Tag: college

What to Expect as a Rising College Freshman

From walking across a graduation stage to stepping into the world of higher education, the life of a high school graduate can change drastically leading up to the highly-anticipated — and sometimes nerve-wracking — first day of college. To hopefully ease your mind a bit, here are a few tips and tricks to simplify your transition and help you expect the unexpected during your first year.

Prepare to be independent!

As you’ll come to discover, the choice to attend a two or four-year institution comes with great freedom, and as a result, great responsibility. From scheduling, enrolling, and attending classes to making time to work, eat, and sleep, the life of a college student can be a hectic one. Though, it doesn’t have to feel that way. Setting realistic goals, creating to-do lists, planning, and eliminating procrastination are just a few ways to reduce the stress that comes with pursuing any degree or certification. 

To get the most out of college and your newfound independence, you’ll want to walk away with something learned. So, in addition to gaining the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in your chosen career path, actively strive to discover something new about yourself. You’ll be better for it.  

Prepare to walk!

No matter the size of your college, you’ll want to anticipate traveling on foot. To prepare your body and mind for this change, consider taking a walking tour of your campus and class schedule before FDOC (the first day of class). Of course, cars and on-campus transportation are available options at some institutions, but be mindful of any parking fees or costs that come with these alternatives. 

Your goal, hopefully, is to enjoy your time in college. With that in mind, familiarizing yourself with your new environment and the physical limits of your body can positively impact your on-campus experience. In other words, if you’re not traveling by car, bus, or metro, you may want to bust out those walking shoes. 

Prepare for FUN!

Now for the best part. After a long week of classes and studying, you’ll want to find ways to relax your mind and enjoy the extracurricular offerings available on campus. If possible at your school, take advantage of student clubs, volunteer opportunities, art programs, athletics, Greek life, or other ways to get outside of your dorm. Not only can participating in university activities bring you lifelong social connections but professional relationships can also be developed by putting yourself out there. So, don’t be afraid to have a good time; it’ll definitely be earned! 

Of course, everyone will experience college differently, and you’re bound to make mistakes. But, with proper preparation, dedication, and an open mind, you’ll grow to learn from your shortcomings and find that freshman year is not what you expected at all. It’s so much better.

Consider a HBCU

Attending a Historically Black College and University, HBCU, was the best choice for me and I recommend HBCUs to all students. Out of the 111 colleges and universities in North Carolina, 12 are HBCUs. There is a myth that only black, or African American students can attend HBCUs. All ethnicities are welcome at HBCUs, some offer minority scholarships to students of other ethnicities. North Carolina is also home to the biggest HBCU in America, NCAT (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University). They have the most students enrolled.

HBCUs and PWIs, predominantly white institutions, have many similarities. HBCUs have big, medium, and small campuses. They also have public and private campuses. Another myth is that the education is not as credible as PWIs. Many HBCUs are known for their prestige and scholarship. I researched the top nursing schools in NC and out of the top ten, two HBCUs were on the list. Here is the list along with their yearly instate tuition rate and NCLEX passing rate.

From the picture you can see that HBCUs offer similar outcomes and more usually more affordable.

Price is not the only factor that effects why we choose our colleges. Retention rate is also a factor. For many HBCUs the retention rate is not where it should be. However, I do have a simple solution for that. We need more Crosby Scholars. No, seriously! So many high schools do not have programs like Crosby Scholars that prepare students for the college going process. Many African Americans are first generation students and do not have the tools to help them be successful in college. I am proof that programs like Crosby Scholars can lead to better retention rates.

When I was in high school at Statesville High, we had a program called Gear-Up (which has recently been refunded for ISS and has partnered with us). This program took me on college campuses that I would have never seen otherwise. They taught me how to fill out the FAFSA. They also informed me about the responsibilities and discipline I would need to be successful. I can honestly say without a doubt that without that program I would not have attended WSSU and graduated.

As a HBCU grad, I will also say that the HBCU community, while competitive, is welcoming of all HBCU alumni. Black culture is naturally collectivistic and so all HBCUs are seen as a family. HBCU pride is very strong because of our rich history. Greensboro is one of the places that participated in the Civil Rights protests. My great uncle was attending NCAT during this time. NCAT gives a piece of this history during their tour. I highly recommend! WSSU is rooted in a black community and serves the neighboorhood and surrounding grade schools. At WSSU the motto is “Enter to learn, depart to serve.” While we were taught our majors we were also taught to give back. I appreciated the experiences I had with the surrounding community.

My reading buddy on MLK Reading Day

Lastly, the Devine 9. There are 9 original HBCU Greek Organizations. Joining a Greek organization is costly. Most will not allow you join your freshman year because they all value scholarship and that is your priority as a freshman. Some have GPA requirements and depending on which organization you are interested in you cannot fall below a certain average. All organizations value community service, as thier campuses do. These organizations can be found at PWIs as well. The commitment to be a part of these organizations goes beyond graduation. Please do your research and attend information meetings before pursuing.

I hope I have outlined a decent picture of HBCUs. The topic of HBCUs is dear to my heart, and I could go on for days. If you want more information I can give you more of my personal experience and help you find more information.