Transition Advice: I’ve committed; now what?

Transitioning from high school to college is an experience filled with anticipation but also a touch of anxiety. As a college admissions counselor at HelloCollege, I’ve had the privilege of guiding countless students through this pivotal period. Based on my experiences, I want to provide advice aimed at helping students make the most of what awaits them.

Celebrate your achievement

First and foremost, congratulations on securing your spot at the college or university of your choice. Take a moment to celebrate your hard work and your exciting future. Recognize the achievement as a milestone and allow yourself to bask in it.

Connect with your future college community

Before you even set foot on campus, start connecting with your future college community. Join online forums, social media groups, and official platforms to interact with your new classmates. Engaging in conversations and getting to know your peers can help ease the transition by enabling you to begin forging friendships, creating study groups, and establishing a support network.

 Involve your parents in the transition process

While college marks a significant step towards your independence, involving your parents or guardians in the transition can provide valuable support. Discuss financial matters with them, including budgeting and any necessary paperwork. Inform them of important deadlines, such as housing applications or financial aid forms. Maintaining open lines of communication with your parents can foster a sense of security and ensure that everyone remains on the same page throughout your college journey.

Attend orientation programs

Orientation programs are designed to help incoming students familiarize themselves with their new environment. Make sure to attend these programs, as they offer a wealth of information about campus resources, academic expectations, extracurricular activities, and more. Use these opportunities to meet faculty, staff, and other students and to ask lingering questions you may have.

Explore academic opportunities

Take some time to familiarize yourself with your academic program requirements, course catalogs, and prerequisites. This will help you plan your academic journey effectively and efficiently. Consider reaching out to academic advisors or department heads to discuss potential majors, minors, or areas of interest. Stay open-minded and embrace new academic frontiers that may emerge during your college years.

Plan your living arrangements

If you plan to live on campus, learn about your housing options and the deadlines for submitting housing applications. Get in touch with your future roommate(s) to introduce yourself and discuss shared responsibilities and preferences. If you’re leaning toward living off campus, start your apartment search early to secure a suitable place within your budget.

Prepare financially and keep applying for scholarships

College expenses can add up quickly, so you’ll need to be prepared. Familiarize yourself with financial aid packages, scholarships, and other available assistance. Create a budget to manage your finances effectively, keeping in mind both tuition costs and daily expenses. Investigate part-time job opportunities either on or off campus if you want to earn extra money or gain valuable work experience.

Understand privacy regulations: FERPA and HIPAA

As you transition to college, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with two important privacy regulations: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). FERPA ensures the privacy of your educational records, giving you control over who can access that information. HIPAA, on the other hand, protects your medical and health-related information. Understanding these regulations will empower you to make informed decisions regarding the sharing of your personal data and enable you to exercise your rights effectively.

Make necessary medical and dental appointments

Before you embark on your college journey, take care of pending medical and dental appointments. Schedule a check-up with your healthcare provider to ensure you are in good health before leaving for college. Discuss any ongoing medications, vaccinations, or treatments that may require continuation during your time away. Additionally, consider scheduling a dental exam and cleaning to maintain your oral health. Taking care of these appointments in advance will provide peace of mind and help you start your college experience on a healthy note.

Evaluate the school’s health insurance and consider alternatives

Most colleges and universities offer health insurance plans for students. While having health coverage is essential, it’s important to evaluate the school’s insurance plan to determine if it meets your specific needs. Review the coverage details, premiums, deductibles, and network of healthcare providers associated with the school’s plan. If you already have health insurance through your parents or another source, compare the benefits and costs to determine if declining the school’s health insurance is a viable option for you. Be sure to check the deadlines for waiving the school’s insurance, if necessary, and provide the required documentation to opt out of its plan.

Embrace personal growth

College is a transformative period for personal growth and self-discovery. Be open to new experiences, diverse perspectives, and challenges that may arise. Join student organizations, clubs, or sports teams that align with your interests. Engaging in extracurricular activities will not only enrich your college experience but also provide opportunities for leadership development, networking, and lifelong friendships.

Transitioning to college is an exhilarating and sometimes overwhelming journey. By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success both academically and personally. Remember, college is not just about academics; it’s a holistic experience that allows you to explore your passions, make lifelong connections, and grow as an individual. Embrace the adventure that lies ahead, and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. Good luck!

Author: Amanda Yoder

Amanda has over 10 years of experience as a high school counselor, She holds a Master’s in Education with a counseling concentration۔