Students entering college this fall will already be thinking about all the things they need to do before they start classes on day one. Students who are moving out of state will have even more to do when they focus on their move. There are things students can prepare for, regardless of how far away their college campus is, in order to have a smooth transition to campus life.

Make an appointment with an academic counselor

Many students don’t think about making an appointment with an academic counselor upfront, rather they wait until they run into some kind of problem. However, it’s good for new college students to meet with an advisor and determine what course load they need to take in order to meet their general education requirements. In many cases, students can avoid taking more courses than necessary by figuring out which classes count towards any particular requirement. Spending 30 minutes with a counselor could save a student an entire extra semester.

Choose a class schedule

Students should not wait until the last minute to pick out the classes they’re going to take in their first year. In some cases, core classes will last a full year and be taught over different semesters or terms while others will just be one semester long and students will need to choose another class to replace it. It’s important for students to have first choice classes as well as backup classes taught at different times of the day or week in case their first choice is not available. It can feel like working on a puzzle in order to get the courses a student wants, so being prepared early on can be helpful.

Look for a social or academic student group

Joining social groups can help students make new friends and settle into campus life but it can also be an academic benefit. Students who have a solid group of friends to study with often thrive and adjust more easily in their first year of college. It’s important to find other students who have similar academic goals and who are also motivated to succeed, even in the classes they are taking simply to fill a requirement.

Take a tour of the campus

If a student has not already taken a tour of their college campus, they should definitely do so before they start classes. Even smaller colleges can feel overwhelming during the first semester. Students who know what building their classes are in and how long it takes to get to and from important places of interest like student housing, the library, food hall, and lecture halls will have an easier time during the first weeks of college.

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