Tips to Prepare for College

A group of students studying together

Welcome once again to another episode of “Your Life as a Student”

We are approaching the end of another semester and some of you are headed over to post secondary (either College or University). Well, for those of you leaving secondary education behind you will be entering a whole new level of experiences that you will not be ready for, but hopefully some of the points raised in this article can soften the landing a little.

  1. Mental Change

The first thing to have ready is your state of mind. There is really no way to know what you don’t know, so experience will ultimately be the only teacher but one thing you need to prepare for is independence and all that comes with it. You will have to be the one who stays on top of your schoolwork, you will also have to stay on top of your academic trajectory to be sure you are keeping up with your credit requirements amongst other things. Regularly meeting with your academic advisor is a good way to stay ahead of this.

Making friends with the studious people in your different classes is a great way to keep yourself up on projects, studying regularly and assignments.

If you haven’t already developed great study habits, then you will need to fast track that. There are a few suggestions in our previous posts that may help with that.

2. Workload Change

Building on the points raised in the previous post, there is a huge jump in your workload and no one to hound you to make sure you are keeping up with it. So, keeping that in mind you have to put checks in place to make sure you do not fall behind.

This next statement goes without saying but for emphasis needs to be made, you will be forced to work hard either way so better to spend your time and energy staying ahead than in catching up. It is hard enough managing all the work required without falling behind so do everything you possibly can not to find yourself in that predicament. The stress and exertion you will put yourself under to get back on track will push you to your limits and then beyond it.

3. Gear Change

At this point laptops are almost standard for students but if you don’t already have one make sure you get the appropriate model to suite your needs in your respective program. If you can’t get one then make sure you stay up to date on the requirements of the computer labs at your campus i.e., schedules, bookings, locations etc. If you will be dependent on library computers, then working your schedules around their hours will be paramount as well as any other respective tools you may need.

If you need to have extra hard drives for storage or need to pay for extra cloud storage you should get all that sorted before classes begin as you don’t want to have to figure these things out when the ball’s already rolling.

There are many apps available these days so you can look around for which ones suite you and speak to your classmates about which ones you need and get yourself acquainted with them.

4. Spending Change

This is one of the biggest things (besides actually studying of course) you need to pay close attention to. If you are getting financial assistance from your family then at least the source of the money isn’t a concern, you just need to allocate it efficiently. Tuition and rent are your top expenses and thankfully you only need to pay tuition once a semester, but rent is repeat after me, “EVERY month.” The smart thing to do is to calculate those sums and see how much you have left as spending money. It is more ideal to separate those so you don’t end up cutting into your rent money, or worse your tuition! (gasp)

Every situation is unique to the individual, but you never want to be in a situation where you don’t have either of those two expenses when the payments are due.

By now you should know if you have any scholarships from your chosen institution, but you can look at your school for any other possible scholarships you can still apply for or perhaps down the line.

You can also look around campus for job opportunities. If you’re reading this then you should be looking for those job opportunities right now as those go by pretty quickly.

5. Health Change

College life is notorious for its unhealthy diet and this is not limited to only food choices. If you are a student who already had a healthy lifestyle leaving secondary school then maintaining it will be one more thing you have to keep track of. (I know right, more scheduling!)

For most people this will be their first-time taking care of their feeding which is also why a lot of students end up eating junk. Besides the fact these fast foods are not great for your body, they are also very expensive cumulatively. But students are short on time and fast food is very convenient hence the trap. Dedicating a time to cooking (I know, I know its near impossible) within your already tight schedule will greatly reduce your reliance on fast food which will save you A LOT of money.

You will also want to include some kind of physical activity into your lifestyle as it is great for meeting new people, forming bonds and managing stress as well so try to keep that in mind.

Having all these important things to do consistently is why you must make a schedule and keep to it. The reason we have these articles is to let you know the things to keep in mind ahead of time to give you enough time to fit it all in.

Finally staying away from the very available and temptingly prevalent substances will also do you a lot of good in managing your previously established tight schedule and keeping up your (much needed) discipline.

These are just a few suggestions to help you prepare for your post secondary journey but it is by no means an exhaustive list. The important thing is to do as much prep work as you can before your freshman semester to minimize the shock of the transition.

We wish you all the best on your adventures in school and most of all beyond!

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