Leaving home for a new life at college is a momentous occasion in a teenager's life that is often as scary as it is exciting. Having to make new friends, live alone for the first time and adapt to new surroundings takes time, and many students can feel overwhelmed in the first few months. Getting to know the new town can help students settle in more easily as they will not feel completely lost every time they decide to venture off campus. Whether you are a student or the parent of a student, taking the time to familiarize yourself with a new college town is the best way to make the transition go a lot smoother.
Visit The Town Before The Semester Starts
Once the new semester starts, college towns are packed with excited students exploring their new surroundings. Most students tend to frequent the same places year after year, and a number of establishments offer student discounts in order to attract repeat business. Student guidebooks also list several attractions such as restaurants and bars that have been popular with previous students. Visiting your college town before semester starts is a great way to experience the area during a quieter period before the large crowds descend. You may then find it easier to discover hidden attractions such as family-owned restaurants or local markets and craft fairs.
Research Exciting Things To Do
Before heading off to college, take time to fully research the area to see exactly what it has to offer. Most college campuses are built close to a number of attractions such as museums, libraries, botanical gardens or planetariums that offer a fun and educational experience. Music festivals, bazaars and pageants are often held year-round to provide entertainment for students, and there are always plenty of bars and clubs that are ready to receive student visitors. Sites such as Trip Advisor are great starting points for searching for things to do, and you can also visit the local council website.
Explore Your Campus
Most colleges are set in beautiful grounds that offer green spaces or funky cafes for students to hang out in between classes. Take a walk with your family around the campus to see what facilities they have to offer. Many colleges have on-site gyms, a student bar and a number of cafes and restaurants that offer fantastic discounts for students. A good way to learn about your new town is by asking any older students you meet for tips on interesting things to do. The student help centre can also provide you with useful information such as details of local doctors, dentists and council offices.
Check Out The Available Accommodation
Most students choose to live on campus when attending college as it offers close proximity to their school as well as the company of their fellow students. However, renting your own home through an estate agent such as TaylorsEstateAgents.co.uk can sometimes be a better option. Renting privately allows you a lot more freedom than living in the college dorms, and you will get to know your town much more quickly by living off campus. Having your own home also means you will be able to host your friends and family if they decide to visit you. Although renting a private home can be more expensive than living in the dorms, many students choose to house share in order to split the cost of rent and other utilities.
Organize Frequent Family Trips
Most parents only visit their student's college town when picking up or dropping off their student. Arrange for your family to get together in the new town as much as possible in order to check out what current events the town has to offer. Most college towns offer a variety of different hotels close to schools, and you may even be able to get a discount. Aim to meet up at least once a month if your town is relatively close or as often as possible if the college is far away from home.
Going off to college is an emotional time for families, but is an important step in a child's journey to independence. College teaches children responsibility and how to take care of themselves in the real world. Many people consider their college years to be the best time of their life, so getting settled in as quickly as possible is a great way to start off.
Mary Dodd provides student support as part of her job and understands the concerns that affect students and parents alike. She likes to share her insights with an online audience and writes for several different websites on a regular basis.