The FAQs of Freshman Year

Applying to college is very overwhelming. It can be hard to keep track of the different details and deadlines from various schools. As a result, prospective college students have many questions and worries about their first year of higher education. That’s why I have compiled a list of some frequently asked questions from soon-to-be college students. These are just a few common academic questions about college.

Q. Will I be able to start my major classes from day one? A. It depends on the college and on your major. Assuming that you have declared your major before school begins, you will probably be taking mostly core/general education/liberal arts classes your first year at a four-year college. There is a possibility you will be taking a few major classes — especially if you are in the science field — but you probably won’t be taking many major courses until sophomore year.

Q. I was granted work-study hours. Will I be too overwhelmed to balance school and a job? A. No. If you plan on working in college, you should find a job ASAP. It is a better to plan your study schedule around work during freshman year than to get a job and add extra stress during sophomore year. Even if you are worried about the transition to college, try to work from your first semester on.

Q. Will my AP credits and other college credits transfer easily? A. In most cases, yes, but you need to do the work. You need to make sure that your admissions office will accept the credits, and it is your job to send any grades or transcripts to the college. If you do this, there is a chance you won’t have to take a freshman math or history class. If you don’t, all that work in high school for college credit might not pay off.

Q. What should I do if I am struggling with my classes? A. Talk to your professor. He or she might help you themselves or they can recommend someone else who will help you. There might be a study group, peer tutoring, labs for different courses or websites that can help bolster your grades. Just don’t wait until the last minute. Speak up as soon as you think you are in trouble.

Q. How many credits should I be taking? A. Different schools account for credits or credit hours in different ways. You will be taking fewer classes in college than you did in high school, probably 4 or 5 each semester if you are a full-time student. In addition, you might need to take a couple one-credit labs as supplements to your classes. If you earned a lot of credits in high school, you might take only four classes per semester. If you are starting from scratch, you could be taking five courses and a lab or two during your first year and eventually go down to four classes per semester.

Rachel Montpelier is a senior at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. and is the editorial assistant at NextStepU.

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