Browsing Tag

picking a college

Student Life

Starting College on the Right Foot

February 23, 2022

College is a whole different ball game than high school, and contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with the classes or work you’ll be doing. For many students, college is the first time you will be responsible for yourself in more ways than one. One of the most significant differences is being in complete control of your education. You get to decide what you would like to study and what classes you get to take. You have the power to determine your academic future!

For many students, this can be overwhelming with so much new incoming information. We are here to help give a few pointers to ensure that you don’t overlook important details, whether it is your first semester or your last.

Important Policies and Procedures to Know

One of the most important things to look into when choosing a college or university is what policies they have in place. This can often get overlooked when enrolling because so many exciting things are happening all at once. Some of the policies we suggest you look into are:

  • Student and Class Policies – This can include policy and procedure documents related to student life at your university for things like student leaves, student misconduct, grading, courses, degrees, and even the quality of campus life for all students. It is vital that you also look into the policies on adding or dropping classes, important enrollment deadlines, and even the refund policy should you need to withdraw from classes. Of course, no one wants to think about bad things happening, but you should be prepared for the unexpected and be aware of what your school can do or not do if something were to happen.
  • Renters and Tuition InsuranceGradGuard offers protection plans designed specifically for the risks of college life. Pipes burst, backpacks get stolen, and illness or injury can keep you from your studies. Many colleges and universities do not offer refunds if a student needs to withdraw from classes after the first few weeks of class. Nearly all schools don’t replace stolen or damaged student property, either. Both of these factors can be detrimental to a student’s success. GradGuard is smart to consider given all of the risks that could happen.

Schedule

Managing a schedule is hard, but you can get the hang of it in no time with some practice. Before classes start or when you have some spare time, take a moment to think about all of the different things on your plate: attending classes, doing homework, studying, sleeping, hanging out with friends, and taking care of yourself; not just by eating the proper meals, but creating a budget or having clean clothes to wear. Details like this can get pushed aside when life becomes hectic, but knowing this ahead of time is an excellent way to ensure they don’t get forgotten. These are all essential everyday things that are vital for us to succeed in life, but can be hard to manage the different elements for the first time on our own. Lean on your friends and family to help you create a schedule that works for your so one of these areas in your life doesn’t suffer.

Work-Life Balance 

A good work-life balance is often talked about, but frequently overlooked. It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that you must work, work, work all the time. But with all that hustle comes the great need for rest. You must have the appropriate downtime to relax and recuperate after using your body and brain. Eating healthy meals and getting the right amount of sleep is just as crucial to your success as making sure you attend classes and study. If we put out too much energy and don’t give ourselves enough time to unwind, it can lead to bigger problems like excessive stress, weight gain, and even depression. You will need to know your limits and listen to your body when it tells you it is time for a break. It can always be hard to say no in college, but there will always be another chance to do something. If you need to stay home and take care of yourself, your friends will understand! Understanding this concept now will benefit you greatly in the future with your career.

Resources

With this in mind, it can be hard to keep track of important resources and departments you may need in the future. Your college or university most likely will offer many different services or people on campus that you can turn to if you need help getting on the right track. 

  1. Staff – If you need help understanding any university policies, you can reach out to your academic advisor or a faculty member. They have a solid understanding of procedures if there is something that you do not understand.
  2. Study Centers or Resource Labs – There are often many tools available to students that are not well known. If you need help with classes or course material, the university or your specific college may have a tutoring program to assist you when needed. 
  3. Health Services – When you are feeling under the weather or are struggling with your mental health, you can visit your school’s health services facility. This is important if you are sick or if you are having a hard time balancing your workload. They should have doctors and counselors available to you when you need them, and the good news is you don’t have to travel far to get medical help if and when you need it.
  4. Student Handbook -Another place that you may be able to find information you are looking for is in your student handbook. You should read through this at the start of the semester to make sure that you understand the policies and procedures that are in place. This may also include details such as how to join clubs and organizations on campus, give you an idea of surrounding stores and restaurants by campus, and maybe even some student discounts!

There’s a lot of information to consider when you’re first starting college, but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming. Start early and don’t panic; make checklists of the most important stuff to know and you’ll be good to go!

Other Transition

The Top College Towns of 2020

April 22, 2020

Choosing a college is no small feat. There are a ton of factors that come into play, from academic programs to athletics. One factor that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked is location. The town or city a school is located in can play a big part in both your college experience not to mention your life and work after graduation.

When making our choices, we considered several factors, including student life and culture, available recreational activities, nearby attractions, and availability of high-speed internet and other college necessities. Here are our picks:

1. Gainesville, FL

Gainesville houses the University of Florida, known for its research programs, athletics, and parties. Gainesville was, at one time, one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, thanks in part to its excellent climate, beautiful landscape, and large number of entertainment options. 

When it comes to living in Gainesville, there’s plenty to do, including several state parks and museums to check out, and the Gainesville Raceway is a popular spot. The town also has a growing startup culture, so if building businesses is your thing, you’ll be in good company once you graduate.

2. Berkeley, CA

Located across the Bay from San Francisco, Berkeley has a long reputation as a great place to live. The weather is beautiful, the atmosphere is electric, and creativity and activism are everywhere. The University of California is regularly ranked as one of the best in the country, and the area has a rich history dating back to the late ‘60s and the hippy movement. What more could you want in a college town?

Berkeley also has another major advantage: it’s situated only an hour or so away from Silicon Valley. This makes it an ideal candidate for folks in the tech space, as well as potential founders looking to fund startups.

3. Boulder, CO

Boulder has a reputation as one of the best places to live in the US, with gorgeous surroundings, excellent art and food cultures, and the popular University of Colorado providing a backdrop. Like Berkeley, Boulder has a bit of a hippy past, and between that and the beautiful natural landscape make it an ideal spot for adventurous students and adults alike.

There’s a ton to do in Boulder, especially if you like outdoor activities. The entire area is surrounded by nature preserves, recreational land, and climbable mountains. The city also regularly makes lists of the best places to live in the US, including “Happiest City,” “Brainiest City,” and “Best City to Raise an Outdoor Kid.”

4. Athens, GA

Home of the University of Georgia, Athens rounds out the list of best college towns. Unlike some of the other towns on the list, rent in Athens actually falls below the national average, making it an affordable town both during school and after graduation. Music is a big part of the culture, with several national acts, including R.E.M. and Widespread Panic, coming out of Athens. The University of Georgia is home to the Georgia Bulldogs, and their games are a big part of life in Athens.

One downside to living in Athens is that you may have a harder time finding reliably fast internet here, especially if you’re living in the more outlying areas. If that’s the case for you, there are rural internet options available that might help.

These four college towns have something for almost everyone, whether you’re a football fan itching to get on down to Georgia or a budding software engineer looking to make it big in Silicon Valley. Just don’t forget to squeeze in some studying and secure your college renters insurance upon move in!