By Mary Hager

Transitioning to college, whether you plan to live on-campus or at home may be one of the biggest transitions you’ll make in your life. Below are some actions you can take to ease yourself into campus life, as you move from home to your chosen campus, whether it is 5 miles down the road or 2,000 miles across the country.

  • Use Social Media to your advantage. During your senior year of high school, check if your college has a Facebook or other social media page for accepted students. Joining these groups gives you the opportunity to meet others virtually and maybe even set you up to see some familiar faces once you get to campus. Also, colleges are all about optimizing the use of social media to connect students through Instagram live sessions.Be sure to use these tools to your advantage before you get to campus!
  • Have realistic expectations. Whether it be through certain TV shows or older friends’ social media accounts, many high school students have the expectation that college will be the “best time of their lives”. And although college very well maybe the best four years of your life, know that adjusting to college academics and your new home, with its established community, takes some adjusting. Be patient with yourself as you integrate into campus life.
  • Get out of your dorm room (or your house if you live at home), especially the first couple of weeks immediately after move in. Colleges typically have hundreds of clubs and organizations you can be a part of…best advice from students I’ve worked with is to join as many clubs/organizations that interest you in the beginning of your freshman year. Attend the first club meetings with the intent of deepening your interest in the club and finding your people…keep attending the club/organization (s) that resonates most for you. Get involved. Build your community. Find your people.
  • Work to be fully present, whether you are in class, eating a meal or talking with your roommate. Although your phone is an important part of your life, it can also act as a “tether” to high school friends and family. It’s important to keep your previous connections while making room for new friends.
  • Prepare for the responsibility of on-campus living by making sure you know how to manage your money and time, do your laundry, etc.Students who have the most successful transition to college already know how to get their assignments in on-time and organize their free time. There’s still time learn these “adulting” tasks, if you haven’t done so already.
  • Learn what campus resources are available to you. Examples of helpful campus resources include your Academic Advisor, Professors, the Dean of Students, Residence Life (an upperclassmen who lives on the dorm floor with you), Campus Counseling, and the Student Health Center. Be sure to use these all the helpful people surrounding you.

Taking the actions above will not only help ease your transition to college/campus life, but also make your freshman year a success!


Mary Hager of Hager College Consulting has spent the last seven years helping high school students identify and apply to their “right fit” colleges. Prior to launching Hager College Consulting, Mary worked as a college counselor in Arizona’s highest performing charter schools. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from St Catherine University.