Heading off to college is one of the most exciting times for high school graduates. It can be overwhelming, intimidating, and exciting all at once. For parents, it’s a very emotional time when sons & daughters leave home. There’s a sense of pride and anxiety topped with concerns about students succeeding in the first semester.
Studies have shown that a student’s performance the first semester is an indicator of success for the following semesters. Flying solo, reinventing, and exploring are all part of the growth process in college. This can be positive and very formative. However, success in the classroom is the overriding indicator of maturity.
Students must go to class every day and on time. The first week should be geared toward meeting with each professor during office hours. Establish a relationship with the professor before the workload becomes potentially overwhelming, and the professor is then more apt to lend assistance.
If financially feasible, remain on campus the entire freshman year. The campus is where relationships are established, new clubs explored, and allegiance to the university. Reach out to other students in the dining halls, dormitories, and athletic events. Having friends to enjoy campus life with and reach out to when in need will give first-year students the grounding needed for success in the classroom.
Students need to meet with advisors regularly. They can provide access to tutoring, off-campus experiences, guidance on majors, and class selection. Academic advisors can be one of the most valuable resources for first-year students on campus.
Finally, students should phone home often! (Virgin Mobile USA has some very affordable plans). Often the family is the strongest support network and must be continually nourished. Success and independence do not mean loosening or breaking ties with family and old friends. It’s a balancing act the students will ultimately perfect during their four years at a university. The first semester will fly by, and in no time, all the hard work and commitment will result in a well-deserved diploma.
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