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Throughout the summer until even a couple days before the start of college, incoming freshman attend orientation. For some it’s the day they have been looking forward to since they first learned of their dream school, but for others it will be the first time stepping foot on any college campus. The start of college can cause a variety of emotions. New college students may be away from their family for the first time or unsure of they truly want to obtain a college education.

Here are three things to consider so your transition to college goes as smooth as possible.

Plan Ahead

Orientation is all about getting you prepared for college to start and answering any last minute concerns. Stressed out over how you will pay tuition for fall semester? Make an appointment to meet with a financial aid counselor. Considering transferring to a different college within your university? You’ll have time to speak with an academic advisor. Your college may have you fill out a questionnaire before orientation to help them select your fall schedule, or they might let you pick your classes. Take a look at your school’s course catalog before orientation so you have a few schedule options ready ahead of time. Orientation is also a good time to find out what resources are available for your parents while you transition to college. Some schools even offer special sessions during orientation tailored to your parents or any other adult that accompanies you.

Make New Friends

Orientation isn’t just selecting your fall classes or learning school policies. It is also a time to meet your new peers! Making a few friends now will give you a friendly face to see around campus or even in one of your classes. Other freshman may share your same concerns, so don’t be afraid to ask your group leader questions about the best place to take a nap between classes or what the school is really like on the weekend. Asking fellow students their major or what clubs they want to join are easy ways to break the ice and find something in common with them.

Get Involved On Campus

You may have researched the student clubs and intramural sports your college has to offer during the application process, but now that you are a student take another look. Many colleges offer some type of information fair during orientation or the first couple weeks of class to show students the opportunities available to them. You’ll collect tons of free stuff from groups eager for you to sign up for information about their club. You can never have too many college t-shirts! Even if you’re not 100% sure of your interest in a club, it’s worth joining their email list because you are not making a commitment to attend their meetings. Getting involved in clubs will help you meet even more students on campus and give you something to list on your resume.

If you are still feeling uneasy about your college decision, talk to an adult you trust or the academic advisor at your college. It also doesn’t hurt to keep transferring in mind if you think the college you choose wasn’t the right fit for you. Focus on taking general classes during your first year of college because they are easier to transfer than major specific courses. The start of college can be a mix of emotions, but remember than you are in control of your education so speak up if you have concerns.

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the author

Cara Claflin is a senior who attends a public school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even though she plans to stay in Minnesota, attending college in a state that doesn’t have snowstorms in May is starting to sound appealing. She hopes to double major in journalism and marketing. Cara loves helping high school students make the most of all the resources available to them. At school, she is an editor for her school’s newspaper and takes part in a leadership group. When she has some free time, she enjoys dancing, listening to music, reading, and watching music and dance competition reality shows.

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