Attending college, at any stage of a person’s life, can be incredibly stressful, especially when they don’t know what to expect. There are many reasons why students attending college these days are ill-prepared for what’s to come, including the varying types of students seeking higher education and students leaving home for the first time. For example, a classroom can be filled with older adults that are returning to college later in life, people that dropped out of high school and received their GED before continuing on to college and newly graduated high school students that have never lived away from family and friends.
To better prepare for life in college, all students should take steps to understand what their future living situation, university or college and degree plan will consist of. For example, if a student is going to attend a large university and plans to study Criminal Justice, it would be wise to meet with the Criminal Justice department advisor and perhaps take a tour of the campus. By meeting potential future teachers and faculty members within their desired program and touring the buildings their classes will be held in, can go a long way in making new students feel comfortable on campus and keep the anxiety levels low. Also, obtaining a copy of the class schedule, course descriptions and degree plan will allow a student to purchase their text books in advance and better prepare for the coursework ahead. Students attending online universities could email the school advisors for advice and perhaps join a school sanctioned web forum to meet other students.
Many colleges and universities also allow prospective students to “shadow” undergraduates for a day. This means that those individuals interested in attending the school will gain firsthand knowledge of the campus, class room interactions and student life before they official begin attending classes. This is a great way to learn more about the college of their choice, with the help of a current undergraduate student as a guide. This could also provide an opportunity for making new friends, which will also ease the transition into college life.
Not being fully prepared for college life and coursework can have devastating consequences, including failing classes, becoming depressed and maybe even quitting school without graduating. But taking the right steps to understand what they are getting into, what the school, their degree plan and the student body is like, can help new students to succeed at this new stage in their lives.