Thursday, May 22, 2014

What College Profs Wish Freshmen Knew: Get Involved

As the school year winds down and hundreds of high school graduates begin to realize that they are really going to start college in just a couple of months, I am adding the last installment to my What College Profs Wish Freshmen Knew series. You can click on the link to the first in the series and then read the first five items on our faculty members' wish list: 

The final item on the wish list? Get involved.

All the faculty members at our panel discussion emphasized the importance of being involved in college life. Mrs. B. said it’s as simple as this: “You can live in your own little world or you can interact with your campus.”

This can look dramatically different from campus to campus. In our panel discussion, we ranged from a private college of a little over 1,000 students to a community college to a major university. Obviously, each institution has varying levels of opportunity for participation in campus events: but there is something in which students can be involved on every single college campus!

Research shows that students who are academically and socially connected are more likely to actually graduate from college. 

Interacting on campus has many perks: leadership opportunities, resumé-building experiences, and friendships. There are lots of opportunities that you will have in college that you can never experience again.

Ms. B. emphasized that becoming involved the first year of college can be crucial to establishing a foundation upon which further affiliations are built. Look for ways to become involved:

·      Participate in campus-wide activities. All colleges have freshmen activities that are designed to help you make connections. Don’t sit in your dorm room and wonder if you made a mistake in coming to college. Make yourself branch out and meet people.

·      Join a club, sports team, or other student organization. Maybe this is something you have been doing already, or maybe it is something completely new. College is a time to pursue new interests and opportunities.

·      Go to performances, lectures, sports events, and other activities that your college offers. You may never have the opportunity again to attend events for free or for a student discount, so take advantage of all that your college offers!

·      Look for opportunities for community service. Volunteering will help you meet not only students but also learn more about the outside community.

 Join clubs, start clubs; expand your horizons. Branch out and make new friends. Students will get more out of their college experiences if they find a balance between academics and extracurricular activities.

Parents, if you have a high school student, now is the time to start gently preparing him for college. Help her cultivate these qualities that college professors look for, and you will be providing her with a fantastic foundation for college success!

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