Whether you have just ended your high school career or are transferring from another college, the transition can be tough. New school, new people, new everything is intimidating! Before you begin your journey to a new school, we (Mallory, Will, and I) have put together 8 tips for freshmen and transfers to make your upcoming academic year a success in all aspects!
Summer Orientation: Orientation is a great way to make new friends since everyone there is in the same boat as you. Going to college without knowing anyone can be intimidating, but orientation is all about “ice breakers” and trust exercises to get to know your future classmates. Orientation also gives you a chance to get familiar with your new home for the next couple of years.This is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up before the fall semester starts!
Don’t Over-Pack: One of the biggest mistakes made on move-in day is over-packing. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of moving in by buying everything you pass in Target’s back-to-school section. The biggest mistake new students make is buying too much furniture or decorations for their cubicle-sized dorm. Keep in mind that your dorm room can’t fit much besides a mini-fridge, a bed, a TV, and a laundry basket.
TIP: Wait to buy anything for your dorm until you see it again on move-in day; you may overestimate the size of your room while shopping at home. Make a list and head to a Target or Wal-Mart near campus for all your necessary items!
Have A Budget: Whether your income is coming from your part-time job in between classes or from your parents, budget your money. If you have a meal plan, use it. Ordering take-out may be the cheapest option once in awhile, but it adds up real quickly. The more you save by using your meal plan, the more you have for the weekends with your friends.
TIP: Keep track of your money by checking your bank statements regularly or writing down cash purchases.
Health: Speaking of ordering take-out, avoid it as much as possible. As tempting as the fries and pizza in the dining hall are, there are healthier choices such as salads and sandwiches. Don’t let laziness get the best of you! Take advantage of the free gym access on campus even if it’s just a few days a week. What does exercise have to do with academics? This and this and this and this.
TIP: Walking to class or around campus in between classes will help burn a few extra calories.
Transfer Credits: Credits from high school or your previous college go a long way in your college career. Be sure to transfer these as soon as possible in order to avoid taking unnecessary classes. You may have more credits than expected, which may result in graduating early.
TIP: High school seniors: take your AP tests seriously! Just because your score won’t affect your final grade in the class, don’t brush off studying for them. Scoring higher will earn you credit and hopefully a free pass on that last-minute elective class you signed up for.
Go to Class: Sounds simple, right? Skipping class may seem harmless once in awhile, but attendance is key. Wake up, go to class, take notes. Even if you copy someone’s notes from the days you missed, studying for exams won’t be nearly as stress-free than if you took them yourself. If you’re not a morning person, try your best not to sign up for early classes – you’ll never go!
TIP: Go to office hours and introduce yourself to your professor. Showing an effort and interest in the course will help your professor remember you. Remember, the professor’s job is to make sure you learn and understand the material taught – they want to help you with any issues you encounter during the semester.
Intern: Use your resources on campus to get an internship. Even if the internship description doesn’t sound appealing to you or is in a different field, apply! Gaining experience through internships will help you decide what you would like to study or do post-graduation. Interning also makes your résumé stand out from the thousands of students applying for the same position as you. Besides using campus resources, try Internships.com – create a profile, upload a resume, and apply based on your desired search criteria.
TIP: If you have a friend or family member who works in a field you’re interested in, ask them about internship or job shadowing opportunities. This can help you network and get your foot in the door!
BONUS: Find your place! You can seamlessly transfer between any SUNY school.