An Open Letter To A Future College Student

An open letter to college freshman tips and advice

Dear Future College Student, 

You don’t know it yet, but your greatest life adventure is about to begin. You’ll walk into this wide eyed and ready to see what is in store for you, and walk out with an expanded knowledge and a full heart. 

College is an amazing and unforgettable time where you will grow in ways you never knew was possible or needed. You’re about to meet new friends, professors, and peers that will shape your experience while you are there. Those friends are going to get you through your four years at school. They’ll be there to study with you, grab a quick lunch with you, and yes, even invite you to a party or two. 

Your relationship with your professors may surprise you. Some professors will be cold, distant, and simply read off of their presentation slides. While other professors will take you in, teach you, mentor you, and send you off into the world with a newfound knowledge and love for their subject area. Maybe even with a letter of recommendation as well! 

Your campus is big and daunting and you will probably get lost… often. But by the end of your time walking these sidewalks and hallways, you’ll know this entire place inside and out. Because it won’t just be a college campus to you, it’ll be your home. It’ll be where you spend hours at the library nailing down equations and studying for that big mid-term you have coming up. The multiple food stops on campus will be where you stopped for a morning bagel on your way to biology class because you didn’t have time to grab food out of your own kitchen in a rush to get to class. 

The basketball, football, and hockey games you attend will become a bigger part of your college experience that you never realized you needed. The comradery of a whole school chanting and cheering together all for the same team will bring everyone closer than ever before. 

Four years at college isn’t just walking onto a campus and walking away four years later with your degree in hand. It’s the environment, the parties, the friends you make, the events you attend, the professors you meet, and so, so much more. 

So listen up, future college student. This is where your greatest life adventure begins. This is where some of your best memories and learning moments will happen. Take it all in, and enjoy it. The saying is cliche for a reason, but it truly will go faster than you expect it too, and you’ll be sad once it’s over. 

You’ve got this. 

You Don’t Have To Dread The Waitlist!

The dreaded college class waitlist! You try to perfectly plan your college classes, even judging your next class based on the distance and time it takes to get from building to building to ensure you have enough time and won’t be late. But then… the worst thing happens. The class is full and you’re left… on the waitlist. 

The waitlist can be so daunting, because it’s never going to tell you if you’re going to get in or not. There are people who are very first on the waitlist for a class and never get in. And then you have people 20th in line on the waitlist that can get in by the first day. Being placed on the waitlist comes with the fear of the unknown, which can be scary. But no need to fear, here are some tips for the waitlist! 

  1. Know your dates. Oftentimes there is a deadline for enrolling in the class, typically a week or two after classes have started. Know these dates and have them noted somewhere so you can be prepared and they don’t sneak up on you. 
  2. Sit in the front of the classroom, where the professor can see you. 
  3. Be on time, if not early, for class. Take good notes and be attentive. 
  4. Talk with your professor before or after class. Let them know you are a student on the waitlist and that you would love to be in their class. If it feels appropriate, you can even try to email them.

The goal is to prove that you want to be in the class and that you will put in the time and work to be there. Professors can’t always bend the rules, especially if it comes to the amount of seats in their classroom or the fire code rules, but they may be able to change things here and there for you to get you into their class. 

Do you have any other waitlist tips you can share? Comment them below! 

It’s Graduation Day! Some Tips And Things To Bring

Graduation day is coming! Seniors, buckle up! This is your moment. First, take a look at this letter to the graduating class of 2020. All of it applies to you, too. 

Now let’s talk about what you need ON graduation day. It can be a really exciting day! Let’s make sure you don’t forget anything. 

  • First, make sure you talk with your school or organization before graduation day to know if they provide the cap and gown or if you need to. Look into what color of gown, cord, or stole that you need. 
  • Double-check the night before the event on where you are supposed to meet up before the ceremony, and that you know how to get there. Especially for those participating in college graduation.
  • Use the bathroom one last time before the ceremony. 
  • Take a lot of pictures, you’ll never want to forget this day. However, make sure those batteries are charged on your phone, camera, or any other electronic device you bring. 
  • Wear your semi-formal clothes under your gown, but keep in mind that everything on you must fit into your pockets, you won’t have a bag to tote with you, so keep your items at a minimum and try to wear an outfit that includes pockets, if possible. 
  • Sunscreen! This can be so easily overlooked, but a lot of spring graduation ceremonies happen outside. Even on a cloudy day, you can sunburn. 

Graduation day is a day to be celebrated! Pose for the pictures and allow yourself plenty of time in the limelight. You deserve it, after all! 

Your Guide To College Housing

High school seniors! Let’s talk about one thing that may be bringing you stress right now, housing! It can be hard to choose college housing because of all of the different types and pros and cons. Here is a general, quick guide that may be able to help you learn more and make an informed decision. 

The different types of housing in college: 

Dorms 

Resident Halls 

Sorority/ Fraternity 

Off-campus housing

Living at home 

On-campus: Some pros and cons, closer to classes. The great social aspect. Can have more rules for your living situation (smoking, alcohol, pets). Easier to know what’s happening at the school. There are different types of on-campus housing, which include dorms, resident halls, and sorority/ fraternity houses. 

Dorms are on-campus housing that can differ drastically in amenities/layout. Some dorms are strictly a room you sleep in with a community bathroom, laundry, and rec room space. It’s also required to sign up for a meal plan pass to eat at the dining halls since you do not have a kitchen in your dorm room. If you are looking for a great social aspect in college, this is it! 

Resident Halls are on-campus housing and typically have a more “apartment” set up. They have the rooms, bathrooms, living area, and kitchen all in the same apartment that you share with other roommates. 

