With over 21 million cases worldwide and deaths heading to hit the one million mark, coronavirus pandemic has taken the whole world by storm. But the silver lining in this storm is the evolution of the digital revolution. We’ve reached a new level, a level that makes this shift not a luxury, but a necessity.
Researchers all over the world are studying COVID-19 and thinking of ways to combat it. In a recent report by the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, experts predict that we are only in the first wave, and there are two more deadly ones yet to come. They anticipate the second wave to be in early winter when the temperatures are low and people falling sick are high. So, what does this mean for students looking to join a college in the Fall?
You’ve got three roads ahead of you –
1. An on-campus program
2. A hybrid program (online + campus)
3. An online program
The on-campus and hybrid programs are an article for another day, so keep an eye out. But if you’re going to join a college online in the Fall of 2020, we’ve got some advice for you.
Here are 10 pro tips for college freshmen, from specific info on how to prepare for college classes to general hacks on how to prepare for college life online. Let’s get right to it.
- Personal Network
- Invest in the Tech
- Time Management
- Productivity Apps
- Participate in Clubs
- Reduced Tuition
- Be Ready
College is about making friends and building lasting relationships. Sure, you might have missed the chance of parties and eating out together, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything else to make meaningful connections. Although your classes might be online, make an effort to get to know your classmates outside of the classroom. And in this case, outside the class-call.
Whether you need a brand-new laptop, expanded cloud storage, or a faster internet connection. Make that call to invest in what you need to attend your classes without any issues. This calculated upfront investment might be worth it when you graduate with a great job. Because you would look back and realise that you had everything you needed and focused on learning instead of fixing your internet connection every 10 seconds.
You’ve probably been hearing this since your math exam back in 7th grade. But it’s true. Time management is one of the most important attributes you should focus on. Studying online is comfortable, but you should make sure it isn’t too comfortable. So stick to a productive schedule. Also, keep a note of the time differences between the country of your university and yours.
Consistency goes hand in hand with time management. College is less hectic than high school, and this might convince you that you’ve got nothing planned for some days, especially on those rainy Tuesday mornings when you decide to oversleep. But you can never be too sure, so make it a point to check your class schedule daily and mark your calendars. Don’t forget to keep track of due dates and exams.
These apps are your best friends. A calendar that gives you reminders for classes or other appointments, an alarm clock to make sure you don’t oversleep, a focusing app like Forest, that prevents you from clicking other tabs or looking through Facebook during class or work time. Figure out what works for you and get used to them before college starts.
Being part of clubs and activities is half the university experience. Check if your university clubs are recruiting, and apply as soon as possible. There are lots of clubs that can function perfectly well online, like a book club, a writing club, photography or video editing club. It’s a great way to build and develop your personal network while doing the things you love.
If you haven’t already visited the university financial aid office, this is a perfect time. With classes going online, universities worldwide like Texas A&M, Singapore Management University, Newcastle University, Erasmus Rotterdam and more have changed their fee structures to reduced tuition fees and costs. So stay in touch with your financial aid department.
You’ve got the time and the opportunity to explore your interests. Be it a part-time job, a freelance project, or just a personal hobby, do something you enjoy in the time between classes. You could learn a new language, develop a new hobby or start a blog. If you wish to be more professional, you could take up certification courses or an additional major. Don’t forget to make use of your university’s online library, it is free and extremely resourceful.
If you were at university, this would’ve been achieved through coffee talks and mutual friends. However, this dynamic will have to change if you have to network from halfway across the world. LinkedIn is one way to connect with renowned university faculty, acquaintances and alumni. Develop your soft skills and social skills during this time because building a professional network is vital for jobs, friends, or potential business partners.
If you need additional study support, talk to your professors or TAs. If you need help with developing interpersonal skills, then get help from seniors or university counselors. If you need a quiet and distraction-free environment, make sure to let your family know. Be ready with your requirements, and don’t be afraid to put them out there. Because you want a good education, and we want you to get it.
Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. If you’ve decided to study freshman year in an online format, it is already commendable because you’ve taken the risk to stand out as the batch that digitized education. Good luck and stay safe!