5 Smart Ways To Prepare Yourself For Starting College This Fall

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5 Ways To Prepare Yourself Before Heading For College In The Fall
Expert
Self

The leap from high school to college is significant. So before you start classes this fall, there are some important pieces of college advice new students should know.

 It’s well-known as a milestone in the lives of many young people. The academics aren't as markedly different between the two, but the workload is. There are other factors which carry noticeable differences as well, including time management, personal identity, and organizational skills — all of which affect the success of this transition.

Where high school was usually more regimented, going to college is full of choices. And at times, this may be overwhelming and confusing, which is why counseling can help with the ups and downs of this upcoming transition.


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Before you pack up your bags and get ready for your collegiate adventure this fall, read these tips for having a successful school year ahead.

Here are 5 smart pieces of advice you should know before you start college:

1. Solidify your identity.

High school is a fun and worthwhile time for some, but others can’t wait until it's over. Although your identity is starting to be more of a consistent nature during those years, it’s typically not settled within you at that point. The permanent grounding takes place in the years following high school.

You may know who you are inside, but it’s often hard to know how to integrate yourself into this new world. By locating your core values, counseling can help guide your character roots to more permanency while also being flexible with what life has to offer.

2. Have the courage to embrace your new independence.

Graduating from high school is exciting. Going to college for some is even more exciting while for others they may be nervous about this next step. What sometimes is frightening is the independence following each event.

Independence is a positive thing but can also be intimidating. When a young adult doesn't feel confident and positive in the next step to take, confusion can develop. It’s common to find young people retreating back to their more dependent habits while in high school. 

Fears can be overcome, though. Counseling can provide you with the courage to dive into this new lifestyle of choices and learning about yourself at a deeper level. Being excited but nervous about the future is only natural. Facing it with boldness and wisdom sometimes requires a little encouragement.

3. Offer yourself assurance that you’re not alone.

Feeling like a lone island after high school is common enough. This feeling doesn't have to haunt you. With so many decisions and new responsibilities, the feeling of being overwhelmed is common. More dropouts occur due to this feeling than any other reason.

Homesickness, if you go away to school, is also an ailment that gets young people down. Feeling isolated can prove to be an upset in your lifestyle. When so much is new in your life, it can be difficult to understand that you’re not alone.

Counseling can offer assurance you’re not alone by reiterating your network of support. Often, it’s simply the mind that feels like an island. In reality, there is usually a circle of reinforcements at your fingertips.


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4. Set attainable goals for your future. 

Transitioning to college is a time filled with many choices. Sometimes making decisions around these choices seems like your only task. It can be easy to lose sight of your goals for the future. More specifically, losing sight of short-term goals can be a frequent theme.

Some short-term goals could include monthly budgeting, completing coursework, establishing a personal rapport with peers, and maintaining valuable networks. It is important to remember that college is about having fun, being memorable, and learning about what inspires you.

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There is more depth to the decisions made in college. Counseling can help you establish what you want out of college. In addition, it can help you set goals and guide you on the path to accomplishing them.

5. Organize your priorities.

With adult decisions typically come adult responsibilities. These might seem scary at first or they might excite you! Between writing term papers, paying the car insurance, and making it to your study group on time, life can feel like a juggling act.

Organizational skills can help you succeed with managing your college life. Unlike the academics of high school, college academics may require more of your time. Proper time management becomes a necessity to fulfill all your responsibilities.

Arming you with organizational tools, counseling can keep you one step ahead of the deadlines. It’s during this time that you can develop habits that will stay with you for the long haul, so you want to make them count.

Transitioning from high school to college is fun with a lot of new choices and possibilities along the way. There are new decisions, responsibilities, and activities that you will get to experience. A professional can help you strategize a plan to keep on top of your new life in college.


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Suzi Sena, EdS, LPC is an integrative, holistic therapist who helps people navigate challenges in life, relationship, and career challenges. To find her online, please visit CT Integrative Counseling.

This article was originally published at CTIntegrativeCounseling.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.