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      By Scott Lutostanski

The summer leading up to a student’s freshman year can be used to prepare a student for first semester. There are a lot of college students who wait until they’re on campus to “start their semester.” In reality, preparation can, and should, start before a student even steps foot on campus. Of course, this year we aren’t yet sure that students will be setting foot on campus. Regardless of the situation students eventually find themselves in, they can use the summer to take a few small steps that will put them on the path to success for their first semester of college.

First, they can design and lay out their organization and time management systems. College will put a lot more demand on a student’s ability to manage their time and keep track of their work. They can put all classes, times, and locations into their calendar. This will help them stay on top of their classes, manage their time, and can even help them GPS if they need to navigate campus the first couple weeks.

In addition to plotting out their weekly course schedule, students should review their syllabi. These will usually be posted online in the final weeks of summer. Students should review each syllabus, become familiar with the class, and figure out all the “bigger stuff” for the semester. What is “bigger stuff?” Projects, papers, tests, and quizzes. The Google calendar will help students manage the bigger tasks they have to work on. There is a lot more work that needs to go into a college test than a high school test. By having these events logged in a calendar and looking ahead, students will be able to plan and work ahead, and they will have a better chance at putting together quality work. Most importantly, they won’t miss any deadlines or assignments. 

Students should also figure out their “routine homework.” Does math class require homework to be turned in every Monday, Wednesday, Friday? Are there pre- and post-labs due each week in Chemistry? Is there a Spanish quiz due every Sunday at midnight? Students need to figure out all their deadlines for the semester and then plot these out on their Google calendar. They should be notated in a color that will stand out (bright red is usually best), and they should create multiple phone notifications for themselves hours, if not days, in advance. This will ensure that no weekly or biweekly assignments will be missed. College students need to submit 100% of their assignments on time.

These tasks only take a few hours, but they will make a big difference, particularly for the EF-challenged student. In some cases, a student may not figure out the flow of their semester and the large assignments in classes until it is too late. These steps should be part of the pre-college, summer routine for all students. Galin Education has a 4-hour Transition to College Program. For more information, you can click here or email ScottL@galined.com.

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