Updated on June 13, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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University Headquarters Resources for New College Students

College is a big deal that should not be taken lightly. As you start prepping for your academic adventure, amass all the resources you can. Part of your preparation should include University Headquarters Resources for new college students. In these pages, you'll find a wealth of information that covers a wide range of subjects, such as planning tools, how and where to find scholarships, a transfer guide, how to get into almost any career you can think of, and more.

As you click through University Headquarters, you might discover a major or career path that you've never considered before. Or you might find that the career you'd idealized isn't quite what you thought it was. That's okay, this is all part of the educational process.

Take a look through everything we have available. No matter where you are in your journey toward a degree, whether you’re just taking your first steps to see where college can take you, or diving in to grab a doctorate, there’s bound to be something useful for you. Your future awaits, make sure you're ready to face it!

Resources for Before and After College

College Planning Guide

College can be a daunting prospect. You might be moving out of your parent's home for the first time, which is a huge step in itself. You'll land on a campus full of strange people and places where you'll have to register for classes, set up a dorm room, purchase books, discover new clubs and activities, and learn a whole new social landscape. That's just the first week or so. Soon, you'll have to declare a major, find an advisor, follow a curriculum for that major, wrangle with the registrar's office, fill out drop/add forms to get the schedule you need, and more.

However, it's okay. You can still breathe, right? Take things one step at a time, tackle each task individually and you'll work through it. Follow these five steps, consider how you can implement each one in your new life, and be prepared for life to toss you a few curveballs.

  • Decide on a major.

    Ok, this is a big one, but you'll want to start thinking about what college major you want to obtain because this will inform your choice of college. For instance, if you are set on graduating with a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics degree, you should look at schools that have lots of resources for STEM students, including laboratories, majors, and pathways to graduate school. On the other hand, you might prefer humanities, so look for colleges that show strength in the fields you prefer. In any case, inspect schools for their course offerings. That's because not all departments are created equal, no matter the general subject. A department's focus will be revealed by the courses it offers.

  • Find a College

    Some students know as elementary schoolers that they will go to State U just like their parents, or to a school that hosts their favorite sports teams. In the case of large universities, this can work out very well, since they tend to offer a broad spectrum of majors and minors. However, a large university isn't for every student. Thus, you might choose a smaller college.

    Small colleges offer lower student-teacher ratios, a more familial atmosphere, and a sense of close community. Small private colleges may have specific focuses, such as a religious affiliation or an academic philosophy/major. That is, some small colleges focus strictly on Maritime Engineering, for instance, while others might emphasize humanities, business courses, or majors in the medical field. Since smaller colleges tend to have a narrow focus, you'll need to make sure that is what you want.

  • Make sure your education will apply to your post-college life.

    Your major should be a personal decision. It reflects who you are: your strengths, desires, and interests. However, not all majors have a clear career path in front of them. Humanities majors in particular face a nebulous future. However, if you assess your core reasons for studying a subject, you might discover a way to apply it in a post-college career. If you begin focusing yourself with career-oriented courses or activities, you may find that your future can be as bright and promising as anyone's.

    Thus, English majors might take a few extra courses in editing or publishing, Philosophy majors could discover pre-law classes, and Political Science majors can look into political internships, or graduate school.

  • Determine that your school or program is accredited.

    This is an aspect of college that is easily overlooked, mainly because it's not very well understood. Essentially, accreditation is a stamp of approval a college or university receives from an ostensibly neutral agency. When you graduate with a degree from an accredited institution, you will be more hirable and your credits will make you eligible to enter graduate school.

    Check your college to make sure they have at least regional accreditation. These accrediting agencies are:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
    • Higher Learning Commission
    • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

    If you are thinking of pursuing a career-specific major, you will want to see that your department and degree are accredited. Here are a few popular majors and their accrediting bodies:

    Accounting AICPA
    Business - Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
    - Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
    - International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
    Engineering Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
    Pharmaceuticals Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
    Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Perform a cost analysis of your college education.

    Your education is going to be costly, no matter what, so try to figure out a way to reduce your costs while also attaining the best education possible. This may sound complicated, but a ‘cost analysis’ can be as simple as writing down the monetary pros and cons of a college or university.

    You’ll end up with a list of selection colleges. Find the cost of their credits and compare, look them up on collegescorecard.com and compare their rankings (higher rankings could earn you a higher salary), see if any of the colleges have more available scholarships that you could apply to throughout your college career. Each of these items will give you an idea of the overall cost and return on investment (ROI) for each school.

    One more trick to containing costs is to utilize community colleges. These schools offer top-notch instruction at lower costs to students. Many students complete their first two years of school in a community college as a way to gain an associate degree in their field, and to meet the core curriculum requirements of their final destination University. Then you’re only paying for the higher cost classes for two years.

    Read The Full Guide

Academics and Choosing Your Major

What are your career options?

