Meeting the Challenges of Your Transition to College

Meeting the Challenges of Your Transition to College

When you finish twirling around the campus of your new college like Maria Von Trapp, you might start to feel a little bit…unsettled. And not because of the twirling. You’re here. Your hard work has paid off. Shouldn’t you feel awesome?

For many young people, the transition from high school to college is one of the biggest life changes you’ve faced so far. It makes sense to feel uncertain, or have a period of adjustment. While you’re preparing for college, take a look at these common freshman year challenges, and find out how to work with them to make your transition easier.

The challenge: NEW PEOPLE

In your first year, you’ll find yourself in a totally different living situation: a dorm, sharing a space with a roommate. This may be a brand new kind of relationship for you, and it can be a challenge to negotiate boundaries and needs.

Your friends from high school may not be at the same college, so you may find yourself without a familiar social circle.

What to do:

With your roommate(s): communicate! Talk respectfully and honestly about what you both need and expect, and do it early. Don’t let things simmer until they explode.

To make friends, explore the different communities and extracurricular activities on campus to connect with other students. Every freshman is in the exact same boat–in a new place, looking to make new friends.


With more freedom comes more responsibility. (Didn’t Eleanor Roosevelt say that?) No, despite what your parents said they are NOT coming to college with you. You are more on your own than you’ve probably ever been, and you’ll have the chance to make decisions for yourself. This can be both exciting and overwhelming.

Also, you know how you went to school for 8 hours every day from sixth to twelfth grade? That’s not happening anymore. Some days you may have six hours of class, some zero. The time when you’re not in class will be spent studying, working, at clubs, socializing, and taking care of yourself. But you’ll be in charge of how to split up your time.

What to do:

It’s helpful to make a weekly timetable so that you can visualize the moving parts to your week, and schedule all the things that are important to you. Don’t forget to allow ample time for self-care and socializing too!


You may be in class for fewer hours than in high school, but the work will be more challenging. The papers are longer, the problem sets are harder, and you’ll be assigned much more reading than you’re used to.

What to do:

Develop consistent study habits. (A weekly timetable is helpful here, too.) Attend class and stay on top of your assignments. Reach out for help when you need it: advisors, professors, campus writing centers, tutoring, and wellness centers are all available for you.

Finally, remember to breathe. The beginning of freshman year is a challenging as well as an exciting time, but soon enough you’ll be a cool, collected college student, making the most of your four years. And always remember, if you need a little extra academic help, Signet is here to help.

Getting organized in college can be tough. Signet is here to help you if you need it!

Picture of Emily Herzlin

Emily Herzlin

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