Tips for College
Living on Campus
Living on campus comes with its own set of pros and cons. While it can make life easier and more convenient, you will have to make sure that you are responsible and stay on top of other things such as knowing the housing requirements and rules, living with roommates, and deciding which meal plan you would like to get.
Universities that offer housing will generally house incoming freshmen on campus. Check in with your school about the various housing options that are available to you, familiarize yourself with important deadlines, and get to know the Resident Assistants (RA) in your dorm or housing.
Living with Roommates
Living with roommates for the first time on your own can be an exciting and nerve-racking. Luckily, most schools are able to share the contact information of your new roommates with you. You can use this information to contact your roommates early and get to know them before move-in day. Have open communication and share helpful information about yourself. You may want to share if you are a night person or early riser, if you require a quiet study space or nosier, coordinate who will bring bigger items for your shared space (refrigerator, microwave, television, etc.) in order to avoid bringing multiples. Keep in mind that in shared living situations space is limited and you want to make the best possible use of the space that you have.
Most schools offer various meal plans. Figure out what your schedule looks like and plan out which meals you will regularly be having in the dining commons at your college. Do you normally eat breakfast? Do you have an early class? Will you have time to eat at a dining common and make it to class on time? Are you planning to be involved in extracurricular activities? Do you plan on cooking for some meals?
After you have considered all the factors, you can decide how many meals you plan to eat at the dining commons on a weekly basis. Do you need 20 meals per week? 30? 40? Look into the various options that your school offers and choose the plan that best fits your individual needs. Other schools may offer a balance system where your student ID is prefilled with dining money. You may be charged only for items that you eat or for the meal as a whole. If your school follows this system, calculate how much you plan to eat and how much each meal may end up costing you.
Also, if you have dietary restrictions investigate the options that are available to you. Before purchasing a meal plan, you might want to check what the menus typically look like and make sure that there are enough options for you available.
- Join clubs to become involved and make friends that are either in or outside of your classes.
- Try to schedule your classes close together.
- When scheduling your classes, remember if you're a morning or night person. You have to allocate time for traffic, parking, and other things when commuting to class.
- Find a place to study between classes or grab lunch.
- Keep a spare set of car keys on you.
- Pack a lunch!
- If you have long breaks between classes, consider getting a part time job to break up the time.
- Be friendly to everyone you meet in class, and do not be afraid to introduce yourself
- Clubs are always very welcoming, don't be afraid to join the ones you're interested in
- Talk to your professors or TA's during office hours, whether it be about life or your grades. Professors love to get to know you, and when there's so many students, it's hard to do that if you don't see them personally. They can also give you study tips, career advice, research, or write you letters of recommendation.
- Take advantage of your alumni network. Don't be afraid to reach out to other alumni from your school that work in a field you're interested in, or if you just want to introduce yourself and learn about them.
- Take advantage of all the networking events that happen on campus, whether it be talks with CEO's or recruiters coming from a company.
- Utilize your school's career services center for internships and career, resume, interview, or internship advice.
- Talk to your friends about their current clubs, internships, or experiences to see if you are interested and can learn from them.
- Don't be afraid to talk to upperclassmen; everyone is willing to be friends with and help out each other.
- Join clubs to break up your time, but not too many that you become overwhelmed.
- Find a study spot that works for you, whether that be in the library, a study room, or your dorm.
- Utilize your resources, such as professors, classmates, tutors, or learning centers for help.
- Make a schedule, use a planner, or something that works for you to manage your time.
- Take time in your day to read, watch TV, exercise, or grab a meal with friends.
- Break up your weekend so it is a mix of studying and going to places or hanging out with friends.