The world offers a wide range of career choices for college graduates. Your major will determine a lot of your future choices but remember that your major does not strictly set your destiny. A few popular career choices include:

  • Business careers:
    This is a broad field that includes IT, public relations, marketing, management, accounting, and more. You might have an easier time entering business with an accredited business school degree, or you might enter with a non-traditional degree such as Political Science.
  • Healthcare careers:
    You can enter this field with a Business degree, but employers increasingly prefer a degree in this specific area. The healthcare field is exploding with growth, so certainly consider this as a focus.
  • Computer careers:
    Whether you graduate with a degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or some other tech-specific degree, you will likely find gainful employment.
  • Legal careers:
    Many Humanities majors focus on the Law as a career choice. You don't have to become an attorney to have a successful, satisfying career; Legal Assistants, Paralegals, and others make a good living in the legal profession.
  • Education careers:
    If you've heard the calling to teach, you'll have no trouble becoming an educator. However, it may be a longer road than you realize, with many steps required to get you full licensure. However, your instructors will help you navigate to a full state teaching license.

What are your interests?

As you approach college, determine what your core interests and strengths lie. Since you are headed into college, make sure these interests are areas you have some experience in. You might make a hobby out of building and repairing bicycles, for instance, so you can perhaps consider engineering. Your friend might make interesting films on her cellphone, so perhaps she can consider filmmaking or photography.

This sort of evaluation will help you determine how to craft your college career. Take a close look at the things you enjoy doing, the things that are your true passions, and discover how to realize them in college courses. When you are able to study the things you love, you’ll always have the chance for work to be something you enjoy.

What are the main economic drivers in your state?

If your state, or region, shows particular strength in specific industries, you can target yourself towards that sort of work in your college years. To determine this, you can investigate your state's governmental website, or start reading the local paper's business section.

When you pinpoint the biggest growth industries in your area, you are sure to find work with those companies after you graduate. If, however, you think that you might not be cut out for a specific industry, look deeper and you might find more opportunity than you think. For instance, if healthcare is booming in your area (as it is nationwide), you might think that's out of the question since you'll never be a doctor or nurse. However, that industry supports nearly any sort of job you can think of.

Online Education

Increasingly, online education is a part of college life. If you haven't yet had an online course, there is a good chance that you will in college. When you register for an online course, you'll have access to a special website that will house your online tests, course discussion boards, instructor notes and recorded lectures, and even chat rooms where you and your fellow students can discuss course material. The textbook for your online course will probably be delivered online and will likely be available for use on a Kindle or other e-book device.

Some students who are too busy with work and family concerns opt for online education as a way to complete a degree on their own time. Most online courses and degrees are accessible at any time, from any Wi-Fi spot in the world.

Students with Disabilities

If you or your friend have any sort of learning or physical disability, colleges and universities are bound by law to provide modifications and accommodations that ensure an equal access to the school's resources. This means that you could have access to special accommodations for test taking, building access, and even special dorm rooms if you are wheelchair bound and living on campus.

The law states that all disabled students have a right to all the same services as their able-bodied peers. This extends to non-physical disabilities, such as learning differences, test anxieties, hearing/sight impairments, etc. If you feel you qualify for accommodations that make your experience equal to that of others, discuss the matter with your college or university. You won’t get help unless you ask for it. Your school needs to be made aware of any needs that you have before you move in. You can also seek proper diagnosis from a medical professional, as related paperwork might be required or at least helpful in moving the process forward.

Read The Full Guide

On-Campus College Resources

To ensure that you are able to excel and make the most of your college experience, most schools offer great on-campus resources. Even the best online colleges offer resources that help students work through difficult courses and assignments. These services include tutoring, a writing lab, a full library of reference material, and career services for when you are close to graduation.

If you are working online, your experience with a tutor might involve video chats, phone calls, or simple back-and-forth via email. Online colleges and universities provide access to vast databases of scientific and academic journals, e-books, and more. You might even find that you are paired with a career coach who checks in with you and helps you focus on post-college life from day one.

Ultimately, your college wants to see you succeed. Naturally, this benefits you in terms of a high salary and a satisfying work-life. It also benefits the college, who can brag on their high-achieving alumni. Further, your example in the community will motivate talented young people to investigate your alma mater in hopes of mirroring your successes.

Get Hired Toolkit

When graduation starts coming into sight, you'll need to start putting together the tools you need to get hired. You should start perusing job boards to see what sorts of options are out there in your desired occupation. If you don't yet have a clear idea of what specific job, or industry, to pursue, start doing research. Here on University HQ we have a ton of information on every industry imaginable. Take a look through our career section for ideas of what you can do with your degree.

You will certainly want to start writing resumes. That's plural, because you will probably want to have different resumes for different sorts of jobs. That is, you might want a resume for bridge jobs, such as waitstaff work or retail sales, and a resume that reflects your long-term career goals. Also, if you have a degree that can be used in various situations, such as a Construction Manager degree, you might write one resume for jobs that would include a lot of in-office work, where you would expect to lead large groups of people from a home-base, and a different resume, highlighting different aspects of your experience, for an on-site position where you would be expected to maintain safety and read blueprints.

Your college might also provide post-graduate career assistance. In fact, some provide career development resources for a lifetime. You can begin creating your own such resources by joining networking groups, trade associations, and attending alumni gatherings in your town.

Read The Full Guide

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