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8 Things First Years Fear About College

  • Date Submitted: 04/12/2013 12:07 AM
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8 Things First-Year Students Fear About College
Author: Mary Kay Shanley |Julia Johnston Source: Eric Digests There’s this little secret college-bound and first-year college students outwardly deny: They are scared sick about going off to college. In our interviews with 175 college students throughout the United States for Survival Secrets of College Students (Barron’s, 2007) students talked—sometimes painfully—about what they wished they’d known ahead of time and what they would have done differently. In addition to fears about being smart enough, liking roommates, making friends, and missing home, students also worried about handling the party scene, having sex, covering costs, and being safe. When asked what he worried about before getting to Grinnell College (IA), Ian Young said, “Whether I would make friends. Whether my roommate was going to be a weirdo. Whether I learned anything in high school.” Aaron Castro, heading to the United States Naval Academy (MD), said that at first leaving home to become surrounded by the unknown was a terrifying thought. And Sandra Lazo de la Vega, preparing to go to Florida Atlantic University’s Wilkes Honors College, stewed about “[b]uying things. It seemed like all the stores were selling everything and I needed to get one of each color.” High school counselors and college representatives can help waylay students’ fears throughout their senior year and first-year of college. First, though, the professionals need to be aware of what students really fear about the college experience—even while pretending to be all-wise, all the time. 1. Am I smart enough? It doesn’t matter whether students are heading to large public universities, small elite private colleges, or somewhere else. They wonder if they are smart enough to continue the string of As and Bs, maybe Cs, they compiled in high school. The specter of Ds and Fs drifts around because students have heard college is really different—and much...


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