College Bound Senior Newsletter

Congratulations on graduating!

Before you go, here are some final tips. Keep in mind that whether you are entering a technical college or 4-year university, college is college! Most of this information can be applied to any college.

How to Graduate in Just 2, 4 (or 5) Years

  • Select the right campus. If the campus doesn't feel right, you might end up transferring (or flunking out). Visit the campus and make certain it's a good match. If you need to transfer, the sooner the better.
  • If you have made a “major” mistake, see your advisor ASAP! Students, who are sure of what they want to do, graduate soonest. Students who go in undecided run up to a 45% greater risk of withdrawing. Take advantage of academic advising services.
  • Take a full credit load. The average student takes 9-12 credits. That's almost part-time! It is most cost effective and will get you through the fastest if you take the recommended credit load.
  • Consider taking a summer school class or Winterim (J-Term) class.
  • If you don't understand a class; get help right away. See the professor, get tutoring, tough it out. Dropping costs you in time and money.
  • Take advantage of free help. See your advisor often. Make appointments with your professors for help and suggestions. Keep in touch with placement and financial aid offices.

Who Graduates the Soonest?

Those who:

  1. Entered with a strong work ethic,

  2. Maintain a high first semester GPA in college,

  3. Join campus organizations,

  4. Set short term goals and stay focused on them,

  5. Are able to juggle a lot of things at once such as work, academics, and relationships.

Advice from a UWEC Hall Director:

  • Consider living with someone new - living with a friend can be a limiting experience.

  • Communicate clearly and assertively with all people on campus including and especially your roommate.

  • Become involved with your dorm council and at least one other organization. Students who are more involved are more likely to stay in school and graduate (they also get better jobs because they have stuff to put on their resume).

  • Form a relationship with your Resident Assistance. The RA is likely the single most helpful person on campus.

  • With regard to security, always assume you are not safe. This will help you be careful in all situations. Never go to or from a party by yourself...the buddy system is a great idea!

  • Use a planner to balance all activities. Actually, the more involved students are, the more successful they are at managing their time. Those who sit around gaming are the ones who have trouble.

Things to know before you go

  • How to do laundry

  • How to manage a checking account

  • How to manage a credit account (credit card companies count on you not paying the full amount owed - they make money off of the high interest rates and fees)

  • Banking and billing, etc.

  • Update your cell phone plan

  • Basic computer knowledge - word processing and internet searches

  • Library skills

  • How to make microwave popcorn

Avoid potential problem behaviors! Things have truly changed. A few years back, parents of college kids only had to worry about beer parties and sex. Keep in mind that many students are now also seeking counseling and support groups for the following addictive behaviors:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse

  • Gaming

  • Gambling

  • Technology

  • Over spending – credit card debt

  • Gaming (get the idea?)

Homesickness is universal

Here are a few tips (UW Stout) to handle homesickness (not that it's going to happen to you...)

  1. Admit you have it - it's a natural reaction to loss

  2. Talk about it - it takes strength to admit that something is bothering you and to confront it

  3. Bring familiar items from home

  4. Familiarize yourself with your new surroundings - you'll gain control

  5. Invite people along to explore - you might make a friend along the way

  6. Keep in touch with home

  7. Seek new opportunities

  8. Accept change - try not to remain so firmly planted in the past.

  9. Do something!!

Who knew? According to survey done for The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc., 67% of college students report that they would rather receive home-baked goodies in a care package than cash!

Things to take to college that were “not cool” in high school:

  • Warm fuzzy hat or ear muffs

  • Umbrella

  • Scarf

  • Mittens or gloves

  • Boots

  • Raincoat

  • Daily or weekly planner

  • Pocket protector (just kidding)

Want better grades?? Come closer.

Research has proven that the following tactics do make a difference in grading:

  1. Sit in the first or second row

  2. Make certain the professor knows your name

  3. Schedule appointments with your professors to get help

Students who sit in the front have proven to have significantly higher grade point averages. Professors will also give those students a break who make a positive first impression.

Think twice about a car.

Many schools won't allow freshmen to have a car. Fees, maintenance, insurance,

and parking can strain your budget and patience!!

Learn about your school's available resources. Most are free!

Student Health generally offers:

  1. Routine exams and diagnostic tests

  2. Emergency first aid

  3. Prescriptions

  4. Psychological counseling

Career Counseling/Placement Office will help you with:

  1. Getting a part-time or summer job

  2. Getting an internship

  3. Writing a resume

  4. Learning interview skills

Academic Advisors are experts on course scheduling and academic requirements

The Campus Counseling Center is the place to go to:

  1. Improve study habits

  2. Work out emotional difficulties

  3. Learn time management

  4. Overcome test anxiety

  5. Improve writing skills

Campus Tutoring Center will help with:

  1. Preparing for tests

  2. Academic tutoring

  3. Remediation

  4. Proof reading essays or papers

Post the above numbers including:

  • Campus Police

  • Campus Directory Assistance

  • Registrar

  • Pizza Delivery

For Commuter Students:

Take full advantage of your college experience by getting involved on campus.

  1. Participate in extra curricular activities

  2. Attend campus events (check bulletin boards or check the campus paper)

  3. Get to know other students in the cafeteria, student lounges and athletic centers.

  4. Study at the library

  5. Rent a locker on campus

  6. Contact other commuters to share rides, information and camaraderie.

Money Counts!! Learning how to handle your own finances does not have to land you in debt. Follow a few simple tips, to avoid troubles:

Create a budget

  1. List income (savings, work, family contributions. scholarships, loans)

  2. List expenses (books, fees, tuition, room and board, supplies, food, laundry, clothes entertainment)

Your income must exceed or equal your expenses!!

