Information for Parents
Advice from the Dean of Freshmen
“Try Something You Never Thought You Would Try” …and Other Tips for a Great Freshman Year
What advice would rising sophomores and juniors give to their pre-frosh selves if they had an opportunity for a “do over?” As the College’s dean of freshmen I enjoy asking this question when I have the opportunity to speak to our current students. They have shared much thoughtful advice with me including:
- Don’t worry about how people around you are doing, just focus on doing the best you can
- There is a lot to do and it is better to sample things a bit at a time
- It’s OK to say “no”
- You don’t have to know everything now
- Take an art class
- No one will wake you up in the morning
- Remember how you wanted to be a doctor last year, but now you are SURE you want to be a psychologist? Remember that next year when you decide on the next thing you want to be
- Trust yourself
- School is a full time job
- Take a study skills course—even if you don’t think you need one!
- Visit your professors during their office hours
- Try something you never thought you would try
First year students will quickly discover that college is very different from high school: new academic demands, many competing (and tempting) diversions, freedom to go to class—or not, intellectually exciting course choices, and bright, engaged students and faculty. All of these opportunities—and more—create a dynamic community. There is much to know, and even more to do.
How can new students be assured that they are getting off to the best possible start? Freshmen will find that there are a multitude of resources available to provide guidance on almost every topic from picking first semester courses to finding help in calculus: academic advisers, professors, study skills counselors, pre-major advisers, resident advisors, the dean of freshmen, and other campus administrators and peers are a few important examples of good people to get to know. Building relationships, beginning with the very first day of school, can make the difference between students who “survive” and students who “thrive” during their years in college.