This post is one of a series to help you properly prepare for college productively! Whether your already accepted and getting ready to leave, or a in high school, wondering what your future should/would be. This series is for you. Being well-prepared for college says everything about success.

It’s now August. The start of the school year is coming up. These past couple years have been quite interesting for all of us, but now you start a new chapter. There is still some uncertainty, but the more prepared you are, the better you become. This could very well be the start to the rest of your life…

The act of being a college student is stressful enough. Whether you are staying home, attending, or leaving, going to college is truly one of the most amazing experiences that your life will experience. I remember it like it was yesterday, but I wish I was better prepared for some things. College is great because it allows you to make mistakes and learn so much from the corrections of those mistakes.

But, let’s not let that happen here.

Whether you’re attending a two-year, four-year, trade school or any other form of higher education…post high school, these are the top 10 things you really should remember, do and consider as a college student.

Be ready before classes start.

Heading to college from high school can be a tough and much different transition for students, and this year especially as a freshman, you are faced with post-pandemic changes and adjustments. For those of you stressing over this new chapter and change, following these tips will help you to prepare better. Understanding your course load and schedule is one of them. Review your schedule, and everything involved with it. Locations, professors, requirements, etc. Building a wealth of knowledge for these will ease so much of your stress the very first day.

Add your college website to your favorites list.

Develop a habit of visiting your colleges website. This is your most precious commodity. Right now, as your awaiting the first day, you can find just about anything on the website of the college your attending. Getting a better feel for the school’s culture through its website as well as all the resources available to you.

Learn how to read.

Not literally here. I’m sure you can read, lol. The one thing that surprised me in college was the amount of reading required and expected in college. There is a substantial amount of reading in college than you had in high school. Be ready and start now. If you are not disciplined enough for this, then practice. It will help you tremendously in college. There is no easy way out. You have to do this yourself. Becoming a more disciplined reader before you start will make things much easier for you.

Research possible college majors.

You may already have this figured out, but life changes. Better to be prepared now and learn what different degrees are offered. In the event that you change your mind, you have an idea of where your next journey may be. More importantly, once you start taking classes that directly reflect your future career, you may then realize…this isn’t for you! Researching all majors that interest you, or that pique your skills is the best way to prepare and know. You may thin you know what you want to do, but without learning more about all majors available, you limit your possibilities.

Polish your social, people and soft skills.

College will almost force you to do this. Your ability to convey ideas clearly and work collaboratively with others is a mainstay in college. It will truly serve you well to develop and polish out your social skills, aka soft skills. Most especially in college, you will find yourself working closely and more frequently with people of all backgrounds and life experiences. Once you can establish some great social skills, get used to working with people and communicating in a way that is both positive and progressive, then the deeper work begins. Developing some great soft skills that will help you to lead people, solve problems, make decisions better, and much more socially able. These skills are serious qualities that employers look for, even before requiring certain hard skills for a job. If you can’t communicate in word, or written, then you can’t get hired. If this will be a challenge for you, then consider looking into tutoring or classes that the college may offer that can help you. I am pretty darn positive that every college offers this.

Embrace time-management.

Yes, it is a thing. You have to do it. Some of you may be well versed in this topic. If you are, move on to the next piece of advice. You’re good. For those of you on the other end of the spectrum, you need to learn this. It is not hard to understand the concept of time management, but college requires it,. There is so much required, and so much you want to do that managing your time effectively is important. Balancing the academic and social demands of college can be tough for even the most diligent student. Additionally, check out any time-management tools or apps that are now available to0 you to help you in this.

Weigh getting a job freshman year.

College is expensive, and costs go beyond tuition, room and board and fees. Day-to-day expenses make up a significant chunk of your expenses. You’re involved and doing more, costs can add up. A part-time job can alleviate this financial stress, but also take time away from classes. Be smart when it comes to spending money. The older you get, the more you spend. Trust me. You have different needs and requirements in college, whether your living at home or on campus.

Know how to stay safe on campus.

No matter what your situation is, whether you’re living in town or away, safety should always be a #1 priority. Be smart, cautious and aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, we all hear news about some crazy stuff happening. You are not immune to this! Just know where you are always, make sure someone knows, carry your phone always, hide things, pay attention, carry mace. pepper spray, a gun, whatever your choice is, know that you should always protect and guard yourself. Be on guard and on the ready.

Contact professors before classes start.

I know, in high school, this may have been weird. You’d be called a nerd or teachers pet but in college, oh it matters so much. As a professor myself, it’s not about the attention from students or the discipline of keeping in touch with their instructor, but about the level of attention and respect you have for the course. That goes a long way for a college professor/instructor. Get to know them. All of them. I am quite certain it will pay well for you in the end. Just keep in touch with them. Let them know you’re there and interested.

Make the most of orientation activities.

Depending on your school, most orientation sessions and activities. This is an excellent way for you to merely find out everything there is offered at your school. This is a way to meet other students as well. Everyone there is looking to do the same thing. Get as acclimated as you can. The more questions you ask, the better off you are. Most schools offer first-year experience courses or other programs. Take advantage of those.

Research ways to get involved.

College was truly the best years of my life. One of the reasons I do what I do now. I owe it to Eastern Illinois University and all that it offered us students to do. One of my memorable experiences I had was my involvement in campus activities and other extra-curricular involvement programs. Get involved. Find out what is available as most schools offer such a wide variety of extra-curricular things you can do. No matter the type of person you are, I bet you will find something to connect with. But, you won’t know until you look.

Know where to go for academic help.

It’s what schools do. Offering all kinds of academic help is all over and what they truly do the best. When seeking help, ask any advisor that you work with, and then go to your professor. They can provide you with resources for this. There are offices solely dedicated to helping students in their academic life.

Hone Your Study Skills

Get this together. In college, you can’t afford to push it off, or do just the very least bit of homework, reading or general studying. College does not put up with that much. Your grades will reflect that and this is your chance to give an impression to future employers of not only being career-driven, but academically successful. Having strong, more stringent study skills will set you off throughout college and make things somewhat easier. I have done it where I would put it off and study as I went. No reading ahead or glancing at my syllabus throughout the semester. This did not work, no matter the class. You’ve got to stay on top of it. So find what best fits you. What can get your study juices flowing and stick with it.

Your future is now yours. One of the most difficult decisions you will make, start now. Be on the ready and don’t just settle.

Your Success is my Success,


Career Counselor

A Better Version Career Counseling