College freshmen everywhere are adjusting to their new found freedom and independence, while learning what it’s like to do their own laundry. Now, obviously, this is not your student’s average year and they are not the average student. Since their class is the first to enter this phase of life during the Coronavirus pandemic, it is safe to assume life on campus bears little resemblance to the experience they had hoped for. Lucky them, right? Unfortunately, until this situation changes and normalcy returns we are all in this together. We, at Academic Coaching Specialists, truly want your student to survive and thrive in this new world as a college freshman; thus, we have assembled this list of tips on how to have a successful year during this crazy time of uncertainty.
- 1. Bonding with roommates
It is important for your student to feel like they are not alone. Encourage them to compare schedules with roommates and friends. Check the campus website for safe and socially distant activities they can partake in together. Maybe even start a game night zoom meeting to break the ice with their fellow freshman.
- 2. Get organized
Freedom and independence can sometimes get the best of your student. They will learn a lot about themselves in this first year, figuring out what works for them and what doesn’t. Becoming independent isn’t just about doing whatever they want; they will need to find their own style of organization and navigate their version of responsibility.
- 3. Find a place to study
Everyone studies differently. For some it may include finding a very quiet spot in the library with an endless array of colored pens and a giant cup of coffee. Others may be less distracted by hunkering down in their dorm room, with music on in the background. There is no right or wrong here, the key is finding a place where focus can be achieved and work accomplished as efficiently as possible.
- 4. Go to class and set goals
Get after it! Even during Coronavirus it is so easy to get distracted by the trimmings of campus life and fall behind on schoolwork. Setting goals will help. Encourage your student to stay above a certain GPA and avoid the temptation of skipping classes, virtual or not. Accountability is a part of this newfound responsibility they are working on so diligently.
5. Get a planner
- This might seem trivial but it really is a huge help. You as a parent aren’t there to remind them anymore. Whether it be the classic pen and paper version or an app on their phone, the use of a planner will keep them organized so they don’t miss an assignment, forget about an upcoming quiz or even help plan time for social events.
6. Professor introductions
Confidence is respected from professors and fellow students alike. Building a rapport can help in several ways, for instance it could lead to recommendations and internships down the road. If a class in question is strictly virtual your student can construct a nicely worded email to the same effect.
- 7. Get to know their academic advisor
An academic advisor can make your student’s life easier. They sign off on all student class changes, which could be very beneficial for a student with scheduling conflicts. An advisor is also able to provide advice on the different teaching styles of your student’s core curriculum professors and even offer guidance on major/minor selection. They are a wonderful resource to have.
- 8. Balance
With the current social climate, the balancing act of a social life versus schoolwork might come a little easier for this freshman class than in prior years, but there will still be conflict. Your student will discover what they are capable of handling through a little trial and error. As fun as college is, their studies should come first. Their aforementioned agenda will come in handy for this one!
- 9. Get involved
Getting involved on campus helps students find their place and their home. Naturally, this is easier said than done with social distancing restrictions, however, many schools are still holding their campus wide events online. Also, smaller gatherings and clubs might have mask mandates and added sanitation procedures but that doesn’t take away from their value. College is about getting outside of your comfort zone and connecting; there is something out there for everyone. Encourage your student to check bulletin boards, the school’s social media pages, or the campus intranet to discover what their school has to offer.
- 10. Seek resources and consider working with an Academic Coach
College is overwhelming on many levels, and with everything that is going on around the world right now it would not be unheard of for a student to be falling behind. An academic coach could be a game changer. After a “coach-ability assessment” a coach is selected whose background and style would best suit your student’s needs. Their strengths and growth opportunities are evaluated and a plan is devised to maximize their success in all areas.
It goes without saying that this has not been an easy year for anyone. The coaches here at Academic Coaching Specialists know that this is a time of tremendous stress and uncertainty. Please know that you and your student are not alone. College can still be the best years of your on or daughter’s life and we want to help keep them on track and pave a path to graduation. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one less thing to worry about? We want to take the stress out of the college experience and allow them time to form those lifelong, enduring connections, not to mention, ample time for laundry practice.