College freshmen get started
May 13, 2008
Students entering college next year should plan to do more than bring cheez whiz to campus this fall.
Regardless of the university a student plans to attend, he or she is likely to find a bewildering number of choices for majors and an equally large pile of paper work and requirements for orientation. Leslie Park, a student advisor at the University of Utah, said that students admitted to the U can meet with advisors now in preparation for the next school year.
Most four-year universities introduce incoming students to their chosen college during the summer preceding their first year. At Utah State, students are actually offered two sets of orientation. An initial orientation is scheduled early in the summer, and another closer to the first day of instruction. Some schools now also offer retreat-type orientations in wilderness settings that allow students to bond and prepare for college.
Incoming students should also consider joining committees and clubs on campus during the summer and orientation. These clubs allow students to make social connections and find purposes on campus before they even enroll in their first classes. "Involvement of any sort makes a difference," said Hancock.
Social life aside, students should also prepare to choose a course of study. According to Park, a substantial piece of that puzzle involves obtaining a catalogue and actually reading it. When students familiarize themselves with the vast multitude of options, they can better prepare themselves for school, and, hopefully, a career.
If a student can’t decide on a course of study, it is possible to take advantage of required classes as a means of wading through the options. These general-education classes can be used as previews of possible majors. A student can enroll only in the general education classes for at least a semester, sometimes more, before choosing a major.
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Ultimately, Park said, that students tend to gravitate towards the subjects that interest them most. She added that most students, as research proves, are more likely to succeed when their course of study intersects with their personal passion. Many people, even if they delay their interests in favor of a career-oriented course of study, find that they return to school later in life to finally study their love.
Both advisors suggest that an admitted student begin to take advantage of their university’s amenities and programs immediately. If a student cannot visit an advisor, at least he or she can make the time to visit all the related Websites. Hancock also suggested that students start saving money, as costs will definitely add up once they reach college. "You need your parking pass and you need your shower shoes," said Lisa Hancock. That aside, the key to succeeding is "just for them to be really excited about coming to college."