Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

Higher education is not the same as primary or secondary education.  At this level everyone expect you to be an adult who is fully autonomous.  That means you are responsible for everything in your student handbook and syllabi.  These are contracts between you and the institution.  Read them carefully.  As an admissions officer, I have met many a student who is upset because they have a charge on their bill that an institution has stated it will charge, but yet the student was unaware.  You are responsible for checking into how well a school supports its students, how often faculty are available, what type of accreditation the school has, graduation rates, and many other aspects of college life.  Be sure to see the student life office and your advisor if you are unsure.  It is better to ask upfront than to find out down the line.

This story from Inside Higher Education epitomizes why it is important to do your homework: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/09/22/gao

Now that you have decided where you want to go you should make a plan to graduate.  College is definitely a place where you can explore and learn new things, but the end goal is to graduate with letters behind your name.  Leaving college with student loan debt and no degree is wholly a difficult place in which to be.  Or what could be even worse is having the need to borrow extra loan money because you need to complete extra degree requirements.  Planning for your collegiate years can mean different things for different types of students, but there are essentials that can apply to anyone.  Ask yourself: will I need to work while I am in school, and if so will that hamper my progress; what exactly are my degree requirements; how often are my required classes offered; and do my classes meet on days and times that I can arrive on time and ready to work?

College is a marathon of endurance and stamina, and planning out each step of the way will keep you on track to graduate on time!

Welcome!

You  have made it into a college or university. Now what?  Successfully graduating from college takes not only applying yourself academically, but also knowing how higher education works.  First Generation UniversityTM is here to help explain what each of the various offices on a college campus does, and answer your questions about college life.  Check back often for updates!