Nervous about starting college? Of course! You should know right now that Student Affairs people at the college are working hard to make your transition from high school to college easier for you, but there are always glitches and problems. Knowing what to expect is half the battle. Here is some information about what you might find transitioning to college so you can either avoid problems, plan for them, or do something about them.
• Laundry may or may not be free: Check out where and how you will do laundry at school. Are there washers and dryers in your dorm? Where are they? Are they free to use or do you need a supply of quarters to use the machines? Do you need your own supply of soap or does the laundry room offer detergent packets, and are they free or have a cost?
• You might not want to take your car to campus: First, the college may not allow cars on campus, especially for first-year students. If you can take a car, you may not want one. Is there free parking available and is it close to your dorm? If you use your car around campus, is there convenient parking or will you still have to walk a good distance to get to where you’re going? Are the parking ticket fees astronomical? Are there more convenient forms of transportation than your car available for campus students: public transportation, taxi service, bicycle or Zip car rentals?
• You cannot bring everything with you to college: Check out what you can and cannot bring. Colleges have rules about electric blankets, microwaves and refrigerators, power strips, and halogen lamps and bulbs. You may also have limited space for clothes and storage and may have to plan carefully what you’ll take and what you’ll leave at home.
• The IT people on campus can help you…A LOT: Find them! They can help you set up your computer and other electrical devices and sync them, hook into the campus internet, do your printing, connect to faculty notes and assignments, set up back ups for your materials, and even recover lost documents.
• Your academic experience will be different: Not only will there be less hand-holding and supervision, but there will be different policies and expectations. There will be fewer tests and grades. Don’t be surprised to find out a whole semester’s grade is based on only 2 or 3 assignments. You may have to rely on your ears to get notes and information for tests. That information will not all be on a board or in your text. Attendance may or may not matter. Some classes will grade you on your attendance; others will not. Even if attendance is not required or graded, you cannot afford not to go to class. Your time will be used differently. You may have less time in class (not more than 3 hours a week), but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to plan on more time to read, attend study groups, go to labs, and study and research.
Knowing what to expect and planning for it can help, but also you must know what to do when you meet a problem face on. The best advice is TALK TO PEOPLE! People like teachers and counselors may not reach out to you at college, but there are people you can reach out to: Student Affairs, campus study centers, IT people, academic deans and advisors, even mental and physical health centers. Make a list of these places with numbers and names to have handy, just in case.