Many of Aspire Atlantic's students will embark on their college careers in the USA this August. Being a freshman (1st-year student) comes with great perks, it is the first real taste of freedom, of being an adult and it will set the tone for the remainder of a students college experience. Athletically, If a student is on a sports scholarship, they will be held to a higher standard and expected to perform at a higher level than their teammates because they are being paid to be there. Because of these athletic demands, performing academically and socially can be daunting, so we have put together a list of Top Tips that students can use to make a success in college life.
1. Hit the Gym
College gym's in the USA are referred to as, "The Rec Center". The Rec is a great place to spend your time not only to get in shape but to be social. Apart from providing weights, there are many free classes and activities to get involved in like Zumba, Yoga, and Spinning. If you are more of a ball sports kind of person, join in on a game of basketball, kickball or volleyball. Even a game of social cricket has been known to frequent college campuses in the USA. These types of informal games are called "Pickup Games" and are known for their spontaneous creation. All you need to do is not be shy and join in on the fun.
2. Boost Your Marks with Free Tutoring
USA College Athletes can’t play without good marks, so to maintain your sports eligibility, you have to get a certain Grade Point Average (GPA). Don’t wait until its too late to rescue a subject, if you are struggling, go straight to the Student Success Center and ask for some help. Here you will get high-level tutoring services for free. This is also an opportunity to be social as your tutor will most likely be a 4th-year student. Who knows, you could start a fantastic friendship by getting a little help.
3. Take Advantage of Free Food
Every freshman in the USA will quickly learn that almost every day there will be events or social activities that give away free food. That's right; college calendars are packed full of awesome events designed to make the college experience as fun as possible. If it's not Springtopia or the Midnight Pancake Breakfast, there will be speakers, talks, seminars and networking events offering free stuff. A personal favourite is during exam time; many college libraries give away free pizza and coffee every night! Who wouldn't study more with free pizza at the library? Awesome!
4. Get a Headstart at the ISO
For the first couple of months of your freshman year, the International Student Office (ISO) will be your second home. Getting a bank account, medical insurance, social security and securing an on-campus job can be a daunting task, especially for an international student. Don't stress, the good people at the ISO will be there to help, and it is all free. So relax and visit the ISO.
5. Explore Different Classes
As a student progresses through college, their classes will naturally get harder and more demanding. A major part of a USA tertiary education is having the flexibility to choose a class outside of your field of study. If you have a passing interest in a certain area study that you would like to explore, you can do so by using classes called electives. Students get up to 10 electives over their four years of college. If you are not sure what you would like to study why not pick a bunch of courses that you may be interested in. For example, if you love CSI Miami, take a course in Forensics or if you have never seen snow before, you can take a Ski Class. That's right; students can spend their late afternoons on the slopes learning how to ski.
6. Get Social
The first couple of weeks on campus can be a daunting time. A great way to make friends at a new school is to join a campus organization or campus club. Don't worry about not finding a club that you are interested in as the options are practically limitless. There will be hundred's of fun things to do with like-minded people, here are a few examples of clubs across the USA that you can partake in; Surf Club, Cheerleading, Activities Programming and many religious organisations that will cover most of the major beliefs. For athletes, we would not recommend joining Greek Life organisation such as Fraternities and Sororities as there is a high level of commitment required by these organisations which will conflict with your responsibilities as an athlete. If you are not on a sports scholarship then, by all means, join Greek Life.
All blogs are written by former student-athletes. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below and the author will respond to your questions.