How to Prepare Yourself for Your First Year of College

The transition from secondary school to college can be both daunting and exciting for students. There is no doubt that it is a big change from school: new friends, new places and a new approach to learning. You are now expected to take responsibility over your own eduction and attendance. Listed below are some top tips which will help you to navigate this new phase of life.


1. Show up to your classes

While this one may sound obvious, it can be easy to get caught up in everything else college life has to offer and forget to attend all you lectures and tutorials. It is important to build the habit and prioritise your classes from day-one, otherwise, you run the risk of falling behind. Make sure to balance your studies with your social life to get the most out of the experience. There is no doubt that the most successful students put their lectures and college work first.


2. Manage your time carefully

You might find that your college timetable is very different to the one you had in school. Maybe you have very few contact hours, a long commute, a part time job to consider or cooking and cleaning to think about if you have moved out of home. Whatever the case may be, managing your time effectively is essential. Writing out a schedule every sunday evening will help you keep track of your work and social events. It can also be helpful to time block your day each morning if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. This involves setting aside a certain amount of time to work on a task, assignment ot study. Find a system that works best for you and you will be thanking yourself later.


3. Step out of your comfort zone

There’s a good chance that your college will be holding a clubs and societies day. This is your chance to try something new or joining a college team. Joining a society is a wonderful way to meet people and make friends in this new environment. There may also be opportunities to go on mystery tours, take part in charity events, meet up with students in other colleges or even go on a trip abroad with your club or society. Whether you are joining a society for networking purposes, to make an impact somehow or just to have fun, it will no doubt be great for your CV and for improving your communication and organisational skills.

3. Take great care not to plagiarise

Plagiarism is one of the most common issues first-year students face. It is a brand new concept and way of writing. Getting to grips with your college’s referencing guide is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for the years ahead. If you familiarise yourself with it within the first few weeks you’ll soon find that you don’t have to think about it much at all. It is important to attend any classes or workshops that may help you get up to speed with it. Avoid any temptation to buy or copy an essay online as there are heavy sanctions for those that get caught doing so. New technology such as means essays are automatically scanned for plagiarism so there is no room for cheating. Any time you include someone else’s idea or argument you must credit them in your references and bibliography. 

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