Top Ten College Transition Tips

Admission receives a lot of media coverage, often promoting ridiculously low acceptance rates, scandals, and other stories that raise collective blood pressure. For some students and those who support them, this translates into excessive time spent trying to thwart the college application process. Disproportionate attention is paid to the actual transition from high school to college – it’s no game. How students approach this important period of change can set the stage for a successful college experience. If not given the attention it deserves, it can lead to disappointment, disengagement and, in the worst case, disenlistment. Consider these tips from professionals who have helped young adults and their families through times of transition.

1. College isn’t the BEST four years, it’s the NEXT four years

“Well-meaning sentiments suggesting that college is the culmination of life don’t really serve students. All students will have good and bad days and we should not suggest the opposite. Instead, we can focus on the fact that colleges are designed to help students grow, and all growth has its ups and downs. Lisa Damour, Ph.D., author of “Untangled: Guiding adolescent girls through the seven transitions to adulthood”.

2. Make yourself confortable

“Rename the first year ‘The Year of Getting Comfortable’ to ease the pressure. It allows for the normal, natural discomfort that accompanies change. Identify your 3 places before arriving on campus. Places are where you can sweat, play, pray, live, learn, lead, love and work. Spiritual groups can be a great place. You don’t have to be religious, just nice people and free food. – Harlan Cohen, bestselling author of “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Troubles You Might Have In College”, “Earn or Learn” and other books. He also has tips on TikTok college and life on #helpmeharlan.

3. Sources of support

“Often when transitioning to a new place, such as a college or university campus, or when we live in a different space or community, we are excited and even distracted by the many changes happening simultaneously in our adaptation to the new framework and in establishing routines. It is after the novelty and excitement of the transition has worn off that individuals realize that they may have neglected to identify sources or “networks”. of support in their new location. Therefore, we strongly encourage students to identify sources of connection in their new community early in their transition and before moving to campus. Support networks on a college campus can be advisors or freshman counselors, resident assistants (RAs), faculty and academic staff, peer groups with in similar interests or from similar communities. Additionally, students should check student health and wellness centers carefully to identify the many counseling and support resources available on campus and the process for accessing resources. In 2012, the University of California launched the Red Folder Initiative, which includes quick links to the ten campuses supporting people in distress. Most universities have similar reference guides for on-campus mental health resources, and we encourage you to find a comparable guide at your institution to have on hand. – Megan Corazza, Ed.D. Chair of Counseling Department, Sage Creek High School, CA

4. The principle of paramecium.

“Be a paramecium. This brainless single-celled organism survives and thrives, and it does so using one basic principle: if things look up, keep swimming in that direction, and if not, change course. The rule is this: before you specialize in one thing, you have to taste a lot of things, including those that you may have abandoned. It’s never too late to taste. Sampling opens the door to serendipity. Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Character Lab, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Co-Host, Freakonomics No Stupid Questions, author of “Grit: The power of passion and perseverance »

5. Relax and enjoy the dance

“’What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; There is nothing new under the sun. [Ecclesiastes 1:9] This judicious quote deserves to be kept in mind when you go from high school to the establishment of your choice. Whatever the campus, remember that our spaces are just a microcosm of society in the broad sense. Of course, the circumstances are different, but the people behind them are relatively the same. So relax. Beneath the masks and false bravado that you will encounter, there are only people like you. Nothing new. There is a rhythm to university life. As you experience your transition, a comfortable pace can possibly develop. In no time, you have mastered the distance you have to travel between the halls of residence and the classroom buildings to be on time; or maybe you’ve found that quiet spot on the quad that’s your go-to spot when it’s time to study or hang out with friends. Each student usually settles into a waltz with their surroundings as they navigate the daily dynamics of their lived experience, and so can you. So, create good habits and enjoy dancing. – Anthony E. Jones, M.Ed., Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Experience, Bethune-Cookman University

6. Bring a door stopper

“It’s handy because college dorm doors are usually heavy and don’t stay open on their own, but it’s also a great way to show you’re open to meeting new people. The transition to college means you may need to find a group of new friends who will eventually become your community away from home, so be sure to eat in the dining hall (not alone in your room), go to the college fair and sign up for an activity that will let you know people with similar interests, and if your AR brings people together for a fun activity, you should definitely go. Studying is important, but finding a community that will support you during the next few years is probably more important right now.- Denise Pape, Ph.D., Co-founder of Challenge Success, senior lecturer at Stanford University, author of Do school ”: how we create a generation of stressed, materialist and poorly educated students” and co-author of “Overloaded and poorly prepared: strategies for stronger schools and healthy and successful children. »

seven. Less stress, more sleep

Have a plan to relieve stress in a healthy way. The things that make college so exciting can also be stressful. New people, challenging classes, and uncertainty about your place are part of what makes college such a time of growth. But, if stressful entries are not balanced by healthy outings, bad things happen. Much of the excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs is an unsuitable way to reduce short -term stress. While watching shows or being on the phone distracts you from stressors, it is not stress relief. Exercising, meditating, spending time with caring friends, and spending time in nature are readily available tools to eliminate some of the stress you’ll naturally feel in college. And sleep. The average student is terribly under-rested. Sleep is crucial for learning. sports performance, creativity and mental health. Because sleep deprivation has the same corrosive effects on the body and brain as stress, “pay yourself first.” Structure your time for adequate (49-63 hours per week) and regular sleep, then “spend” the rest of your time on all the things that matter to you inside and outside the classroom. – Ned Johnson, co-author, “The autonomous child: science and the sense of giving your children more control over their lives”

8. Technology: the fifth wall

“There are actually five walls in your dorm room when you get to college. No, the fifth wall is not a wall of dirty clothes (that would be the sixth wall). This wall is invisible. It’s the wall I call technology Don’t stay in your dorm and live online It’s hard enough to explore on your own without the internet, online dating, instant messaging, video games and all the Other electronic gadgets that make loneliness much more tolerable. You will miss it so much. ” – Harlan Cohen

9. Communicate

“Have a communication plan. Parents may want to hear from you in some way (think text, Instagram, old-fashioned phone call) to make sure you Both parties should agree that daily communication is probably unnecessary – but a regular weekly check-in or (insert appropriate interval here) might make sense, especially in the beginning.—Denise Pope, Ph.D.

ten. Go to class

I know…that last tip might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. On the way to drop me off at college, my parents only asked me one thing, and that was that I don’t miss class. They emphasized that they helped me be there to learn and grow, and that at the very least I could take advantage of every opportunity to do so. While at the time I thought it was an obvious expectation, I soon realized that many of my classmates were missing several classes a week. It’s a slippery slope and a waste of money. A successful college experience is all about establishing healthy routines and attending class should be one of those foundational routines.

If you’ve memorized these top ten transition tips and still want more, consider this college transition program for a deeper dive and some resources you can engage with this summer as you plan a trip. fluid and useful in this next stage of life.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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