In the United States, college freshmen confront an opportunity for academic and personal growth that alternates fear with the most exciting experiences of their lives.
Transitioning from high school to college classes can be difficult, say university officials at Queens, but the transition can be made smooth by attention to at least four success factors: personal organization, specific goals, a sense of belonging and the ability to ask for help.
“My biggest determining factors would probably be finding a time when I can work, finding a place where I can do that work efficiently without a lot of distractions, and making sure that I know that I have everything together by organizing my stuff correctly,” said freshman Micah Byrd.
It is important that freshmen have set goals and that they feel involved, said Zach Thomas, director of diversity and inclusion.“I definitely think a sense of belonging, meaning that they feel like the community, which are the faculty, staff and students, are accepting of who they are, where they are from, and that they have a sense of ownership.”
The Center for Student Success is a key resource that caters to individual academic needs. Incoming freshmen are presented with an array of options and resources to help them succeed. These resources are also available to the entire student body. Carter Hammett-McGarry, associate dean for student success, said that some of the most valuable resources for students are peer tutors, writing consultations, student disability services, learning styles assessments, advising and developing an academic success plan.
“Take care of yourself and your health,” said Hammett-McGarry. “You do need to sleep and you do need to eat well and have time for social life. It can’t all be about hitting the books all the time because the least effective thing to do is to try to study all the time.”
University officials advise students not to be afraid to ask for help. Being successful in college and in life requires a willingness to learn as well as people to help along the way.
As Hammett-McGarry says, “It’s a life-long endeavor to be successful.”