So, your student is about ready to graduate from high school and is ready to move on to college. Despite being excited, they also don’t know what to expect and that makes them nervous. Rather than allow their minds to trick them into thinking things are going to be worse than they really are, why not teach them a few survival skills along the way? The following tips can help ease anxiety by getting your students into the flow of being a college freshman.
1. Get Real About Their Finances
ThoughtCatalog.com recommends taking advantage of all the free money available by applying for every scholarship you qualify for. It’s a great way for students to stretch their college budget and prevent them from being overwhelmed by working and going to school full-time. Though many students will need to take federal loans, tell them to try to minimize their loan amounts as much as possible. Student loan payments after graduation can become a huge burden for decades, so their best financial decision is to take only what they need.
2. Have Them Explore the City Where They’ll Be Living and Going to School
Advise them to find out what resources are available to them at their home away from home. Students should decide what types of groups and organizations they want to be a part of while attending school. If they’re religious, tell them to find a house of worship and get a copy of the schedule. Students can explore the different types of community events and programs that they can take part in.
They can also get a sense of what type of transportation they will need. If they are going to a metropolitan area with plenty of public transportation, for instance, they may be wise to skip the car for now. But if they will be living in a sprawling suburb, a car may prove indispensable. Make sure they understand their locale before they get there to avoid last-minute scrambles and stress.
3. Help Them Get a Soft Idea of What They Want to Study
Direct students to order information from all of the colleges they intend to apply to. They should read degree requirements and accreditations. This allows them to see exactly what they need to take as a freshman to get, for example, an online master’s in athletic administration, without incurring additional costs.
Let them know they shouldn’t feel pressured to decide right away, however. If they take all their generals first, they will have a couple years to feel out what program will fit best for them. You can also urge them to take personality tests to help them compare their strengths and weaknesses with the requirements of specific degree programs.
4. Eat Right and Get Plenty of Exercise
It’s easy for students to pack on the pounds when they’re not eating mindfully. Between studying, extracurricular activities, and attending class, it’s easy to lose healthy habits in the shuffle. Recommend that they beat the battle of the bulge by selecting foods that are low-calorie and nutrient-dense. Suggest that they should get a good work out in at their college gym several times a week to prevent the dreaded ‘Freshman Fifteen’ from making its way onto their body.
Diet and exercise not only will help students stay in shape, but will also help them reduce stress and increase concentration. Even if they spend 50 hours a week between work and school, exercising once a week could prove a tremendous help for their psyches and emotional stability. Most campuses will have gyms, pools, and other equipment that students can access without any extra charge.
5. Use Productivity Tools
Success in college quickly becomes a test in organization and scheduling. Your students would be remiss to try to wing it and remember every single assignment for every class. Instruct your outgoing students to write down every single assignment in a planner or scheduling app so they can see at a glance exactly what must be done in a given day.
These days, students have access to a variety of productivity and time-management apps for smartphones and computers. You can introduce them to a few of their options. MyLifeOrganized, for example, is great for to-do lists, projects, and even for tracking life goals. The app allows you to automatically sync information across devices, and add customizable filters and priority labels.
RescueTime tracks how much time you spend using which applications, and gives you a convenient breakdown of your usage. This app can help you stay honest with yourself by showing you exactly how you are spending your time. You can even set alarms to sound when it’s time to move to the next task. New productivity apps come out all the time, so students have plenty of choices.
6. Find Social Groups
One of the most memorable parts of the college experience is the friendships that students make. Advise your outgoing students to join clubs or study groups to help build those connections. Though they are at college to work and learn, the process can be a lot more enjoyable if they are able to find others to stimulate and encourage each other, especially if the student is an extrovert.
You almost can’t overstate the impact of social relations on most students. You will have certain students who would prefer minimal social contact, but for most others, their social experience can have a huge influence on their mental and emotional states. If the student has traveled to a new state where they don’t know anyone, they may feel very isolated. This isolation has the potential to creep into their studies and impact their grades. Make sure they have plenty of ideas of how to meet new people in their school.
If students know what it takes to not only survive their freshman year but also thrive, they’ll have an easier time enjoying the college experience. Insist that they take advantage of the resources available to them and relax. After all, one day they’ll look back at the experience fondly and wished it hadn’t gone by so quickly.
About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. Anica is a writer for Ohio University, which offers a range of degrees including an online master’s in athletic administration.
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