Your College Survival Guide
When you see the term “survival guide,” do you think about an instruction manual for how to live in the wilderness or how to avoid getting mauled by a bear? While college isn’t quite so dangerous, it is still an adjustment. You’re in a new environment with new people and new freedom, and that requires some preparation.
If you’re a senior in high school wondering what it takes to survive (and thrive!) in college, read on for some practical advice about how to prepare for the big transition that’s ahead of you.
Practice “Adulting” Skills
In college, you’ll have to do your own laundry, manage your time wisely, make sure you’re eating healthy foods, and know your class schedule inside and out. Do you have a firm grasp on these things now? If not, are you slowly preparing to do them on your own? You don’t have to jump in and take up all of these areas of growth at once. Start with some baby steps.
If you’re unsure of how to do a load of laundry, ask your parents for some pointers. If you’re not used to managing your own schedule, talk it through with a close mentor and take notes on what they’ve found helpful. You can practice these skills by helping out with laundry, creating a daily schedule, testing out some healthy snacks, and finding the best ways to de-stress. By the time the fall rolls around, you’ll be an old pro!
Engage in Mentorship
Going away to college means independence, but it also means you’ll have new opportunities to be poured into by professors and student leaders. We cannot stress enough how important it is to take advantage of these opportunities! It might just be the most important tip in the college survival guide. That’s why we’ve built these types of relationships into our first-year curriculum at Grace.
All of our students are assigned a “student mentor” to help make your transition to college as smooth as possible. Your student mentor will be there for you to provide academic and emotional support as you get used to life in college. You can go to your student mentor with any question that arises – be it about homesickness, campus dining, student activities, financial aid. They might not know all of the answers, but they can help point you to people who do! Consider your student mentor a guide to all things related to your college survival.
Build a Strong Social Network
Beyond finding a mentor in college, it’s important to develop a well-rounded network of support. Remember, going to college doesn’t mean that you need to leave all your friends and family behind. Be intentional about staying connected! It can be as simple as checking in over text or scheduling a zoom call. While you keep in touch with those you love back home, it’s also very important to branch out and expand your existing network.
Here at Grace, we offer a wide-variety of events designed to help you build a social network on campus. Our Student Activities Board (SAB) hosts events such as Cookies and Canvas, Freshman/Sophomore Dessert, Junior/Senior Banquet, and Homecoming to help you get to know other students. Networking opportunities extend beyond our campus as well. We value giving each student the opportunity for intentional field experience through our major-specific internships where you can get connected with local employers. The Center for Career Connections also hosts an annual Career Fair where students are can interact with potential employers in the Warsaw/Winona Lake area.
Networking in college is different than what most high schoolers are used to. For your college survival, we suggest you start working on making connections with new people around you now so that you are in the groove when college comes around.
Have a Financial Plan
To ensure your college survival, it’s important to consider finances. Look at your college’s website to find their tuition costs for classes, residence halls, and dining. Discuss with your parents how much they are willing to contribute to your education. Once you have those numbers as well as your intended contribution, it’s time to look for scholarships. Your FAFSA provides a list of loans you are eligible for, as well as a plan to help you pay back your loans. You should also look for scholarship competitions provided at the college you want to attend.
But budgeting doesn’t stop there. For your college survival, you’ll want to determine how you’ll handle your personal finances before you arrive on campus. Give yourself some spending money to enjoy at college, but stick to a budget so you’re able to keep up with your school payments and tackle student loans.
Like our other college survival tips – you can start today! Download a budgeting app and start tracking your spending. Your college self will thank you.
This college survival guide is just the beginning. Our admissions counselors want to help you as you transition from high school to college. Learn more about them, and find out which admissions counselor is yours!
Are you ready to take the next step in the admissions process at Grace? Find what’s next for you by reading this blog.