One year ago I was starting my first semester at Rutgers. I was nervous yet excited about the classes, dorming, and my college experience overall. The transition from high school to college was filled with many expectations and fears. From an academic standpoint, the idea of having exams be worth 20% of your entire grade and lectures with over 100 students can be overwhelming and intimidating at first. However, with the proper preparations you will be able to smoothly transition from high school to college courses and overcome any fears.
Staying organized is one of the easiest ways to have an immediate impact on your academic success. I personally like to keep a binder for each class with my notes, homework solutions, syllabus, and other resources inside. This makes it easy to reference course guidelines and material quickly and efficiently. It is important to find an organization method that works best for you and that compliments with how you learn best.
The transition is different for everyone so it is important to ask for help when needed. Your professors and your classmates will be some of your best resources when it comes to transitioning successfully academically. Attending office hours helped me tremendously in my first semester of classes and I highly recommend this to any incoming freshman. By attending office hours you are able to get your questions answered, obtain additional practice problems, and establish a relationship with your professors. Furthermore, your peers are taking the same classes and are likely facing the same challenges and difficulties that you are. By working through problem sets together or creating study groups you will be able to see how others solve the problems and learn from their solutions and studying techniques.
My final piece of advice for a successful academic transition is time management. By blocking out specific times for classes, studying, clubs, and personal time you will be able to efficiently utilize your time. This is another strategy that varies from person to person, so choose what method works best for you. Maybe you schedule using Google calendar, a planner, or another method but it is critical that you tailor it to your needs. Scheduling ahead also makes it easier to stay on top of all your responsibilities. By putting your syllabus into a calendar you will be able to see when you have a busy week in advance and complete those assignments ahead of time.
Overall the transition from high school to college can be made a lot easier by following these simple tips. The best advice I received as a freshman was to utilize the resources around you and to not be afraid to ask for help. I hope that these tips will help make your transition more seamless and I wish you the best of luck as you start your academic career here at Rutgers.