college environment

Answers to High School Students' Most Daunting College Questions

Every senior in high school experiences a time when they find themselves sad to leave the past but excited to move to the future. Although exciting for some, others dread the anticipation. As a senior in high school transitioning to their first year in college, there are a lot of questions that can cause you to be anxious about the next part of your life. As nerve-racking as the thought of experiencing college can be, there are resources to ease the transition. We took a list of questions from current high school students and answered them below. Using my own experience, as well that of other college students and faculty, here are answers that hopefully can ease your nerves. 

Is college the right fit for me? 

College is the right fit for anyone who seeks to learn; it’s just about choosing the right one. The college search is a long and sometimes tiring process, visiting multiple colleges and sometimes not liking any of them. This can be frustrating when you just want to jump into your future right away, but as you are deciding where you will live your life for the next four years, this should take time. Careful consideration and questioning can lead you to your future school. The real excitement arrives when you finally figure out the right college for you and - after a few months - you will wonder why you ever even doubted the process.  

Will I waste money going into college undecided? 

No – college is a time of exploration and investigation of one’s identity. Throughout your four years you will learn more about who you are and what you like to do. If you are undecided, I recommend exploring your interests in your first two years of college. By fall of your junior year you should be able to decide which major you want to study. Although going into college without your major in mind can be stressful, you will not waste your money going in with an undecided major. 

How will I get accustomed to the college environment? 

Getting accustomed to the college environment is something colleges and universities make fairly easy during the first few weeks. During welcome week, first-year students are encouraged to immerse themselves in the college culture. This week is packed with events you can participate in to get to know people and become a part of your college environment. Along with that, if you are staying on campus, making friends with people who are in the same residence hall with you is another way to connect with people. Also, getting involved in clubs and activities are great ways to get to know people. Getting accustomed is not as hard as you would imagine. Although the adjustment to the new environment can be tricky, you will hopefully come to love this place you can now call home. 

Do faculty care about their students? 

Knowing whether your professor cares about their students is essential when attending a college. Often it depends on the class size and the professor. Class size plays a huge role in professors tending to a student’s needs. The bigger the class, the less likely this is to happen. To be a student whom the professor cares about, you will have to be a student who goes out of their way to get to know them. There are a few things that will make getting to know your professor a lot easier: 

  • Attend class regularly.
  • Be involved and participate.
  • Introduce yourself to your professor the first day of class.
  • Do your best work.
  • Go to office hours.

These things can go a long way in impressing your professor, and they can be essential on days when you have to miss class or need an extension on a due date. Professors do not have to care about their students, so going out of your way to make sure you are one of the students that your professor knows is huge in any class. 

Will I actually learn useful material or will it just be about making the grade? 

In high school you may have felt some of your classes are insignificant. College, to say the least, is a lot different from high school. This is not to say that you will always have classes you are interested in, but college classes are more engaging. Also, you do not have to worry about being uninterested too much because you pick the classes. Most of them will be required to get your degree, but getting into your major field can make the classes more likable. You won’t always love the classes you are taking but if you can work hard and get through the ones you don’t love, you will be exceedingly successful in college.

What will be the hardest part about being on my own? 

The hardest part about being on your own in college at first is that you may miss your friends and family. Although many seniors long for that independence and are ready to pack their bags as soon as possible, when you don’t see your family for long periods of time you begin to miss their annoying habits. Over time you will adopt a new crowd of people into your life, and experience the next four years together. They will become like family. So, don’t be afraid to open up to people because you miss life at home. Remember, you spend most of your year at school and you will need to have people you can count on. There will always be the summer to spend time with your hometown family and friends.