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10 Things They Won't Teach You at College Orientation

Heading into your first year of college may feel like an emotional rollercoaster. Students are excited about new opportunities but are nervous about navigating new spaces. They're ready to step into a new stage of life but also feel sad about leaving their loved ones. Their alarms might go off because of a genuine human fear: the fear of the unknown. Northwest College Support can help with this sometimes difficult transition.

Hunting and Gathering Important Information

Humans have profoundly creative minds, able to craft wildly vivid stories. When we fear the unknown, it's often because of our anxious and active imaginations. College orientation is a well-known and easily accessible way to gain essential information while also touring your new campus.

College Orientation Tour Guides

Your tour guides will be knowledgeable about things like dining options, parking areas, and the student code of conduct. However, they aren't able to share their opinions, give candid but negative feedback, or discuss adverse aspects of the college. Concerns like the following are rarely addressed:

  • Feeling homesick

  • Changes in your body

  • How to make new friends

  • Appropriate ways to communicate with your instructors

  • Campus food quality

Northwest College Support provides every student with a team of advocates to answer questions like these and receive age-appropriate, honest answers.

10 Tips for a Better Back-to-School Experience

We've pointed out what you probably won't learn at orientation. Here are some tips to help start your school year off right.

1. Practice Your Routine

This simple trick will save you a lot of future worry with just a little research before your first day of class. Using your campus map and class schedule as a guide, determine the best walking paths between your classes and test them out. Having walked them before, you won't need to worry about it on your first day.

2. Fuel Your Future With Better Food Options

Many campus choices are fast-food style or prepackaged and shelf stable. Quality fuel for your body can be time-consuming and expensive. Northwest College Support teaches life skills like these and more.

  • Buy in Bulk: Shop once or twice a month at a discount store or co-op. You'll save time and money by avoiding many small trips.

  • Meal Prep: Precook a few recipes each week to enjoy during the week. Some students groan at this stage, but it saves time - and so many dishes.

  • Don't Skip the Veggies: Keep a healthy gut and body with lots of fiber and micronutrients.

3. Body Changes

Culturally we talk about students gaining weight in their first year of college. While there is some truth to the idea of freshmen earning an average of 15 pounds, weight gain and loss during periods of stress aren't uncommon. Young adulthood is defined by rapid growth, and your body is no different. Unique growth and change will happen to every student. Contact your doctor if you have any worries about your development.

4. Social Skills Take Practice

It might be difficult for students entering an entirely new student body to make friends. Spending the last few years with the same peers means that students haven't been practicing the art of making many new friends. These complex skills take practice, but the work will pay off.

5. How to Communicate With Your Professors

Northwest College Support provides Education Coaches for every student and is available to instruct you on skills like these.

Your teachers will give you a syllabus that outlines their class structure and what is expected from each student. Instructors will also list contact information. They will indicate which contact method works best for them.

When emailing your professors, emails don't have to be perfect, but they need to be effective and respectful. A few tips for contacting your professors include the following:

  • Refer to them as Mister, Misses, or Doctor

  • Be direct and clear with the reason for your email, and if you need to follow up with them, indicate how you will do that

  • If you need to speak in person, swing by during their office hours at your next opportunity

6. Keep Your (Proverbial) Door Open

In the past, dorm living involved students leaving their doors open to indicate who was or was not available to chat. To keep your metaphorical door open means staying open to the opportunity to connect. Spending time in common areas and seeking out group activities will offer chances to make friends.

7. Get Involved in Student Activities

Along with leaving your metaphorical door open, getting involved with on and off-campus activities will create opportunities for building friendships and strengthening bonds. Whether it's through sports, clubs, religious groups, or volunteering, building quality relationships is a necessary skill. Practicing will improve your ability, and you can never have too many friends.

8. Laughter for Life

Mistakes are inevitable in every stage and walk of life, especially during times of transition. It's relatively easy to beat ourselves up for making these mistakes despite being a universal everyday experience. Students who can laugh at themselves receive psychological and physical benefits from it.

9. Family Check-In

A lot of time is spent talking about students, and it's easy to overlook the rest of the families. This transition isn't easy for them either, and checking in with them occasionally will create opportunities to reconnect and check in with one another.

10. You Are Worthy

You are worthy of love, dignity, and care at this moment and every other. You deserve equal access to knowledge and the ability to explore the world with curiosity. You are valued, and we're so glad you're here.

College orientation tour guides can show you where the best parking lots are, offer frugal dining suggestions, and discuss campus policies, but they can't cover everything. Searching various websites for answers isn't always easy, helpful, or accurate. The team at Northwest College Support can bridge those crucial informational gaps during your first weeks of school and throughout the term as needs arise. Our highly trained coaches specialize in recognizing needs and strategizing solutions for students. Northwest College Support is ready to guide you successfully through orientation and beyond. Call us at (877) 485-2776 to discuss the entirely customizable options we offer to support students on their unique path to success.

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