Sorority/ Fraternity: These are places that can have housing available, but you must be a part of the sorority or fraternity to live in their housing. If you are looking for a social place to live and a way to be involved with your school, this a fantastic option! They can be on the spendier side though. 

Off-campus housing: You can also find housing off-campus in apartments, shared houses, and more. Off-campus housing is typically further from campus and may require a parking pass so you can park on campus because it is not close enough to walk. Or you may have to look into public transportation to get to campus. There may also be fewer rules in your housing because it is not endorsed by the school you are attending. 

Living at home: If you are attending school in or near your home town, living with your parents is an option, too! It would likely require a commute to school and could possibly have an effect on the social aspect of school. However, it could save a lot of money!

Some schools may have other housing options, but typically these are the main ones you can find on your campus. You can also make the decision of whether or not to live with friends, move in with strangers, or try to find a program that matches you with others in your field of study. 

There are so many options when it comes to college housing, as well as a long list of pros and cons when it comes to different places. What type of housing have you chosen or did choose in college and how did you come to that decision? 

What Is The Purpose Of Higher Education?

We’ve covered on our blog that there are multiple forms of higher education. But I think it might be important to take a step back and ask the question- but what is the purpose of higher education? 

Looking at a broad, overall answer, the point of obtaining a higher education beyond high school is to gain the knowledge needed for a profession. It gives you a specialized field of study that later you can boast to potential employers. But, there is also a long list of other reasons we as humans work hard to obtain a higher education. They are (but not limited to): 

The social skills that inadvertently come with being in a school setting.

Networking with professors, potential future employers, and peers. 

Proving that you can work hard and achieve something that takes hard work.

It helps you meet the needs of your own self-fulfillment, giving you a higher purpose in life.  

Learning critical thinking skills, how to adapt to different situations, work with others, and gives you emotional intelligence and resilience. 

Studies show that individuals that have attended higher education courses tend to make healthier decisions in their lives. 

Other studies have shown that those that have achieved a degree in higher education show more success in their careers. There are less unemployment and job loss. 

There are plenty of reasons to obtain higher education from the institution of your choice. Not only are you studying a field that you want to pursue a career in, but you are also gaining relationships, networking, and meeting some of your most basic self-fulfillment needs. 

A Guide To Buying College Textbooks

Textbooks in college- what’s the deal with them? You’ll find such differing opinions when it comes to textbooks in college. Some will say you absolutely need them, others will say don’t bother buying them. Here’s a quick rundown on college textbooks and the different options you have! 

My first piece of advice is to wait until the second or third week of school to buy textbooks, if possible. This way you’ll know for sure that you’ll not only stay in the class, but you can also get a feel for whether or not you need the textbook. Take a look through all of your syllabi and see which assignments you’ll need the book for. Once you’ve weeded out your classes to know which you’re staying in and which you’re dropping, and know if you need the textbooks or not, you’ll have a better idea of how to obtain them. 

There are different types of textbooks you can find at a school: 

Regular books that you can purchase anywhere.

Books specific to the school, but can be used for general classes, even if taught by different professors. Typically these are only found in the school’s bookstore. 

Textbooks written by the professor specifically for that class only. These typically are a more “workbook” or interactive textbook, and only found new in the bookstore. 

E-books for all of the above, if available.

Person Holding Stack of Books

The different ways to purchase them: 

New and from the bookstore (typically the most expensive way to buy books)

Used and from the bookstore (saves money, but there are also cheaper ways) 

Rented, either from the bookstore if they allow this option, or from a service such as Chegg, Thriftbooks, or Knetbooks. 

Purchase used from Amazon, other textbook online services, or on local classified pages. Many colleges will have a Facebook page to buy/sell textbooks, too. 

Using the school bookstore isn’t the end-all for buying college textbooks! Look online to find books where you can. There are so many companies out there that realize how expensive college is and want to cut you a deal where they can. Look into these companies! 

A few other tips:

Try to rent or buy used when you can. It saves money, and saves the environment! Win, win.

If it’s a class that is specific to your field of study and seems like one you may want to reference later in life, try to buy it used instead of renting so you don’t have to return it later. 

Another great way to save money is to split the cost of a textbook with a friend or roommate that is attending the same class as you,  as long as it can easily work out for both of you to use it for readings and assignments. 

There are specific scholarships out there too that will fund your textbook needs. Search for those and apply. Other scholarships can go towards any school expenses, also including textbooks. 

Textbooks don’t have to break you financially! There are ways to save money and be smart financially if you’re willing to put in a little time and research. 

What is your favorite way to find textbooks? 

There’s More To Higher Education Than A University

So you’re looking at schools now that graduation is getting closer, and you have a list of universities for undergrad in mind. Universities are fantastic and absolutely a worthwhile investment. However, a four-year university is not the end-all answer when it comes to higher education. There are other options out there that are just as great, maybe even better than a four-year university. Let’s look at some of them! 

A trade school is a great answer for anyone wanting to look into a very specific, niched-down career such as electrician, plumber, or nurse. 

A community college is another option. Typically attendees of a community college come from the town, or outlying towns, it resides in. This is a great option to stay close to home, save money, and still obtain an education! Most community colleges will only have a 2-year associate’s option, however, some can partner with bigger universities nearby to give students the option of a bachelor’s degree. 

Online school is also a great way to go through school. This can either be done through a typical university or community college, or through an online-only school. 

You can also look into private schools for religion or military. 

A university isn’t the only option! You don’t have to be attending Yale or Harvard to find success in your higher education studies. 

What type of school did you choose to attend?