Throughout this first year as a college freshman, I have learned many things about college life that I did not know before the start of my first semester. Here are five things everyone should know before enrolling in college.
- Scholarships and Other Financial Aid With colleges regularly raising tuition from year to year, who does not want a scholarship? As I have written previously, I like to identify two collective sources for scholarships: Colleges and third parties.
- Communication Between Students and Professors It is easy to assume that professors will be more critical than they actually are. While the best ones will ask you difficult questions, ask you to elaborate on answers, ask you to orally dialogue with them in front of the class if time allows, and push you to improve, the best professors will also be amicable if you contact them with questions, concerns, or et cetera. Most professors want their students to succeed. They are as equally human as you, too. Students might perceive a seemingly impenetrable barrier between themselves and their professors, but do not fall into that false view. Reach out to them when necessary or even desired.
- Homework and Study Habits While I cannot say that I have had significantly more homework in college than high school so far, besides volumes of more reading, I can say that I have had to study a lot more and have had to adhere to a stricter homework and study schedule. Since most college classes only meet once or twice a week and professors usually chug along in the textbooks without retrospection except for pre-exam review sessions, it is momentously critical that you study on your own in college and thoroughly review notes. This caught me off-guard. I wish someone had warned me before my college career began. While I managed to perform well last semester, there was a definite learning curve, and I believe this semester will require more studying of me as I am in more advanced courses. Begin college ready to study and read tomes.
- The Declaration of a Major, a Minor, or Multiple Majors I thought I knew what I wanted to major in before I began my undergraduate career, but I currently have absolutely no idea. During my first semester I realized the profundity of many fields of study. While I am still undecided, I do know that it is important to remember this: Your major does not define you or your future career. I sense that many college students fall into the trap of believing that the field you major in limits you. In reality, we are free to explore all academic fields throughout our lives. Just because you concentrate on one or two in college does not mean you are limited to that field for the rest of your professional career or your recreational studies. Those are what I would identify as the five most important pieces of knowledge I could give to a forthcoming college student. These realizations allowed me to improve my experience last semester, as the second half was ultimately a superior and more enjoyable experience. I acquired more knowledge during the second half of last semester once I settled in, developed a routine, and realize these facts.