What Every College Freshman Should Know
College is a major step in anyone’s life as you adjust to living on your own, figuring out finances and finding out that college is NOT high school all over again. When you start college for the first time, it’s like taking a step into another world. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but knowing what to expect is half the battle. These four simple suggestions will not only make your time at college easier, but will put you on the right path for success throughout (and after!) college.
Visit your college advisor at least once each semester. Many students make the mistake of never meeting with their advisors. Yes, you do receive a program of study with required courses outlined, but did you know that requirements can change? Unfortunately, this sometimes causes issues with your declared major and path to graduation. Be sure to review your program of study each semester with your advisor to ensure you are on the right track and meet all requirements toward graduation. Nothing is more painful than thinking you've met all graduation requirements only to find out that you are short a course or two. Your academic advisor is there to help you and keep you on course.
Get to know your professors. Your professors are not the enemy. They can be valuable assets to your college education and your success. Not only will you learn a great deal from your professors, but should you find yourself struggling in classes, reach out to them for assistance or resources to bring up your grades. Professors want to see you succeed. Building relationships with professors while in college can also be beneficial to your future career. Professors often have the inside scoop on great internships and job opportunities and can provide letters of recommendation for employment and grad school applications.
Take an internship if at all possible. Internships are great for a variety of reasons. Students gain new skills and hands-on experience from internships. While many internships are unpaid, some actually offer stipends or other financial benefits. Internships are also great for networking and can lead to job offers after graduation. Internships also make it easier to obtain letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate school. You can also use an internship to help you embrace (or rule out) possible career choices and decisions about what fields of study to major in and pursue. Can't decide between marketing and teaching? An internship may be just what you need to help you find the answer.
Use social media wisely. Today, most of us are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or some other form of social media. While this may seem like a great place to catch up with friends, post pictures from your latest party or upload vidoes from your sorority or fraternity activities, keep in mind that college administrators and even future employers may choose to access to your profile(s). Some grad schools and companies do investigate social media sites, looking at who you are connected to, what you post and the content on your social network page. What may seem harmless to you could be a turn-off to an admissions officer or an employer and could cost you future opportunities. Be careful not to post anything obscene or depicting you in a less-than-positive manner. Treat social media as your resume, and you should be just fine.
In essence, use your freshman year at college (and all the years thereafter) to take advantage of all college has to offer. This is your time to shine. Don’t be afraid to try new things and meet new people. The relationships you form today will possibly help you in graduate school and your future career. Use these important tips to not only survive college, but to THRIVE there, too!