Transitioning from High School to College: Where to Find Help on Campus
Even straight A students in high school can have difficultly adapting to college life: more freedom, more demanding classes and a little homesickness are just a few of the aspects that can cause you stress. But the good news is that college campuses have many resources to help you, whether you’re struggling academically, personally or emotionally.
Here’s a summary of the services that many colleges offer to help you have a smoother transition.
Academic success or resource centers:
Having difficulty keeping up with all the textbook reading? Don’t understand your calculus or physics professor? Need help polishing your mid-term essay? Colleges have many academic support services—from peer or professional tutors to help you with a particularly challenging class or subject, to tools to help improve your test-taking ability and time management skills. Colleges call these services (or groups of services) by different names, but be sure to seek out assistance before it’s too late in the semester.
Counseling and mental health services:
Many colleges offer free counseling services to students, so if you’re feeling blue the first few weeks of classes—or anytime during college—remember to schedule an appointment. The counselors can help you work through your feelings and any challenging situations that arise while you’re in school.
Resident assistant (RA):
If you live in on campus in the residence halls, you’ll likely have an RA assigned to your floor. The RA not only helps plan activities for your floor, but also is there to help you. So if your roommate is driving you nuts, seek out advice of the RA before taking any drastic measures like finding a new room assignment, moving back home or moving off campus.
Still undecided about your college major or want to get a jump-start on getting an internship? Seek out the assistance of your college’s career services office. They have tools to help you explore possible interests and majors, as well as find job shadow and internship opportunities.
An academic advisor may be a staff person or a professor, depending on the college you attend. They are there to help you plan the courses you’ll take and stay on track for graduation. If you have difficulties in any of your classes throughout the semester, your academic advisor can help point you to the right resources on campus to help you succeed.
Financial aid office:
Financial situations can change, even during the middle of a semester. If finances to pay for college are a concern, or if your situation changes drastically (such as a parent loses a job, making it difficult for them to help you pay your college bill), go and talk to a financial aid counselor. They can help you find additional aid to help you stay in school and finish your college education.
If you have a learning or physical disability, there should be someone on campus to help you navigate the options available to you through the Americans with Disabilities Act to help you succeed. Seek out this person before you begin classes, so you don’t get behind and have to play catch up.
Student legal services:
Some, but not all, universities may offer legal assistance to students. If you find yourself with legal troubles, ask your Student Services director about the options.