and what your degree and see that they are taken care of in
requirements are. You (not your a timely manner. Check all statements
parents nor your advisor) will be and receipts for accuracy since
expected to read it and be schools can make mistakes. Keep all
responsible for your own progress receipts and statements in a special
toward graduation. Ignorance is no file in case you have to provide
excuse at this level. Study the documentation. When packing for
catalog and then meet with your college, make sure you take along
advisor. Making poor class choices copies of your financial aid
can cause you to have to take one or statements and receipts for college
two extra terms of classes.... and this bills already paid.
means more $$$, as well as extending
your graduation date.
Make it a point to meet with your SET UP A MEAL PLAN
advisor regularly and well before each
registration period. No one will be
Most schools offer a variety of meal looking over your shoulder making
plans, including special plans such as sure you go to class or do your
vegetarian meals. Some meal plans reading!!! Assignments will be given
are covered as part of your housing weeks in advance and no one will hover
contract. There is a variety of over you to make sure that you work
options available, so make sure you every night. For most freshmen
understand how many meals per week there comes a dangerous moment
are provided and in what locations. when you realize that if you can't
It's a good idea to get a meal plan for make yourself work, then you might as
the first year so that you are well pack up and go home. The key to
guaranteed at least a couple of well- making it all work is to get organized
balanced meals a day even if you have and practice time management skills.
overdrawn your account!!
Use a Planner. It doesn't have to be
There is a popular idea that freshmen one of those fancy things that cost
automatically gain 15 to 20 pounds. $50, but use some kind of planner or
Unfortunately, this is true in most assignment book to keep track of
cases, but it’s not the fault of the everything especially assignments,
meals provided on the meal plan. It's projects, tests, papers, etc. Get in
the result of poor eating habits and the habit of using it everyday to write
too many junk-food meals. So if down all obligations.
nothing else, taking advantage of a
meal plan might keep you from putting Use your course syllabus or outline.
on unwanted pounds! At the start of each term, the
professor will hand out a syllabus, or
LEARN TO BUDGET YOUR TIME course outline, which tells what will be
covered in each class session and
The biggest mistake that most gives reading assignments and the
freshmen make is misuse of time. dates of papers, quizzes, and tests.
The typical freshman takes 15 Transfer these dates and deadlines
credits-or 5 courses, or 15 hours a into your planner immediately...and you
week-compared to about 30 hours of will save yourself a lot of wasted time.
weekly class time in high school. That
sounds like a lot of free time...until Set up a schedule: Your time in high
you discover that for every hour of school was structured...classes all day
class time, you may have to do two and homework at night. In college,
hours of reading and studying. you will have much more free time
Another shock is that no one will be during the day in between classes.
Don't waste it. Set up a daily also offer help sessions prior to
schedule that includes study and exams. Also, there are always study
reading time in between classes so groups you can join. The bottom line
that you don't save it all until the is that help is there if you ask for
Upperclassmen will tell you that as LEARN TO BUDGET YOUR MONEY
freshmen, they had trouble going
from the structure of high school to This is another area where no one will
the lack of it at college. Many be looking over your shoulder telling
freshmen with limited study skills and you what to do. You and your parents
time management skills (Mom always should sit down well before you leave
reminded them to do things!) simply for school and establish a realistic
fall apart when tempted by the budget. Make sure you settle who is
constant availability of social responsible for paying what
distractions. They party too much, (telephone calls, trips home,
skip too many classes, and suddenly unexpected expenses).
it's too late to do anything but panic
and fail. Former students have said, Most businesses will not accept out-
"Don't make cutting class a habit. If of-town checks, so plan to open a
you do, you aren't getting your checking account in a bank near
tuition's worth and you'll regret it at campus or have a debit card available.
test time." Keep your checkbook balanced and up
to date...and don't abuse an ATM
Save yourself the anguish by setting card!!! Most freshmen say this was
up a daily schedule that includes time their biggest mistake next to time
for study. You will discover that management.
having a daily schedule actually frees
up time for you to do other things. It's not a bad idea to "hide” a couple
of hundred dollars in your bank
Get help. When in doubt, ask for account for an emergency. Don't add
help. Every school has some kind of it in...just pretend it isn't there.
assistance for students experiencing Most freshmen say that you will
trouble - tutoring programs, writing experience some kind of money
centers, math centers, online emergency, and you will be glad you
homework assistance. Some dorms did this.
