Top 10 Ways to Successfully Adjust to College Life: A Guide for New Students

Whether a student is transferring to a new college or attending for the first time, there is a certain period of adjustment that’s required. Students that have never previously attended college must adjust to life as college freshmen. With college, there comes a new level of responsibility in terms of education. Students are confronted with classes that are often more challenging. In addition, the college campus itself is typically larger than life, with a diverse range of students and activities. During their freshman year, students may feel overwhelmed or stressed about these changes to their new life. Fortunately, there are ways for students to adjust successfully to college life.

Get Involved

Getting involved in college activities can help freshmen adjust to college life. Activities can help students feel as if they are a part of their environment, and help them to relieve some of the every day stress associated with classes and studying. Students may consider getting involved in clubs, sports, student organizations, or other activities that take place outside of the classroom. This will also allow them to meet and interact with new people on campus.

  • Cal U Freshmen Adjust to College Life: An article about freshmen at California University of Pennsylvania and how they adjust to their first year in college. The article gives students suggestions on how to get involved and meet others.
  • Why Should I Get Involved?: A page on the Nova Southeastern University website that explains what it means for students to get involved. It also includes benefits of getting involved.

Stay Positive

Freshmen have a lot to adjust to and at times it can feel like too much to handle. When a student gets overwhelmed by meeting new people, adjusting to new professors, studying, and college life in general, he or she may start to feel negative about the whole experience. When this happens, it is crucial that students stay positive with both their behavior and thoughts. Associating with people who have a positive outlook on their college experience and avoiding those who do not are great ways to feel better. Thinking of long-term goals will also help students feel more positive about college and education in general.

  • Academic Success Tip – Stay Positive: A page on the University of Louisville website that gives the reader a bulleted list of tips designed to help students stay positive.
  • Developing a Positive Mindset: A PDF that gives students tips on how to stay positive about college. Readers will learn about maintaining a positive attitude, improving their attitude toward school, and improving their attitude in general. Suggestions are helpful for students from their freshman year and throughout college.

Go to Class

Attending classes is one of the most important student responsibilities. With the new found freedom that college brings, some freshmen may feel tempted to skip classes for other activities. At certain colleges, attendance is critical, particularly for classes that are in high demand. Failure to attend may cause a student to be dropped from the class. In classes where attendance is not taken, students may miss critical information necessary for their studies and may fail the class. Unless a student is ill, he or she should make every effort to attend all of their classes in a timely manner.

Party Smart

For some freshman their newfound independence is unprecedented and the temptation to party is strong. While partying within reason is to be expected, it is important to do so wisely and safely. Excessive partying can interfere with a student’s studies. It can also be dangerous. Freshmen should try to keep partying to the weekends or nights when he or she does not have class to attend the following day. In addition, as a majority of incoming freshman are under the legal age to drink, every effort should be made to avoid alcohol.

Stay on Campus When You Can

When possible, students should stay on campus during their freshman year. This allows them to submerge themselves into the college experience. Students living on campus can enjoy a taste of independence and the many advantages that are associated with campus life. This includes being closer to classes and on-campus activities.

  • Benefits of Living on Campus:An article that lists the benefits of freshmen living on campus, including obtaining a higher GPA during the first year of college.
  • Why Live on Campus: A UC Merced website that answers the question of why students should live on campus. Benefits include meeting new people and not having to drive to school or look for a parking space.

Eat and Sleep Well

During the first year in college, students may sleep less and eat foods that are less healthy than what they are accustomed to. Eating unhealthy food can cause students to gain weight and feel more tired. Studying, stress, or the excitement of social activities and events may cause students to lose sleep. It is important that freshmen make the effort to get a full night’s rest and to eat healthy meals for both their academic and physical health.

Practice Good Stress Management

Stress is an inevitable part of college life. New students must learn how to manage that stress so that it does not interfere with their education or affect their health. There are numerous approaches that students may take to do this successfully. Proper time management is one way to reduce stress and improve one’s studies. Eating and getting enough sleep will also help with stress management. Both physical activity and taking time for oneself can help promote relaxation and help students to unwind.

Communicate Productively

New college students may feel uncomfortable when it comes to communicating their needs. This difficulty could arise when it comes to speaking with professors or with fellow students, such as roommates. No matter where the problem falls, it is necessary for freshman to develop the confidence and the skills to communicate effectively. Speaking with confidence and respect will help students to get the information that they need and help them to avoid confusion or complications with other students.

Maintain Healthy Relationships

During the first year of college, students will make many new friends. They may also have less contact with long-time friends and family. Maintaining a healthy relationship with both new and old friends is important. Students should keep in touch with friends even if they no longer live in the same city or state. When making new friendships, students should avoid people who may have a negative effect on their studies or their happiness and outlook in general. Honesty, communication and treating people with respect are important when it comes to forming and maintaining relationships.

  • Maintaining Healthy Relationships: An article that provides advice on how to listen, communicate and resolve conflicts while in college.
  • Relationships: An article about the importance of keeping relationships healthy. The article consists of sections that drop open when clicked. Sections include initiating relationships, responding, and negotiating.

Stay Focused

College is a source of many distractions for freshmen and new students. Meeting new people, social activities and the sense of independence that comes with being a college student may make it difficult to stay focused on education. Because the purpose of attending college is to obtain a degree, students must make every effort to stay focused on their studies. If extra-curricular activities hinder a student’s ability to focus, it may be necessary to make the decision to reduce those activities that hinder his or her ability to focus. When studying, environment may also wreak havoc on a student’s ability to focus.

  • Getting Focused: A document that reviews how to get focused. The article is broken down into two parts entitled “Distractions” and “Concentration.” Each section includes how students can improve.
  • Stay Focused and Achieve: Five tips on how students can stay focused to achieve their academic goals. Each tip is followed by a brief explanation.

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