The summer between high school graduation and the first day of college is important not only in preparing for Freshman year, but also for a student’s entire career at their college. While things may change once they arrive at college, students can take steps during the summer to make sure that they stay on a path to arrive, adjust and graduate in a timely manner.
Student orientation is the key to this preparation, allowing students to set their plans for success at their new school. Before attending orientation, students can arm themselves with the following questions to not only get the most out of orientation information, but develop the tools to thrive.
Q: How can a student apply credits to their degree?
Many students arrive at college, having taken AP exams or courses for college credit during high school, or are transferring units from classes at community colleges. Orientation is a great time to find out how to best deal with a student or academic advisor to turn those credits from other schools into units for program prerequisites at the new school.
Q: How does a student know what’s required for graduation?
One of the most valuable resources for any new college student is a course catalog. Not only does it list the classes required for each major, but also lists graduation requirements for the student’s freshman year. While course requirements may change during a student’s college career, most schools ensure students are able to graduate based on the requirements in place their freshman year. Students who hold on to the catalog from their first year of school will be better prepared in case they need that documentation.
Q: How can students plan a challenging, but efficient course load?
Once a student has an idea of the requirements in their major, a good game plan will help make the most of each term’s classes. Some courses required for a major may satisfy general requirements at the same time, while certain prerequisites might not be offered every term and need to be taken sooner rather than later. By balancing a course load between easy lower-level classes and more challenging upper-level classes, students will be less likely to burn out in later years.
Q: Who can provide students on course loads and their progression in their major?
Most schools require students to meet with academic advisors before registering for classes each semester. Students who get to know their advisor early on, and establish good communication with them, will benefit throughout the term, not just at the start of the semester when advisors will be serving multiple students. Students should try to find out the name of their advisor and meet with them during orientation if possible, to start the relationship during a time where deadlines and semester schedules won’t have an effect on planning.