Things to Know as a First-year Student in College

It is a big transition going from high school to college. You are entering a whole new phase of your life not only as a student, but also as a person. While that is extremely exciting, it could also be a bit scary if you don’t have the right steps to guide you. There are many things students wish they could have known upon entering their first year instead of later in their college journey. Things that certainly would have made their transition easier and graduating on time more likely. Here are some essential tips and tricks to help you have a good start to your college experience.

Students should realize the importance of networking as soon as the first day of class. The students in your classes are your peers in your academic life and will one day be your peers in your professional life. You never know where opportunities will arise and if a colleague can help you in the future or vice versa. In addition, students need to make the effort to explore their campus, find out about the different resources that are available, and get involved with different clubs and organizations. Last but not least, you must try to get to know your professors. Most professors deal with hundreds of students per semester and a personal introduction and proper follow-up during the semester will help them remember you out of the crowd.

Academic and career advisement is a critical component of setting a proper course in college. It is crucial to find a good advisor and speak to him or her about future goals and the major you want to pursue. By doing this earlier rather than later, he or she can direct you in what classes to take in order to get all your credits and graduate on time. Make sure to also take advantage of the many resources your school has to offer, such as career counseling sessions. This will help you to evaluate what career would be a good match for you and how to use your degree to drive your professional dreams. Volunteer opportunities and internships are also great ways to gain valuable experience in the career you want to pursue. Attending career workshops at the Starr Career Development Center can be extremely educational as well and are available for all majors.

It is important to check your calendar for leadership and career-related opportunities regularly. Effectively using your Starr Search account can open up new possibilities and career tracks that you may not even know about. Using programs such as Focus 2, an online career matching tool, and Vault, a comprehensive database on employers, can allow you to gain the knowledge needed to choose the right path for you. Through this active process, you can use your time and money efficiently while attending college. Besides posting thousands of internships and jobs, the career center also guides students towards competitive leadership programs, such as the Financial Leadership Program (FLP) and the Rising Starr Sophomore Program (RSSP), for future career success.

These are just some of the things a new college student needs to know to help them in their pursuit towards graduation and future employment. If you follow this advice, in addition to balancing your academic and social life, you will have an engaging and growth-oriented experience at college and in the world beyond it.

-Pamela Lubambo



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