Prepa­ra­tion is key for a smooth tran­si­tion to col­lege life


C OLLEGE-bound stu­dents are get­ting ready to de­scend upon cam­puses na­tion­wide. As the first day of the new aca­demic year ap­proaches, there are ways to stay or­ga­nized and to min­i­mize anx­i­ety, ac­cord­ing to area ex­perts.

If ner­vous en­ergy is con­sum­ing you as you pre­pare to tran­si­tion to col­lege life, “Think through what got you through high school,” says Tom El­lett, se­nior as­so­ci­ate vice pres­i­dent for stu­dent affairs and as­so­ci­ate vice provost for univer­sity pro­grams at New York Univer­sity. “Chat with older suc­cess­ful stu­dents and con­nect with fam­ily mem­bers who have suc­ceeded in col­lege.”

Ar­eas to fo­cus on in­clude “money-plan­ning, clo­sure with fam­ily and friends, and con­tin­u­ing that dream list of what you want to ac­com­plish at col­lege,” says El­lett.

If you haven’t yet reg­is­tered for classes, now is the time to do so, says Kevin Joyce, vice pres­i­dent of stu­dent affairs for Mercy Col­lege. “Re­view your syl­labi — who is your pro­fes­sor? What books and other ma­te­ri­als will you need?”

Con­tact or meet your room­mates if you haven’t al­ready, ad­vises Maria Cam­panella, di­rec­tor of the health sciences of­fice of stu­dent ser­vices at Stony Brook Univer­sity. “Co­or­di­nate what you’re each bring­ing — you don’t need three TVs, ob­vi­ously,” she says.

Search out your school’s aca­demic cal­en­dar, con­tin­ues Cam­panella. “Ac­ti­vate re­minders on your smart- phone on when the last date is to drop or add classes without fi­nan­cial li­a­bil­ity.”

If you plan to live on cam­pus, this is the time to ob­tain, re­view and or­ga­nize items for your dorm.

“La­bel every­thing. It will make mov­ing a bit less stress­ful when you know ev­ery item has your full name and res­i­dence hall on it,” says Stephanie Espina, di­rec­tor of fresh­man ad­mis­sions for Adel­phi Univer­sity.

Plan­ning to com­mute to school? “Per­fect your travel route,” says Espina. “Es­tab­lish [both] your main route and an al­ter­nate [one] for those un­ex­pected bumps in the road — lit­er­ally.”

It’s also wise to keep your cam­pus map close.

“Nav­i­gat­ing cam­pus for the first time to get from class to class can be over-

whelm­ing. Get ahead by re­view­ing your map and have it handy for your first day of classes,” Espina says.

To con­firm that your fall course sched­ule is set, work with your school’s ad­mis­sions of­fice on­line or off- to feel com­fort­able and knowl­edge­able about the classes you’ll be tak­ing this fall.

In ad­di­tion, “Sub­mit your ad­vanced place­ment, in­ter­na­tional bac­calau­re­ate and/or col­lege cred­its to en­sure they are con­sid­ered, ac­cepted and ap­plied to­ward your de­gree,” says Espina.

Savvy stu­dents should re­search and at­tend wel­come-week of­fer­ings through your aca­demic in­sti­tu­tion, she says. “Ori­en­ta­tion, so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and club fairs are op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet new peo­ple and im­merse your­self in stu­dent life.”

Al­though your par­ents may be used to tex­ting and talk­ing with you fre­quently, if you’re go­ing away to school, in­ter­ac­tions may be more lim­ited.

“In­sti­tute a com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan,” ad­vises W. Hous­ton Dougharty, vice pres­i­dent of stu­dent affairs for Hof­s­tra Univer­sity. “Have an un­der­stand­ing with your par­ents about how of­ten you will com­mu­ni­cate. Ex­pec­ta­tions should be clear so some­one doesn’t end up dis­ap­pointed,” Dougharty says.

Time man­age­ment and study skills are ex­tremely im­por­tant when deal­ing with the more in­ten­sive class­work of col­lege, says Luis G. Manzo, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of stu­dent well­ness and as­sess­ment at St. John’s Univer­sity.

“Use a plan­ner to or­ga­nize your sched­ule. Make sure classes and study time are on the sched­ule, as well ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, so­cial­iz­ing and ex­er­cise,” he says.

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