Mom and dad just left! You look around at your new surroundings and smile. You met your new roommate, and you like your dorm room space. You are finally on your own as a first-year college student and classes do not begin for a few days. Now what?!

Scenes similar to this will be occurring as students begin leaving their homes for college. Once on a college campus, parents/guardians may decide to attend a parent orientation, while their college freshmen attend other activities. Once the parents/guardians leave, there are usually lots of activities for new students to attend. Orientation programming is very important, and all first-year college students should attend. However, there are a few more resources to be aware of beyond formal orientation events; read more about those, and get a jump start on what orientation is all about below.


Peterson’s “What to Expect at College Orientation” shed light on the purpose of freshman orientation. Freshman orientation is not the only opportunity for students to seek out information. There are other activities provided during college week, such as signing up for clubs, meeting new people at social events, and purchasing supplies. Each college/university decides what to offer. Kayley Robsham shares wonderful ideas she considers could be offered at any college/university during the first week and/or throughout the first year.

Importance of Safety

Feeling safe on campus is vital to having a positive college experience. As new students on college campuses, all freshmen should attend any session that discusses safety on campus. Every college/university has a system in place for students, as well as staff, to follow. Elizabeth Hoyt, from Fastweb, lists 10 tips students should follow to help them be safe on campus. These tips cover knowing the campus emergency system, having some cash on hand, and not being alone at parties.

Mental Health Concerns

There have been numerous articles and blogs written about the number of college students with mental health concerns. On February 24, 2019, John Warner stated, “There is no doubt we have a mental health crisis among young people in America”. Survey research from the Pew Research Center and a 2018 survey from the American College Health Association support his claim. Warner and others believe there are more than one or two causes for the increase that you can familiarize yourself with as a means to increase your awareness.

Colleges and universities have implemented programs and outreach to help students with their classes, social life, safety and mental health. First-year college students must become knowledgeable, feel comfortable, safe and empowered to let someone know if they are experiencing any mental health symptoms. As you head to your college destinations, please take advantage of the information shared with you so that you are successful in your transition. These suggestions will answer your “Now what”?!