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What to expect as a college freshman


Monday, July 01, 2013

With the arduous and seemingly never ending college application process behind you, you can now look forward to starting your freshman year in the fall. Attending college is one of the most important and exciting periods of your life, but also a little frightening, as you are uncertain about what can you expect from your experience. Don't worry - with some common sense, a little planning and a desire to succeed, you can hit the ground running in September and lay the groundwork for a successful college experience.

An independent spirit
One of the biggest differences between high school and college is the amount of autonomy that is expected of students. If you think your professors will chase you for overdue work, think again. College isn't just about learning about new subjects - it's a chance to start living your life independently.

If you're not sure about something, you need to take the initiative and ask for assistance or clarification. Make sure you understand your assignments, the grading system, how tests will be given and even something as simple as how to get to class. While this level of academic responsibility can be intimidating, it doesn't have to be. If you take advantage of your professors' office hours to get extra help, the writing center to review your papers, and study groups to prepare for exams, you will be taking control of your studies.

Heavier workload
Even if you've taken Advanced Placement classes, you may not be prepared for how much work you'll be expected to complete as a college student. Of course, workloads vary widely from one major to another, but regardless of your major, be ready for a substantially heavier workload than you experienced in high school.

The increased workload is sure to be a cause for concern, but it can also be an excellent opportunity to learn valuable skills, such as time management. Attending classes, conducting research and completing assignments, in addition to eating, sleeping and having a social life, all take organizational skills. Successfully juggling all these activities will certainly be an asset in college and in your life after college.

Cultural exchange
Sometimes, high school can seem like your whole world. However, when you get to college, you'll see just how different the real world can be. Some schools have a diverse population with students from all over the world, and many colleges are a melting pot of cultures, bold ideas and other new experiences.

During your time as a freshman, be sure to engage with the student body, explore new opportunities like student organizations and be open to new ideas and concepts. College is as much about learning how to think independently as it is about completing coursework.

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