Any student rejected from their first-choice college knows that, yes, it’s a disappointment. But it doesn’t have to mean that your college experience will be disappointing! Heading off to college is generally exciting (and a little bit scary, too). No matter what school you’ve decided to attend, there are ways to help you get pumped about the college you’re heading off to – even if it may not have been your first choice. Maybe it’s a safety school, maybe it’s your second choice. Regardless of the school you’ve ended up committing to, it’s all about perspective and learning more about the great aspects of your future college.
Here are some actions, based on an article from Her Campus, we suggest you take on, which will help you discover things you love about your soon-to-be school. Taking on these items can help you get excited so that your second-choice or safety school will soon just become your school.
1. Learn more about the college, campus and surrounding areas
The more you know about your future school, the more you’ll have to become excited over. While you likely did a little bit of research on the school before applying, dive deeper into aspects like campus traditions, clubs and extracurricular activities to see what you may be interested in participating in once you’re a student there. If anything sounds appealing, try it out to see what you think. There’s usually no commitment at first, so you’re able to stay in discovery mode while you find what works for you. It can also be fun to learn more about the areas surrounding campus. Maybe there are cool towns or cities nearby, which you can explore on the weekends or when you have time off from school. You’re going to be living there, so exploring your surroundings is a great way to become familiar with the area and help it to feel like your new home away from home.
2. Start reading your future college’s student publications
Most schools have one or more student publications, like the student newspaper. Even if you’re not on campus yet, you can likely subscribe online to learn more about the cool things going on at your future school. Not only will this help you feel in-tune to your future college, but may even help you discover events and activities that you’d like to participate in once you’re a student there.
3. Follow your future school’s social media accounts
A great way to feel like you’re part of the college community is to stay up-to-date on social media. It’ll help you feel like you’re part of the group, rather than an outside, which is an easy way to get excited and motivated for your new college experiences.
4. Get in touch with people from your future class
Most schools even have social media accounts or groups dedicated to your future class, which is a great way to hear about freshmen events, meetings, activities and more.
If you already have your housing assignments (or once you do), there may be a social media group that will allow you to get in touch with other students with the same assignments. You may even find that some of these incoming freshmen live nearby and you could meet before the fall for coffee or plan to meet up during your freshman orientation. Having familiar faces can make a world of difference in an intimidating experience, so you’ll likely feel much more comfortable in your surroundings if you prepare ahead of time. Making friends before you even arrive on campus will help you feel more comfortable in your new setting – and will likely help you expand your social circle as you meet their friends, too.
5. Look into courses, academic departments and professors
Clearly, your academics are the main aspect of college. Get excited about courses and major/minor programs but delving into the various options. You don’t have to decide on a major or a particular course quite yet, but it’s good to know there are options you’re interested in. If you know some areas of potential interest, look into the school’s department to learn more about the specific courses and renowned professors. Most schools have courses that and unique and interesting, along with professors that have some seriously remarkable accomplishments. A great professor can make any subject interesting to learn about, whereas a not-so-great one can make even the most exciting courses dull or unpleasant. Pick your professors (and courses) wisely when you have the option to do so in creating your course schedule. It’s also a good idea to research professors through popular websites, but make sure to take reviews with a grain of salt since most students writing the ratings usually have a completely positive or negative take – rarely in between. Understanding that you’re now part of this environment, with interesting options available to you as a student, will help you get excited about this aspect of your future school.
6. Make the most of orientation
During your orientation, try to make the most of your visit. You’ll have planned activities and events, but see if you can explore campus and the surrounding areas on your own before or after the actual orientation. Getting acclimated to your future campus will not only help you become familiar with the setting, but help you better understand and appreciate the campus’ vibe. Try to get to know (or at least speak to) everyone you meet during orientation. Later, when you arrive on campus, it will be great to run into familiar faces and you’re sure to do so. Even the largest schools become much smaller when you’re a student there and you may become surprised at how many people you’ll run into in your classes, on campus and in daily life. You can even consider applying for a student job. It may seem early, but student jobs on and near campus fill up quite quickly so you want to take action while you still have options.
7. Plan your first week on campus
Start researching activities you can participate in that will be occurring during your first couple of weeks on campus. Look into freshmen activities, club meetings, rushing a fraternity or sorority and more, so that you’re active on campus right from the start. It will help you meet more people and discover aspects of campus life that you will enjoy throughout your college career.
8. Think about dorm decorations
A huge part of getting excited about this new step in life is planning aspects that make it feel real, not like it’s far into the future. When you tour potential dorms during orientation or during your visits to campus, start thinking about what you’d like to incorporate in your dorm room. Pre-college shopping is a great way to get excited about your new digs and make the entire situation feel a lot more real.
9. Pinpoint what this school has that your “dream” school did not
So, your dream school may have had some great aspects, but this school surely does as well. Try to discover some aspects that your future college has that the other school did not offer. This can help you develop a “glass half-full” mentality, which is a great way to get you enthusiastic about your new school.
10. Remember, your college experience is what you make it
No matter where you attend school, the experience you’ll have is completely within your control. If you go into freshman year with a positive attitude and are looking to discover new and exciting aspects, you will. Keep an open mind from the start and try to remain open to all new experiences and possibilities. If you do so, you’re sure to have a positive college experience that you’ll remember and cherish for a lifetime.