Transitioning To College

Now that you are accepted into college, what should you do to have a successful college career? Getting into college is only half of the story; staying in school and graduating is the hard part.

You should do a few things in the summer between high school graduation and college to be ready.

  • Attend all orientation opportunities the college offers.
  • Read all mail (email and postal mail) you receive from the college. Do not miss important deadlines. You are responsible for your college career, no one else.
  • If you scored deficient on placement tests, enroll in a summer class at a local community college in a course that your college accepts as a credit replacement for the class that you are required to complete. Be certain to check with your college first to ensure that the course will transfer as the requirement that you need to meet. That way, you can transfer that credit into the college and begin your academic courses in sequence in your major.
  • Become an expert on your college’s services available to you for free. Closely read the college’s website. Look for free services available to you including support services like tutoring, health services, student activities, bus passes, and others. Most students do not take advantage of the services that are available. Do not think that once you get to school you will have the time to explore the website. Do it over the summer.
  • Examine clubs and activities (such as sports, music, Greek life, etc.) available and pick one or two that interest you. Use the college’s website to learn how to get involved in these activities. You are more likely to graduate from college if you become active in these types of activities in your first semester.
  • If your college has a Facebook page, try to connect with others who will be entering the college with you. This can give you a head start on making friends. Also, see if you can find out who your roommates will be, and try to connect with them over the summer.
  • Think about why you are going to college. Is it to make your parents proud? Is it to get a good job? Write your reasons down and keep them with you. These reasons will provide the motivation you need to get through your first semester challenges.
  • When you get to college, you will be surrounded by people who are different from you in ways you can see and ways that you can’t see. Take every opportunity you can to get to know people who are different from you over the summer. They may be from a different area; they may be a different ethnicity or religion; they may just have different interests than you do. Knowing how to get along with all people is one of the most important skills you can bring to college – and one you will further develop while you are there.
  • If you never had responsibility for the personal tasks listed below, ask members of your family to teach you over the summer.
    • Cooking simple meals
    • Shopping for food
    • Doing your laundry and not ruining your clothes
    • Waking up and getting ready for the day, on time, without help from an adult
    • Creating and planning a weekly to-do list and learning to stick with it
    • Managing money including the pitfalls of credit cards