Students' Point of View
It could be very unsettling being at college for the first time, taking you out of your comfort zone. You may find that some things are going well, while other aspects of college life seem impossible. If you're a freshman or a transfer student at college, there are a number of ways to feel more at home in your new environment.
Living at college is very different than the life you led at home while attending high school. There are new living quarters, new faces, new places to get around, and new routines. There are decisions to make and new things to think about, (maybe even: When to do the laundry? Who to eat dinner with?).
So for those who have been through freshman year already, or who have succeeded as a transfer student, here are their winning approaches:
Succeeding in regards to grades: “I would say make sure to go to all of your classes and do all of your readings ahead of time. Do not procrastinate.” In regards to having college feel more like home: “I would say to get involved in clubs and try to talk to as many people as you can in order to meet new people.”
– Eric (University of Connecticut)
"I think it's a good idea to search for clubs or student groups to join. Even if you only have a slight interest you could end up loving it. It's definitely been the easiest way to meet people other than in the dorms and it gives you something to do other than schoolwork."
-Shana (Binghamton University)
"Try to talk to at least one person in every class. It helps you get more comfortable in your classes when you know someone."
- Nicole (Binghamton University)
“One thing I found helpful when starting at NVCC was learning time management. Even though some tasks may be simple, when you don’t have high school teachers telling you what is next and reminding you each day, it is easy to forget important dates and when things were due.”
– Kim (Naugatuck Valley Community College)
“Well, I definitely think that a great way to feel more at home is to bring some of the things from home that make your room "homey". For instance, I bring my favorite books, all my "chatch-kas", posters, pictures, and enormous collection of pillows and blankets. It makes the packing business a little more difficult, but it makes my dorm feel less like a dorm and more like a place I want to come back to at the end of the day.”
- Ashley (University of Pittsburgh)
“Don't leave all your work until Sunday night to do, college is much harder and demanding then High School.” Also, “Don't be intimidated/afraid of your professor. Don't be afraid to talk to your professor if you need help, and take advantage of their office hours. It is better for your professor, and will help you in the long run if they can put a name to a face in a large class. If you show them that you care, they will be willing to help you."
- Brian (Boston College class of 2011)
“The best I can think of is, ‘Things take time. Nothing will be perfect right away and you definitely won't be used to anything in your new environment for a few weeks. Be patient and relax because stressing won't make the adjustment go any easier or faster.’”
– Lauren (Muhlenberg College)
“-Make friends in classes; doing homework in groups is especially helpful (at least in engineering in particular)
-Don't be afraid to go to professor's office hours and ask for help
-Also don't be afraid to approach a professor whose work is interesting to you and try for a research opportunity. Professors are always looking for students to help (even freshmen!)
-Time management skills are more important than ever (No one is there to tell you to do your homework).
-Remember to relax and don't stress out!
-Never turn down an opportunity for free food :) because college is expensive enough already”
– Celia (Cornell University)
“I would say the most important thing for new students would be GET INVOLVED EARLY ON. It is so much easier to do this early on when all of the other new students are meeting each other doing the same exact thing than it is to try and do this when freshman have already made bonds with one another. I think this was one of the contributing factors that led to my transferring out of UConn. I got so much more out of my experience at UNH by getting involved in intramurals, clubs, etc.”
– Amanda (University of Connecticut – freshman and sophomore years. University of New Hampshire – junior and senior years. Now attending Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences)
“As for academics... I think one of the best tips I every got was to find a place to study that works for you. It was hard for me to study at the library where everyone else was studying. So when I had time in between classes I went on little adventures to different smaller branch libraries, empty class rooms, cafes, any place with a chair or table... to see where I could concentrate the best. After I found my spot this is where I studied all the time.”
All the advice is great! I’ve already emailed some pointers to my son at Beloit College. I hope he shares it with all his friends! If you have any other tips, comments or questions, please share in the comments below!
Links from a number of online sources on how to adapt to college:
Syracuse University -
College Dorm Life - Sharing your space, shower, laundry facility, and more
Adjusting to a Whole New Life - Leaving the comforts of home and adjusting to college life as a freshman
By Chuck Bomar
Family Education -
Adjusting to College Life
By Cindy Bond
How to Adjust to College Life
(eHow Community Member)