even have these programs available AVOID all offers for low-interest
within the dorm. Some professors credit cards. You will be swamped
with offers for these...and they will broaden your knowledge base and help
sound very attractive and enticing, you meet people.
but they are a fast road to needless
and painful debt. JUST SAY NO! LEARN TO MAKE WISE CHOICES
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE You will not only be called upon to
SOCIAL SCENE make good choices about your
courses, your use of time, and your
Yes, you are there to get an use of money, you will also be faced
education, but you are also there to with many other situations where your
meet new people and gain new choices can have far-reaching
experiences. Take advantage of consequences. The temptations will
opportunities to meet people such as be many and varied. Keep your wits
orientation activities, mixers at your about you and your priorities straight
dorm, and, if you're interested in and make decisions that reflect your
Greek life, the activities involved in values and your objectives for your
rush for fraternities and sororities. education.
Meeting people right away is the best
way to fight homesickness. College is more than a place to get an
education. Most students rank their
EXPLORE EXTRACURRICULAR "learning-from-living" experiences as
PROGRAMS just as important as the 'learning-
from-books' experiences...and most
At large universities you will find a reflect that their success was highly
wide range of free and inexpensive dependent on their attitude and
activities to attend. Also explore motivation.
such offerings as radio and television
stations, newspapers and literary MEDICAL AND DENTAL
magazines, debate teams, choruses, INFORMATION
theater ensembles, political groups,
etc. Smaller schools will also offer If you're going to a school that is a
many opportunities for you to indulge considerable distance away, you might
your special interests. Sometimes want to take copies of your medical/
this type of exposure helps you dental files just in case...and
decide on a future career, so take especially if you have any ongoing
advantage of the many things that are medical/dental issues. Check with
offered. These kinds of activities your parents so you know what your
medical/dental coverage is before you
go off to school...especially emergency
care coverage. Eating-related Items:
Dishware and utensils (plastic)
SUGGESTED CHECKLIST FOR Drinking glasses/coffee mugs
RESIDENCE HALL LIVING Snacks
Appliances: Laundry Supplies:
Hair dryer Detergent
Radio with alarm Fabric softener
Stereo/CD player Hangers
Microwave (if allowed) Iron and ironing board
Small refrigerator (if allowed) Laundry bag/basket(s)
Blanket/Comforter Room Furnishings:
Pillows and pillowcases Bedspread
Sheets Memo board
Toiletries Small rug
Normal clothes/shoes Extras:
Rain gear Backpack for books
Swimsuit Paper towels
Athletic wear Games/cards
Comfortable shoes for walking/playing Sports stuff
Calculator A little bit of home:
Wall calendar Photos of family/friends
Daily/weekly planner Stuffed animal(s)
Desk light (portable) Personal mementos
Dictionary and thesaurus (These aren't necessities, but they
Paper clips, pens, pencils help fight homesickness!!)
Ruler Keep in mind that dorm rooms are
Scotch and masking tape usually small with limited space.
Paper and notebooks You can’t take everything.
a great help carrying all that soap,
Plastic storage boxes or crates are shampoo, conditioner, etc., back
a handy thing to take and can be and forth down the hall to the
stored under your bed. bathroom.
Handy things to take that may not First aid kit and small sewing kit.
be on a dorm supply list: It's amazing how handy these two
items can be. Remember, Mom's
Power strips and extension cords. not there to take care of you!
There are never enough outlets in
dorm rooms. Make sure, however, Umbrella(s). You will be walking
that you don't overload the everywhere...and it does rain at
circuits. It's embarrassing if you some time in every city or town.
become known as the kid
responsible for the dorm's three- Flashlight. A handy item when the
hour blackout. electricity goes out...which can be
frequently, especially in older
Fan(s). Older dorms may not have dorms where the wiring may be a
good air circulation even if they little outdated.
are supposedly air-conditioned.
Hammer and screwdrivers. These
will come in handy when you're
getting your room set up.
Bathrobe and flip-flops. No, you
probably don't use a bathrobe at
home...but it's a long walk down
the hall to the communal bathroom.
And the flip-flops are for standing
on wet (and sometimes slimy)
floors in the showers where lots of
other people have been. Take
them...you'll be glad you did.
Shower caddy. Another thing you
don't have at home because you
have your own bathroom. They're