Finding Support in College

One of the biggest mistakes that students with attention, learning, or other needs make when they start college is not accessing the help available on campus. If you had any kind of tutoring, coaching or counseling on a regular basis during high school, you will need to find a way to replace that support in your college setting. For students with a diagnosed, disability, documentation should be sent to your college disability office before you arrive on campus, and you should make an appointment with the disability services contact either during summer orientation or as soon as you arrive on campus. You can even call from home and begin the process this summer.

For those without a diagnosed disability, but who need academic or counseling support, talk with your adviser about how to access the academic support services on campus such as tutoring and the writing center. Students can also make an appointment in the counseling center and meet a therapist before the hectic pace of the semester starts.

Keene State College student Rick Baron learned first hand the importance of actively seeking out academic support in college. In this issue, he shares his story in the hope that other students will get off to the right start during freshman year:

Transitioning to College: One Student’s Story
by Rick Baron, Keene State College ’12

When I graduated I felt completely ready. I felt ready, but I wasn’t. I didn’t know the level of effort that college would require as compared to high school. I arrived at Wentworth Institute of Technology, I was handed a piece of paper that said syllabus and then the year was off. My mistake right from the beginning was not reading the syllabus. I didn’t know I was supposed to read certain chapters or when I had projects that would be due. It is the most important thing in college. Teachers do not tell you most of the time when things are due.

Another thing I didn’t do was ask for help. There were two reasons for this. One, I didn’t take the time to find the people I needed to talk to so I had no idea who to ask. And the second thing was that I believed that it would take time away from getting my work done if I went to seek help. All of this was in my head. At Keene State College, I have found help through disabilities services and I’m doing much better than I did at Wentworth. The most important thing to do when you arrive at college is figure out who the people are who can help you. Get to know everyone who should be associated with you. I am a theater major and I have gotten to know all of the staff in my department.

Basically don’t try to be independent because no one in this world is. Everyone needs support and that is the key thing you need to survive college. But support isn’t all you need. You need four key elements: self advocacy, support, the syllabus, and getting to know your teachers. You will be all set if you rely on these. And do your homework first, party after. Trust me. I get my work done, and parties don’t start till 10 pm, so you’re not missing out by working late.

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