College advice for first-timers

First-time college students and parents of first-time college students can get quite stressed when thinking of all the changes that are going to take place. As a recent college grad, I have some tips to help get you through this transitional time.

First-time college students and parents of first-time college students can get quite stressed when thinking of all the changes that are going to take place. As a recent college grad, I have some tips to help get you through this transitional time.

My advice for students

1. Take notes. Whether or not you did this in high school, it is essential in college. It’s necessary to take notes in class, and it’s very helpful to take notes of what assignments you need to do and when must be finished.

2. Have fun. While college is a lot about classes and learning, it also is a time to find yourself. Make sure to have some fun and enjoy your campus while in college.

3. Be prepared. I’m not talking just about books, pens, calculators and notebooks. Remember to bring an umbrella for rainy days. And don’t forget to bring dress clothes for presentations, career interview days and other important events.

4. Show up on time. Being prompt is a good thing to get used to. Walking in late to class disrupts the professor and other students, and it’s a bad habit to get into.

5. Think about your future! Get involved with campus organizations and clubs that are geared toward your future success. Try to get internships, and think about getting a job to try to help pay your tuition as you go.

My advice for parents:

1. Check in … but keep your distance. This may be the first time your child has to be responsible for him- or herself. Make sure that your child isn’t too stressed or homesick. But don’t involve yourself too much in your child’s business.

2. Don’t hound your children. “Hover parents” are not what college students want to deal with. If you continuously get on your child’s case about getting projects done or getting a job, your child most likely will get mad and stressed.

3. Help them with the financial aid process. When your child is applying for college, let him or her know if you will be contributing for tuition. If not, let him know about financial aid and the FAFSA process. To qualify for financial aid, students will need your tax information along with theirs.

4. If your child is living at home, make sure to give him or her enough space and quiet time. Studying and working on projects require focus.

5. If your student is living on campus, prepare him or her for living with a roommate. This may be the first time your child is living in close quarters with someone else. Teach your child how to pick up after him- or herself, and how to wake up without the help of mom or dad or 15 snooze alarms. Also, make sure your child knows how to do laundry.