Spend Wisely

  1. Buy used books

  2. Use student discounts

  3. Shop at home when visiting

  4. Limit or avoid credit card use

Open a checking account on campus.

“50 things I wish I had known before entering college” by Jennifer Trussell-Bagley.

Regarding academics -

  • Keep up with reading assignments daily

  • If you pull an all-nighter you may be too tired to wake up the next morning and too tired to do well on the test

  • The competition is tremendous - in all areas

  • You can't put things off until the last minute

  • Have some idea of what classes to take and how to read a schedule

  • Tests always seem to come in threes

  • I would spend so little time in class and so much time studying after class

  • I should spend more time studying than socializing

  • Doing well means knowing how to study and take notes

  • The professors are not trying to ruin our lives - they're on our side

  • You need to study one hundred times more than in high school

Regarding family back home -

  • I would miss home and my friends

  • My parents would have withdrawal symptoms when I left

  • Every time I called home my parents would ask “how much now?”

  • I would miss my mom's cooking

Regarding dorm life, friends and your new social life

  • Dorm rooms are not self-cleaning

  • I would gain 10 pounds from junk food and late night pizza

  • When I have problems with my roommate, I should tell my roommate and not everyone else

  • I should not judge people based on first impressions

  • What I've done in the past doesn't matter

  • People are as friendly as you are to them

  • My underwear will turn pink if I wash it with my red shirt

  • You have to learn to deal with a whole hall of people 24 hours a day and no privacy

  • When I get sick I have to take care of myself

  • At times, my roommate and I would argue

  • It's not as hard to make friends as I thought

  • Some nights I would have sleep with the light on while my roommate studied

  • Even at a “nice” college, kids would still drink and use drugs

Packing for College - A light touch

If you are starting to collect things to take to college this fall, you might want to listen to the experts. Below are listed some comments from various experts - residence hall personnel and college students.

  1. Before you pack the laptop, check to see if your college has recommendations, special offers, and tech support.

  2. Check with your dorm to see what restrictions you have on any electrical appliances i.e. hot plates, microwaves, George Foreman grills, clip lights etc…

  3. What's the size of your dresser and closet - do you really need to take all your clothes for every season?

  4. Contact your roommate about the “big ticket items”; there is no need to duplicate items such as a TV, fridge etc.

  5. What does your dorm provide i.e. fridge, microwave, utensils, kitchenette?

If you're going to err, err on the side of packing light. Mom and Dad can mail it, ship it, or bring it to you. Better than you taking it back home.

Recommended Things to Bring

The following is a list of items to bring, including items that are commonly forgotten:

  • Desk lamp

  • Fan for warm weather/hot dorm rooms (and to drown out dorm noise)

  • Linens/bedding - extra long twin sized sheets are most commonly needed

  • Pillow

  • An alarm clock

  • Laundry basket and laundry supplies (learn to do laundry now!!)

  • Tide to Go pens or stain treatment

  • Laundry money

  • First aid kit, tool kit, sewing kit

  • Towels and a washcloth

  • Personal toiletries and something to carry them in e.g. an ice cream bucket

  • Bathrobe and shower shoes or flip-flops

  • Stamps and envelopes for snail mail

  • Stuff to decorate your room with

  • Update your cell phone policy

  • Microwave popcorn or some type of non perishable snacks

  • Plastic dishes and utensils which can be microwaved

  • An iron and clothes hangers

  • A good backpack

  • Cold weather outerwear

  • Extra batteries for calculator, etc.

  • Extra long charging cable for your phone (because outlets are few and far between)

  • Power strips with USB ports!!

Tips for living with another...

“Assertive, up front communication is the key to a successful relationship.” UWEC Hall Director

“It is easiest to set things straight (the rules) right away to avoid future conflicts.” UWEC Resident Assistant

These words of wisdom are from experienced staff that works directly with students. The following is a list of things you might want to discuss with your roommate prior to leaving for college.

  • What do you plan to bring to school that wouldn't need to be duplicated (TV, stereo, iron)?

  • What time do you go to sleep & wake?

  • What do you own that would be OK to borrow and what would not?

  • How do you want messages to be taken when you are not in the room?

  • Can you study with the... door open, music on, TV on etc.?

  • Where do you study - in the room or the library?

  • How often will you have friends stay?

  • What about overnight guests?

  • What about boy/girlfriends?

  • How do you feel about your roommate having guests?

  • How will room chores be split up?

  • Do you drink, use drugs, smoke?

  • What things really annoy you?

Other things you might want to discuss include:

  • Cultural differences

  • Religious differences

  • Ways of communication e.g. how will you know when one of you is mad? Needs to be left alone? Needs to be cheered up?

Communication can be tough, especially when emotions are involved. Remember to use “I messages”. These will clearly convey your thoughts, feelings and what you would like to happen. The 3 parts of an “I message” include:

  1. State a feeling. “I feel _________ (irritated, anxious, nervous)”

  2. Clearly state the behavior. “when you _________(have friends over late)”

  3. State what you would like to happen. “and would prefer that you __________ (invite your friends over earlier, ask them to leave earlier, etc.).”

Obstacles are simply challenges in

disguise. Good Luck on your journey.