Accessing Support Programs in College
Being a beginner all over again is tough - whether you're starting a new job or the first year of college. Here are some tips on finding the social and academic support you'll need.
- When you're faced with a whole new group of people at freshman orientation, remember that they're in the same boat you are. Take part in orientation activities. Join an intramural team or extracurricular activity to meet people who share your interests.
- If you live in a dorm, make sure to meet the Resident Advisor (R.A.) assigned to your floor. The R.A. is the person who usually organizes social events throughout the semester. Your R.A. can be great source of information and a good listener when you have questions or concerns or when you just need to talk.
- At the start of college, you may want to stay in touch with high school friends and close relatives with whom you can talk and share the ups and downs of your new experiences. Remember that these are people who care about you. They want to share in both the good things and the not-so-good things you may be going through. Talking to or emailing these folks can be comforting as you experience many new things for the first time.
Establishing effective systems to manage time and ensure productivity can be the single most important steps you take. The pressure of trying to stick to a schedule can be stressful. It may take great effort, flexibility and practice to find systems that works for you. Consider the following steps:
- Schedule an individual session with a research librarian at your university's library. Library staff are usually skilled in researching specific topics, and they can suggest reference techniques and show you effective ways to do research online.
- Attend an orientation session and become familiar with the computer center at your school. You may need to schedule individual time with a support technician to learn about specific equipment available in the center.
- Get involved in a study group. If you decide that meeting with the group is helping you learn, stick with it.
- Visit the Disability Support Services (DSS) office at your school. Getting to know DSS support staff early in the semester will help you access support when it is most needed, perhaps later in the year school .The DSS office can help coordinate more specialized support like submitting and negotiating requests for accommodation and working through problems with specific courses.
- Look into getting a note-taker or tutor. Tutors are usually volunteers who agree to help students who need assistance in specific subjects. The DSS office recruits and matches tutors to students according to the individual student's needs.