Coming into college, freshmen can find themselves crumbling under the weight of a workload they weren’t prepared for. Whether it’s more homework than they’re used to or more involved projects and assignments, the amount of work can be overwhelming.
Brandon Dominguez, English instructor at Weber State University, says that the biggest problem freshmen tend to have is with time management.
“Through high school, you show up at 7:30 and leave at 2:30 and it’s pretty easy to go to class and handle your homework and assignments since you have constant reminders,” Dominguez said. “With a little more freedom in college, it’s hard to stay on top of things and stay organized.”
There are things freshmen and high school seniors can do now to prepare themselves for the sometimes difficult adjustment to college life, particularly the increased workload from high school.
Nick Berg, an academic advisor at WSU, said that students coming from the K-12 environment are often unprepared for the higher education environment.
Berg said that a major source of stress for freshmen is “not fully understanding the intensity that college life will bring. I think it can affect student retention as well.”
Kade Stevens, a freshman at WSU, said one of his biggest struggles early on in his college experience was getting used to deadlines.
“I missed a few assignments because I forgot to check Canvas for due dates and my professors weren’t babying me along,” Stevens said.
Stevens also mentioned he wished he knew where certain services are located on campus, such as “where to get good food, where tutors are, and where the gym is.”
Dominguez said that high school seniors should get used to planning out their day now to prepare for college. He said his most successful students are skilled at planning ahead and thinking beyond the weekend.
As an advisor, Berg recommends all high school seniors engage in as much college preparation as possible.
“Attending new student orientation, taking any sort of first-year experience course that fits into your schedule, getting involved at the university, volunteer opportunities, getting an on-campus job—all of those things contribute to academic success,” Berg said.
Stevens agreed and advised new college students to find ways to get involved.
Regarding incoming freshmen, Stevens said, “There are so many cool things to do on campus that they should really get involved with. Ask around and find out what people are doing because there’s always something going on.”
Berg said that balancing academic life and involvement is key to avoid feeling overloaded.
“Additionally, we highly recommend that students meet as often as they feel necessary with their academic advisors,” Berg said. He added that these meetings should occur at least once a year, and any other time they feel they need advising.
Using his own English 1010 class as an example, Dominguez said incoming freshmen should expect “a decent amount of writing and homework, but perhaps more liberty than they might be used to, in the sense of being active in their study material and perhaps the choice of what they’re going to read or write about.”
Giving advice for incoming freshmen, Stevens said, “They are going to learn how to be adults. The material in class can be hard, but you’re expected to know it.”