A lot of students graduating from high school and about to enter college often ask me this question: “What to expect on the first day of college?” Now, for many folks across the USA and in the world, this might sound like a simple question while others might laugh it away.
However, I’ll assure you that this simple question: “What to expect on the first day of college, in the class?” is worth a million Dollars. Literally.
That’s because getting things right on the first day at college and the very first class at college could open doors to a superb degree and career. Therefore, this question isn’t as simple or even absurd, as it might seem to a few people.
If you’re a student who would be going to college soon and have some doubts or even anxiety about the first day or even attending the first class at college, continue reading. In this article, I will discuss the top 10 best things to do and expect during your first day at college.
Let’s start with some facts and figures, that would help you understand what to expect at a college.
Facts and Figures of Colleges in the USA
There’re different figures on how many American students actually go to college. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2020, some 62.7 percent of all high school graduates in the country took admissions at colleges. That’s about 14.61 million new students attending colleges.
This was a whopping drop of about four percent during 2019. However, this fall in figures isn’t significant considering the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that’s plaguing USA since 2019.
Independent websites however claim that college admissions in USA, especially for undergraduate programs, will grow in 2022 and beyond. The year 2022 saw an increase of 22 percent over 2021.
They say this rise will occur as businesses of all types are looking for persons with higher qualifications, unlike in 2019, when they would hire high school graduates for certain works.
Importance of First Day at College
The first day at college is actually an important occasion in the life of a student. That’s because college students enjoy a much greater level of freedom compared over school and high school students.
In many ways, the first day at college also marks your entry in a specific career or profession. That’s because you would have taken a course of your choice, to make a career. Therefore, it’s only right that we give proper importance to this occasion.
Your First Day of College
Considering the above facts and figures, you can expect hundreds of new students at your college, especially for the first year. This would include students from your city and state while others would have come from different parts of the country and also the world.
Therefore, the first day at college won’t be a really easy one. That’s because you would have to mingle with lots of newcomers unless you’re lucky to find some classmate or batchmate at the same college.
Therefore, to make the best of your first day of college as well as the class that you’ll attend, here’re some surefire tips that could help.
1. Plan for the First Day
There’s an old adage that says, failing to plan means planning to fail. That’s true about almost everything in life and also holds good for your first day at college. Surely, you’d know about when you would have to attend the opening class at your college and other details, well in advance.
Therefore, make a plan and be ready for attending the first day at college. This can be a bit tough. And that’s why I suggest you continue reading. I will guide you on how to plan for the first day of college.
2. Prepare Your Dress in Advance
The first and foremost thing is dressing well for college. Unfortunately, most students are unaware about what to wear on the first day at college. Hence, some people turn out in formals, as though they’re attending a serious occasion.
Others saunter casually in joggers and a T-shirt. As a matter of fact, some colleges do enforce a dress code. Therefore, find out from the college registrar’s office if there’s any dress code that you need to follow on the first day of college and later.
If not, see how other students at college are dressing. That would give you a fair idea on what to wear on the first day of college.
3. Personal Grooming
Surely, you don’t want to look untidy and ungroomed on the first day at college. Therefore, get yourself a haircut a day before the college opening, if you’re male. Women can have a small and inexpensive beauty and hair treatment that’s within their budget.
Also, men should ensure they shave before entering college since stubble gives a sort of untidy look. Nowadays, many men actually love keeping stubble because it gives some sort of macho look. Yet, for the first day of college, I suggest you go clean-shaven. That macho look can come in later.
4. Avoid Alcohol the Night Before
If you consume alcohol, avoid doing so the night before your college opens. Often, alcoholic breath or the odor of alcohol lingers long after you’ve stopped drinking. While you might not be able to smell booze on own breath, others definitely will. And that could put off a lot of students from becoming friends with you.
At the same time, it’s also embarrassing because nobody likes people with bad breath. Alcohol isn’t the only culprit. Also, avoid strong foods that cause a mouth odor. That way, you can meet and speak with people with confidence.
5. Going as a Group
If you’re living in a dorm or other shared facility, it’s possible you would know some of the students that would be attending their first day of college too. Or, you could ask around at the dorm and find some such students.
Getting to know these students before the first day at college can take off some bite from the occasion. Since you’re already acquainted to these students, you can go to the college as a group for the first day.
That would be comfortable enough for an introvert or if you’re not shy to socialize. Going with a group can also work as a confidence booster, till you’re confident enough to attend college alone.
6. Take Enough Cash
Yes, that’s right. Of course, you would have a daily budget. If you don’t have one, I suggest you create it before the first day of college. And on the first day, make sure you’re carrying enough cash. It can be embarrassing to find yourself running low on money on the first day itself.
Should you need to spend for something or need to meet an unexpected expense, such cash would prove handy. One thing worth remembering is that not every place in the college might accept a credit card or debit card. Therefore, be ready with the cash. Though you might not really require it, tucking in a few extra bucks for the first day doesn’t harm.
Read also: 21 Best Summer Jobs for College Students
7. Never Show Off or Boast
College is newfound freedom. It’s much different from school. At college, you would enjoy a greater level of independence. In such cases, it’s natural that you would like to make new friends and acquaintances. After all, you’ll be studying there for three to four years.
However, never show off or boast about something, regardless of whether you have it or not. Boasting or showing off anything won’t help you get friends easily. In fact, some students might avoid you, believing you’re trying to act better than others.
8. Meet Faculty Personally
The best way to meet some faculty is by visiting the registrar and getting the complete schedule for your syllabus. Ask at the registrar’s office, which faculty would be tutoring on those subjects. Note the names of these faculty and make an effort to meet at least some of them on the first day at college.
Here, I would suggest you introduce yourself to these faculty members. The advantage here is being, once you know them a bit, it’s possible to seek assistance, if necessary, about a complex subject or topic, during your college years. Faculty members can also prove to be excellent references for jobs, upon completing your degree.
9. Arrive Early at College
Arrive early at college and preferably, also your classroom. That way, you can greet and assist other newcomers. Such greeting and assistance on the first day of college can prove to be a lifesaver for some of the students that are nervous about meeting others.
It also helps boost self-confidence and creates an overall good impression about yourself at the college. Of course, you needn’t arrive too early. Say, half an hour before the classes begin would be fine enough. If necessary, arrive an hour before your classes start.
10. Visit Various Locations at College
This isn’t something that you should leave for later, in my honest opinion. In fact, you should visit every important location at the college on the first day, if possible. Once you know these places, it would be easier to get around the campus.
It would also help guide other students that are looking, for example, the library or the café. Some students visit the college before the first day and learn about these places. Even if you’ve done that, it's still better to visit these places again and refresh your memory.
These simple steps can help you plan for the first day at college. Actually, with this planning, the first day at college can be a very enjoyable experience that you can cherish as a memory all your life.