School is starting in the next couple of weeks. My brother is going to be a senior in high school and as he looks at and applies for different colleges, I've thought a lot about things I wish I would have known going into college. There are many things I know now that would have really helped me. To save other people from making the mistakes I did, I decided to share six things I wish I would have known when starting out in college.
There are many options for different colleges. At the time I didn't care what college I went to and just chose the same one my friends were going to. I ended up not liking the college and transferred my sophomore year. My advice for looking at colleges would be to look at several and actually visit the colleges and go on a college tour. Also, make sure you look at what each one offers, such as price and whether or not it has a good program for what you want to study. The school I ended up transferring to was a lot cheaper and had a way better journalism and communications program than my other school did. Also, something I wish I would have done was go to a less expensive community college for two years to get my general credits out of the way and then transfer to a university for my main classes. It would have saved me tons of money.
Text books are so expensive. When I first started college I bought all my textbooks used from my college bookstore before classes started. Even though they were used they were still expensive, but I felt like I was getting a deal. However, I made a couple of mistakes. First, once classes started, I realized some professors didn't actually require the textbooks, even though they were on the list for that class. Don't buy books until your teacher says it's required, even if it's on the syllabus. Trust me, it'll save you a lot of money and keep you from buying an expensive paper weight. My next mistake was buying the textbooks from my college's bookstore. There are websites like slugbooks.com where you can find textbooks for much cheaper.
Before signing up for a class, go to ratemyprofessors.com. A lot of times a class is offered by several different teachers. Instead of choosing a class at random, go to that website and type in the professor's name. Usually, you'll be able to find a review on the professor and people will leave comments, such as "this professor gave a ton of homework." This way you can find a professor you'll probably like.
This is the oldest advice in the book but it's very important. With work and attending classes, it's hard to make friends. Everyone is in their own world trying to just get through college. If you want to make friends, the easiest way to do that is to join a club. This way you'll be hanging out with people who have something in common with you. My freshman year of college I tried really hard to make friends with people in my dorm hall and in classes, but it was tough. The best friends I've made were from joining the broadcast team at my school.
Do not wait until your last semester of you senior year to get an internship. Get an internship as early on in your college career as you can. Internships are important because they allow people to get actual experience in the field they are going into. Not all majors require an internship. Even if yours doesn't, still do one. It will look amazing on your resume and will help you be better qualified for a job after college. If you do one early enough you may be able to do several, which looks even better. Also, this gives you time to look, so you're not taking whatever is left over your senior year.
6. Just Breathe
College can be overwhelming, so take each day one step at a time. You're not always going to feel motivated. Sometimes you're going to be sleep-deprived. Just know you will make it. If you feel overwhelmed, it's okay to drop a class. It happens. It's better than being so stressed that you can't function. You have to enjoy your college time as well. My freshman year I had to withdraw from my Spanish class because I was taking five classes while working part-time and could not handle it all. Now I know that my limit is four classes. Sometimes you don't know what your limit is until you start school. Usually, if you withdraw from class early enough you get a refund or at least half a refund.
College goes by fast. I'm already a senior in college and can't believe I'm almost done. While college is all about getting that college degree, remember to enjoy yourself and have fun as well. You don't want to look back and wish that you would have done more than just study all day.