College Preparation 101: The Dos and Don’ts of Starting A New College

by Chad Agrawal

College preparation can be a time of great excitement and nervousness. Starting college, students are faced with both the fear of the unknown and an eagerness to start their educational journey. While a student needs to consider the usual college preparations such as shopping for dorm room and school supplies, he or she must also prepare for the challenges of college life. Living independently from home is one thing, but doing it while focusing on getting an education is another. Based on the development of the teen brain, most college students, especially Freshmen, will struggle with the stressors of daily college life. Here are some Dos and Don’ts of starting college that can help.


• Learn how to do laundry! Rather than sending it home, students must learn how to do their own laundry, since this is a basic survival skill that fosters self-sufficiency. Additionally, many students make extra money doing laundry for other students.

• Learn how to say no. A student needs to learn time management and self-regulation. By learning to say no judiciously, the student learns to prioritize; a skill that many adults lack.

• Leave the comfort zone. This is the time to explore things that are unfamiliar, such as making friends with someone of a different culture or eating a new kind of food.

• Follow the campus blog, Twitter and Facebook page. This will help the student keep informed and connected to the school’s social environment.

• Find out where the counseling and tutoring centers are. Students should go to these as soon as they think they need help. Sooner is always better than later.


• Procrastinate. Although some stress can be motivating or even energizing, the stress from procrastination is not healthy. Many adolescents take this high school habit with them to college. In college they have no one present to keep them accountable but themselves, which causes internal conflict and then paralysis.

• Say yes to everything. Starting college can be exhilarating, and the novelty of it can make a student want to join everything posted on the message board.

• Go home every weekend. It is very tempting for the student who is on a campus within driving distance to want to go home every weekend, especially when a girlfriend or a boyfriend is left behind. College can be a time of great internal struggle, but he or she must resist this urge in order to grow a strong and healthy independence. Staying on campus for the weekend allows the student to socialize and connect with others

• Forget that freedom is not free. In college, students become faced with the long-term reality of choices made in the moment. Many students still lack the biological and emotional development to think of the results of their decisions, whether it is drinking, unprotected sex or simply choosing time on Facebook rather than study for an exam.

Students should never forget that their community college or university wants to see them succeed. If a student is struggling with an issue, whether it is emotional, financial, social or academic, the offices at school are there for support. Students should stay in touch with their parents and communicate whatever needs they have as well as the positive things happening in their lives at community college or university. Both the school and the family should be sources of encouragement and guidance and students should feel free to rely on them. Knowing that they have these can make a profound difference in the first year of college for many students at a freshman or community college transfer to university.

About The Author

This article was penned by Karl Stockton for the team at PETAP.

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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