Prepare for College

How to prepare for the college transition

The move to college can be a major adjustment. In addition to tougher coursework, a foreign environment, and a dramatic new level of independence, some of the biggest obstacles a new college freshman will face have practical solutions. As with any new challenge, the old Boy Scout credo of “be prepared” holds true once again.

From fighting homesickness, to being prepared for a medical situation, to getting to know and learn from people whom are different than you, college gives you a chance to really shine. Indeed, no one said the transition to adulthood would be easy, but when you learn how to prepare for college, you also learn how to prepare for life as an adult.

Here are some helpful tips and advice that address fairly universal challenges that freshman often encounter, and ones that will teach you how to prepare for college adjustments.

Prepare for College Dorm Life

For most freshman, going to college will mark the first time they will be spending a considerable amount of time away from the comfortable confines of home and loved ones. It helps to know that your family is also going through the same situation. While you prepare for college dorm life and are making plans for your new home, your parents are likely making plans to turn your old room into a “guest room” where they will only “occasionally” charge rent to boarders who would like to “stay” there.

All joking aside, your relationships with friends and family are special, but those relationships didn’t build themselves. You had a lot to do with that. An essential way to prepare for college is to start by giving yourself some credit; you are an interesting and unique person who will be surrounded by thousands of other interesting and unique people. Another way to help prepare for college is to know that you should, and will likely want to, get out and meet people. Just about every college or university has a many different student organizations comprised of people with common interests such as: radio broadcasting, ultimate Frisbee, paintball, religious affiliations, and many more. Every semester these organization welcome new members just like you.

And just because you’ve left home doesn’t mean you can’t still stay in touch. Your parents will enjoy hearing from you. This growing experience for you will likely inspire a great deal of pride in your parents and remind them that, despite that time you brought home a leather-clad hoodlum named Spider as your boyfriend, you are the intelligent, responsible, and determined person they’ve always believed your were. Phone calls, IM, e-mails, and occasional visits are all healthy way to stay in touch with loved ones and fight homesickness. Learning how to prepare for college often means learning the right way to stay in touch with people back home.

Preparing for Emergencies

No matter how careful you are, emergencies happen. Knowing what to do when an emergency does happen, however, is one of the most valuable things you can know as you prepare for college.

Step one: Prepare for college by knowing your insurance situation. Bring your insurance card if you have one. Many insurance providers will carry students on their parents’ policy through the age of 25. That’s enough to even get you through some grad school! If your parents don’t currently have health insurance, or their policy does not cover you past 19 years of age, check with your campus health center. Many help students prepare for college by offering various discounted insurance plans that cover everything from office visits and prescriptions to more serious situations.

Step two: While you have the health center on the horn, another helpful way to prepare for college is by asking them how you can go about having your medical records forwarded to their office. In some cases, you may not be able to speak or otherwise convey important information such as allergies or existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma. Having this information on file will help campus medical providers give you the prompt and thorough medical attention you may need in an emergency situation.

Step three: While you are out picking up movies or grabbing some grub with friends, take some time to scope out any local hospitals or urgent care facilities. Accidents don’t always happen on, or close to, campus. Knowing where you can find immediate off-campus medical care for you or a friend is another great way to prepare for college.

Prepare for College by Embracing Diversity

You’ve heard the old expression, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, that statement misses the mark a little. Prepare for college by repeating this statement: “It’s what you know and who you know.” And if we are really going to get down the nitty gritty, who you know can often increase what you know. Confused yet? Read on.

Perhaps no other place embodies the melting pot mentality by embracing diversity more than a college or university. At school, you will have the opportunity to meet a diverse assortment of people from different states, countries, cultures, and religions. You will meet people with physical disabilities and different relationship preferences. Prepare for a wide array of diversity at college and the benefits of getting to know people from all walks of life.

College and university life is a place for learning. Embracing diversity in college and learning about other people who are decidedly different from you will often teach you how alike we really are. At the same time, when you prepare for college by embracing such diversity, you are giving yourself a distinct advantage in life. As the world becomes smaller, matters of business, health, education, religion, and more take on a greater immediate importance. Embracing diversity allows you to gain a greater perspective on the world we all share. Ideally, years from now, when you graduate, you should feel equally proud of who you know as you do about what you know.

Student Information to Help You Prepare for College

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This article was written by Jeff McGuire

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