Tips for Freshmen in College, the Ultimate Guide! Part I
***This article is Part I out of three parts.
Are you a freshmen about to enter college?
Entering college next year, for the first time? Here's some tips on how to make your transition from high-school to college a smooth one. This is the stuff I wish I knew beforehand!
1. Don't pack everything
As tempting as it's going to be to pack every meaningful thing that can fit into a bag- don't do it! And yes, I know you feel you need "options" for you everyday attire- so, instead of packing every item of clothing you own, pack seasonally. What is fall and spring going to be like at your university? Be smart about packing for college, and do some research.
- Limit yourself to 20-30 items of clothing, suited to the weather at the university you will be attending
- Pack enough undergarments for two weeks
At the end of the year when it's time to leave for summer break, you don't want to have to bring a bunch of your clothes back home- it's a pain! So pack wisely. It's for your own good.
Recommended Reading for College Freshmen:
2. Make procrastination a thing of the past
In high-school you could get away with last minute studying and completing assignment the night before. Slipping into this dangerous habit will put a lot of stress on you in university. Chances are you are not the magical 1% that can get away with procrastination.
Professors will whip through material in no time. Compared to high-school courses, college courses are so fast paced, so keeping on top of your assignments and projects is an essential skill you need to acquire quickly. Professors also have a pretty good idea how much thought and time you invest in your work.
You will find yourself overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged if you decide to constantly procrastinate. The added stress of procrastination will affect your academic performance.
- Learn how to prioritize and organize
- Spread out your work into manageable pieces
- Set reasonable goals for yourself
- Invest in a heavy-duty planner
- Create your own deadlines and stick to them
3. Don't take too many credits
Don't bite off more than you can chew because it will be detrimental to your GPA- and that's no way to start off! Give yourself a chance to see how you'll do your first semester with ideally 14-15 credits.
This is not to discourage you from taking 17+ credits, but that's not something you should be trying out your first semester. Let your first semester be about being able to assimilate to the college environment.
Play around with more credits your second semester.
4. Befriend your professors
This could make the difference between a B and a B+ or A. Go to them just for a little chat, maybe eat lunch with them, discuss interesting course topics, whatever- just talk to them!
Professors love when you come to them for help. It shows you are working and are interested in the material they are teaching you.
5. Attend every class
Don't think for a second that you'll be able to get away with skipping class and come out with a decent grade. This is especially dangerous to do when you don't know or aren't keeping track of you exam dates.You don't want to miss an exam and get a zero. You also want to stay on top of the material and at least have an idea of what topics you are discussing.
This is a pretty simple step in your college success. You'd be surprised how many students skip this obvious and essential step.
6. It's okay to drop classes
So you're taking this course, and you've done a few assignments, maybe did one test and you've been getting lower than your expectations of yourself or less than you desire- drop it. Yes, drop the class.
Just make sure that once you drop it that you'll still be a full time student (12 credit hours) because this can cause problems with the financial aid. I stuck with a class that I was less than pleased with my performance- and boy did it reflect in my GPA.
Standard GPA Scale
7. Know how a C and C- will affect your grade
I realized a little too late what getting a B- could do to my GPA. If I had known the GPA quality points scale, I would have dropped one of my first semester classes in a heart beat.
At most universities, you can retake a class you did poorly in. The general university policy is that if you get a D+ or lower, you can retake the class. Some colleges will let you retake one class that is a C- or above, but any other retakes follow the general policy.
How to Calculate GPA:
If you ever want to calculate how you're doing overall on your own, here are simple steps to calculate quickly.
Steps to calculate your GPA:
- Determine the letter grade and the quality points for that grade (An A- for instance is a 3.67) for one course
- Multiply the quality points by the number of credit hours for the course. Most courses are 3-4 credits. (An A- for a 3 credit course would be (3.67 * 3)= 11.01)
- Repeat this for all the course you want to calculate your GPA for
- Add all the quality points for all of your courses in your calculation
- Divide by the number of credit hours. This will give you your GPA.
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