MOVING ON UP
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.