What to Expect
Now that you’re focused on getting to the right college, what happens when you actually get there? In this section, you’ll learn what to expect at orientation, along with some tricks for registration and moving day, and finally, some ways to maximize your college experience.
Just like everything else, you’ll get more out of your college orientation if you plan ahead. Know where you’re going (in which building is the first meeting?) and make an effort to explore the campus a little to familiarize yourself with the major landmarks. Try to schedule time to meet with some key players: will your dorm roommate be at the same orientation? Do you need to consult with an Academic Adviser or visit the Financial Aid office? It may be a good idea to write down the questions you have for each to make the most of your time together.
Sign up for the maximum number of credit hours at the beginning of each semester (usually 18 credit hours), and try to attend each class for the first week or two. This should give you a good impression of what each is going to be like. Ask yourself, do you like the teacher? Is the subject material what you expected? Is the class location convenient for your schedule? Identify one or two classes that you like the least and drop them before the drop/add deadline so that you do not incur any penalties. This is a great way to avoid getting stuck in a class that’s not a good fit, while ensuring that you do not fall below the full-time status requirement (at least 12 credit hours per semester).
Moving into dorms
Clubs and activities
Most colleges offer a wide range of clubs and activities. Participating in clubs and activities is an important way to discover and grow in your interests. Involvement in your school and community exposes you to opportunities you may not know exist and allows you to benefit from contribution to academic and social environments. In your first years of college, explore and commit time and effort to activities that capture your interest. It might be a combination of a club, sport and student government, or it might be a single driving passion. By the time you are a senior, it’s likely that this involvement will have made a significant contribution to your self-discovery and opened doors to future opportunities.
Internships are a terrific way to get experience and “get a feel” for a particular subject or line of work that you have a passion or interest in. You can learn a lot about a field, and gain valuable real world experience by working alongside experienced professionals as mentors. Doing an internship can demonstrate that you are actively pursuing your interests and have experience in the workplace.
Although some internships are paid positions, you may need to accept minimal compensation or an unpaid position to gain experiences that allow for exposure to real work environments in a field of your choice, confirmation of your interest, and a chance to work with a mentor.Often students find internships through their colleges, but parents, family friends, or neighbors could all be potential resources so tell everyone you know what you are looking for. Stop in at local companies and ask if they need any additional summer help. Unpaid internships might also be available at a local community organization or non-profit. If your interest includes government or you want to hone your organizational skills, offer to contribute your time to a campaign effort.