What to expect

It’s important to remember that the first year of college can be a time of personal growth and self-discovery.

While it may present challenges, it’s also an exciting period of your life. To succeed, seek support from academic advisors, counselors and peers. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed and take advantage of the resources available on your campus. The more you engage and immerse yourself in the college experience, the more you’ll benefit from this transformative period in your life.

As a first-year college student, you can expect a variety of new experiences and challenges. Here’s what you might anticipate:


Academic transition

The academic transition from high school to college can be daunting due to the increased workload, more complex subject matter, and greater personal responsibility. To succeed, establish effective time management practices, seek help when needed, and actively engage in your coursework. Attend office hours, form study groups, and develop strong study habits early on to adapt and excel in the college academic environment. A great way to help with the transition is to connect with student peer coaches at the universities. They can help you with good study habits and transition to campus life.

New social environment

The transition from high school to a new social environment in college can be both exciting and challenging. Many students face the task of building new friendships and adapting to a more diverse and independent social setting. To succeed, be open to meeting new people, explore various campus activities and clubs, and remember that everyone is in a similar position, seeking connections and friendships. Building a supportive social network can greatly enhance your college experience and provide valuable support throughout your academic journey. The universities offer extensive services and resources to support students in the transition to campus life.

Increased time management challenges

Time management remains essential as a first-year college student, as you’ll face more autonomy and a potentially busier schedule. To succeed, create a weekly or monthly calendar that outlines your classes, study hours and social activities. Prioritize tasks, break them into manageable chunks, and avoid procrastination to maintain a healthy work-life balance and excel academically. The Student Success Centers at the universities have plenty of tips and resources to help students with time management. The peer coaches also help students navigate time management.

New residential life

If you’re choosing to transition to residential life and live on campus in college, it can present challenges related to sharing living space and adapting to a more independent lifestyle. To succeed, communicate openly and honestly with your roommates, establish ground rules, and maintain a respectful living environment. Engage with your dormitory community, attend housing events, and take advantage of campus resources to make the most of your residential experience. Arizona’s public universities provide numerous resources to help students navigate residential life and have a great experience.

Handling stress

Coping with stress and homesickness during the transition from high school to college is common. To succeed, practice stress management techniques like meditation, exercise and time management to reduce academic pressures. Stay connected with family and friends, seek out campus support services, and engage in social activities to combat homesickness and build a sense of belonging in your new environment. Students can access counseling and resources to help manage stress and support their health and wellness.

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