Sending kids off to college for the first time can result in a mix of emotions for parents who wonder what to expect the first semester. While it’s exciting to see your babies all grown up and leaving the nest to pursue their dreams, it can also be hard to let them go and not worry about their well-being.

For students who are making the transition from high school to college, it can be downright daunting, especially if their school of choice is far from home and it’s the first time they’ve lived away. The best

From High School to College: What to Expect the First Semester

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way to ensure a smooth transition from high school to college life is to prepare students for what is ahead.

Here are some ways to prepare new college students, both personally and academically, for the first semester of college.

What To Expect the First Semester Living On Campus

Get a Lay of the Land – One of the best ways to get students used to a brand new campus is to get to know it before classes start. Wander the campus and check out which buildings they will be going to for their classes, where they will be eating and where they will be living. This will make move-in day much more comfortable. See about enrolling them in a new student orientation as well where they can meet their peers and get to know the campus better.

Roommates – If your new college student is apprehensive about moving out of the house, it might be a good idea for them to room with a friend that they already know. Having a friend during the first semester of college can make all the difference for students who are in a new place and getting used to a new schedule.  For those who don’t have friends who are going to the same school, who they can room with, it might be a good idea for your student to look into group housing such as a housing cooperative, fraternity or sorority, which can give them an instant group of friends to help them make the transition.

From High School to College: What to Expect the First Semester

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Life On Their Terms – When many students start college, they discover a whole new world where you aren’t around to keep them in check. From everything from eating, to hanging out with friends, to staying up late, the new found freedoms are endless. But this can also be detrimental to students in the first semester if it’s not kept in check. Talk with your kids about the importance of keeping a normal sleeping and eating schedule during the first semester.

What to Expect in the First Semester Academically

Schedule for Success – A great way to set your student up for success in college before they set foot in the classroom is to help them set up a schedule that works to their benefit. If they have problems getting up early for school, it’s going to be a problem in college as well. Help them set their schedule so they have no excuses not to go to class.

Time Management Skills – Just like it’s important to emphasize good time management skills as it relates to your student’s living schedule, the same applies for their academic lives. Make sure they are prepared to spend more time studying then they might have in high school.

Prepare for Harder Classes – College level classes, coursework and tests are harder than at the high school level. It’s a simple fact. If your student breezed through high school getting good grades without having to try that hard, it’s going to be important to prepare them for this reality. They will likely have to put in the time to get the good grades they are used to. On the flip side, it’s likely that they will get a bad grade from time to time. Make sure they feel comfortable reaching out their professors or teacher assistants when needed to do the extra work that may be necessary to improve.

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 Kristy Hessman is a freelance writer who guest blogs at a leading provider of graduation stoles and sashes.

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From High School to College: What to Expect the First Semester

Click here to purchase book