Tips that transfer into the real world
College is meant to prepare students for the "real world" in all manner of ways, and likewise some first-year strategies will be particularly useful outside of college as well:
Expect diversity: "You will be exposed to new people, ideas, cultures and experiences," notes Grant Kollet, head of the University of Washington's first-year-student programs. Let this diversity challenge your assumptions.
Did everyone in your high-school homeroom look alike? Welcome to a slice of the real — and really varied — world outside your hometown. Did high school convince you that jocks and brains can't coexist? Think again. Never had a serious conversation about religious beliefs with someone outside your faith? Get ready.
Connect the dots: Consider the value of connecting what you're learning in classes to something larger. "Read widely — especially the newspaper!" suggests Lisa Marcus, director of Pacific Lutheran University's first-year program. "A surprising number of students — even honors students — don't know what is going on in the world."
Manage your money: "Whether you, your parents, or both, are paying for college, it's a good idea to understand how to manage your money," advises Kollet. Lots of credit-card companies will solicit your business. "Building up good credit is smart, but beware of running up credit-card charges and being left with bad debt."
— Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company