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Greetings College Freshman – Class of 2026

Some of you have already started your undergraduate journey and most of you are packing as you prepare to head off to college freshman orientation and begin the next chapter of your amazing journey!  Congratulations to everyone!   I know this is a bittersweet time for everyone- your senior high school year oddly online- some school districts limited graduation celebrations as well.  As you  head to colleges where much of the learning will resume in-person  along with college sports and Greek Life opportunities.  Perhaps in back of your (and parents’) minds- some uncertainty about how your campus will respond in the event of another outbreak.

Students – please thank your parents again for all their support and your mom really will appreciate a mid-day text to know you are fine and thinking of her as you roam across the campus quad!

Parents – be proud, your emerging young adult is ready to fly, and if they forget to text or call, it typically means they are having a great time.

In case you overlooked or just glanced at my two detailed notes this summer on College Planning – Please reach out for my detailed handout   “Understanding Your College Degree and Academic Policies” 

Please find a few last minute TIPS for a successful transition and undergraduate experience:

  • Seek out your Undergraduate Academic Advisor and make a personal connection.  Your conversation should extend beyond a 10-minute conversation selecting fall classes.  Share your vision and goals and ask for suggestions on what student organizations and professional opportunities exist on campus.  GET INVOLVED!! For those of you heading to a larger university, advising teams aren’t typically as personal or as strong as you should expect.  I would welcome the opportunity to continue with students as your dedicated undergraduate academic advisor the next four years.  Information about this opportunity follows below.CLICK TO VIEW MY VIDEO Detailing Roles of an Academic Advisor
    Graduate School Applications, Transfer Applications & Career Launch

    Bonnie Rabin, PhD Professor Emeritus & Cornell Alumni Rep. provides insights on Undergraduate Academic Advising, Graduate School Apps.(Medical School, Law Sc…

  • Consider finding a Professor who is working on a  research project of interest – go introduce yourself upon arrival and seek out a research assistantship.  Tip: Assistant Professors rather than Associate/Full Professors are actively pursuing tenure and will have research-in-progress and appreciate your free labor.  Yes, even with social distancing -there are opportunities.
  • Create a LinkedIn Profile – and join every networking group affiliated with your university, including the alumni network.
    This will help you find summer internships.     Connect with students from your high school who were 2 to 3 years ahead of you -they will be able to help you connect to internships down the road.
  • Aspiring law or medical student? Seek out your school’s dedicated pre-professional undergraduate advisor and start the process early. They will help you locate opportunities on campus and keep you focused on necessary pre-reqs.I also hope you’ll stay connected with me—as I work with undergraduates to launch careers and plan for and complete graduate school applications- including: Law, Medicine, MS/PhD.
    More about these services below.
  • Attend your fall career fair.    Many organizations also offer ‘meet and greet’ sessions the evening before or day-of. – it’s unlikely this will occur – so be creative – reaching out in advance.  Use every opportunity to polish your 1-2 minute “hello” speech and continue to be comfortable meeting people and seeking out summer 2022  opportunities.  Don’t delay and don’t think just because you are only a freshman this won’t be a good use of your time.  Focus on smaller companies with fewer people crowding the traditional  booth- that is where you will have more success and less competition as a freshman. again- it’s a rough and different horizon ahead- you’ll want to stand out from the pack. Your resume should focus on projects completed in classes and skills you have acquired in various positions/courses.If you need guidance with preparing a freshman resume, cover letters or mock interviews- my career services package below may be perfect for you.
  • Pre-Med– or STEM Graduate school on your horizon– consider REU summer opportunities sponsored by the NSF.        Please reach out for guidance and assistance on selecting and applying for this prestigious program – EXPECTED for PhD and Medical School applicants!
  • Join Professional Associations related to your field– click on the membership tab and you’ll find a nominal fee for a “student membership” – JOIN.  This is not only a networking opportunity, but there are often undergraduate scholarships available to members.
    Women and Minorities- there are many niche based organizations- Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers – all opportunities to assume leadership roles, learn more, network and possibly garner a scholarship.
  • Scholarships— even more of these exist for continuing undergraduates than students straight out of high school.  Start searching now– many are due November and December 1 – several offered by various federal government agencies, brokerage houses, assorted professional associations and large technical giants. Yes, your GPA should exceed a 3.5 freshman year to be a viable applicant.
    I’d be happy to assist you in preparing your essays and mock interviews.
  • If you are unhappy with your choice and want to transfer,  I am available to assist with your transfer application.  Applications for transfer for spring semester 2021 are due October, and applications for Fall 2022  are typically due February/March.
  • If you are overwhelmed – please reach out to your parents, friends, resident advisor or simply stop in at the support services available on your campus.   The transition can be a difficult one at times and I really encourage you to seek academic or emotional support if needed.  With all the excitement of a new community- it can also be overwhelming and isolating – after all- who is going to say “I love you – have a great day” as you walk out the door each morning?  Don’t hesitate to stay connected to everyone in your inner circle for support.
  • 504 plan in high school?  You’ll need to register again with the college’s Disability Compliance officer.
  • Please Attend all your classes – especially right before an exam. Professors often give hints on what is on an exam and what can be ignored.  Teaching Assistant office hours and recitations should never be skipped- you have a more one-on-one opportunity to clarify where you are lost.  If the professor or teaching assistant’s office hours conflict with another scheduled class- you can and should request an appointment.
  • STEM students- find and form a study group to tackle those 15-20 hour problem sets that will be the norm for the next form years.  Don’t go at it alone- connect with others.

Again my two blogs had some additional tips for both parents and students and the links are above.

Wishing all freshman incredible success in your new community. May you find friendship, immerse yourself in learning and be healthy and at peace always!

Please reach out to learn more about:

UNDERGRADUATE ADVISING,  CAREER PLANNING, GRADUATE SCHOOL/TRANSFER

Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD