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SEP 14, 2020 • 10 min read
A lot of students make the transition from high school to university seamlessly, boasting confidence, sociability and certainty.
However, for a lot of other students, making the leap from high school to uni can be much more stressful and scary. In particular, a lot of students worry about whether they made the right choice of course, how they can make new friends, and how they should get involved in university events and perhaps even which ones.
For any students who fall into this category, here are some of our tips that may help you feel more confident in your transition to uni:
One of the key sources of stress for university students before they even begin is their own doubts about whether or not they have picked the right course. Indeed, it isn’t a good feeling knowing that you might be heading in the wrong direction by studying the wrong course.
However, we implore you not to be too worried or stressed about this happening, given the opportunities available to change course after you’ve started university.
The US University system is designed exactly for this kind of thinking. Determined to allow students to explore study options and be provided with a broad and comprehensive education during these four years, most universities do not require their students to choose a ‘major’ area of study until the end of their second year. This process of academic variety and flexibility enables students to uncover hidden passions and make a more educated decision as to the course of their future career.
In other educational systems, such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, you may need to apply under a certain course, such as arts, science, business or engineering. But even then, within these courses there is some flexibility with your majors and electives. There are also often ample opportunities to internally transfer courses, which mean that again, your decisions are not set in stone.
So, if you’ve got a course you are interested in before starting uni, ditch the second-thoughts and go for it! Know that if you might want to change courses later on, you probably can.
One of the most daunting things about university is the prospect of having to make new friends, and at university, you aren’t going to make friends if you don’t get involved in the universities’ social life. This is especially true studying remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, where your only chance to meet friends might be through virtual events hosted by student communities.
We understand that if you are a quiet student, it may be hard to summon the confidence to get involved, but if you get over your fears, we guarantee that it is an experience you will enjoy.
In the US, Greek Life is the epicenter of most campus social life, and attending events hosted by fraternities and sororities is a great way to meet people. In the long-run you may even get the opportunity to join and live in a fraternity or sorority in your sophomore or junior year, where your brothers or sisters you bond with will likely turn out to be some of your best life-long friends.
US and especially UK universities are big on clubs and societies. Some of these unis have hundreds of clubs and societies of every kind imaginable, including clubs for certain subjects, performing arts, special interests, and even some just for fun. With the diverse array of passions and interests available to be pursued through clubs and societies, there are surely some that you will feel welcomed by.
If you love a particular sport, another great idea is to join a university sports team or club, although this may have to wait until after the pandemic.
Keep in mind that these student communities are full of like-minded people who might be equally as afraid to socialise as you. We emphasise again how you should not miss this opportunity; the friendships you forge might be the start of some of your strongest life-long friendships.
Along the same vein, during the COVID pandemic most social events have gone virtual, and the universities themselves have been investing in technology to help keep their students’ communities connected.
For example, the University of Pennsylvania has created a virtual platform to host all the universities’ campus groups, clubs, and Greek life in one place during welcome week. Students can also form queues and representatives from the organization can engage with them in Zoom rooms just like they would in a world without COVID-19.
Other universities have gone further to try and recreate their campus with online game-like platforms. Johns Hopkins University has built a fully-interactive virtual university on Minecraft and given all students free access to the video-game. Stanford has also recreated a virtual campus to recapture the university experience on a bespoke service called Club Cardinal. Users have an avatar, are given their own dorm room to decorate, and are able to attend events happening in Zoom rooms.
Again, we recognise that quiet students may not feel terribly comfortable socialising in online mediums, however it may be your only opportunity to meet friends during this time. You wont regret it later on when the pandemic is over and you finally get the chance to meet your friends in-person.
Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admissions support company helping students navigate the US and UK university application process. We assist you to find your best-fit university, create a personalised roadmap, ace your standardised tests, craft the perfect essay, build candidacy through extracurriculars, and more. Check out our student success page to find more Q&As and case studies about our successful Crimson students.