Preparing for Your First Year of College in Light of the Coronavirus

by Ana Felce

Now that you’ve graduated from high school, college is right around the corner, but this year has brought about unprecedented changes to everyday life due to the novel coronavirus. As you work through your college preparation checklist, things may look different than you were expecting. It’s crucial to make sure you have everything you need to successfully navigate your first year of college and stay safe.

As the coronavirus has affected nearly every aspect of society, it’s totally normal to have questions around how it could impact your college experience. We’ve got you covered! Things may be uncertain right now, but the future is still bright for you and your first semester in college.

Here are a few tips that can help you prepare for your college experience—and any changes due to the coronavirus—before starting the academic year.

Stay Informed

First, you should learn more about what your college is doing to limit the spread, such as planning for remote learning and minimizing the number of on-campus classes. Even if you are taking all classes remotely during your first semester, it’s important to know how and where you can expect to receive updates. The school should have a number of resources available on its main website. Look for dedicated information about COVID-19 or answers to frequently asked questions.

COVID-19 may have also impacted start dates, registration processes, or learning resources, including library resources, housing opportunities, program-specific labs or clinicals, and more. Make sure you keep an eye out for new information and reach out to the admissions team with any other questions you may have. These individuals want to support your transition into college and are available to talk about what life will look like on campus.

Know What to Expect

To help make sure individuals who might be returning to campus stay safe, everyone will have to pitch in. Health professionals like Todd Emerson, DO, ABFP, the medical director of Azusa Pacific University’s Student Health Center, hopes students will rise to the challenge.

“We all need to make sure we do our part to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” Emerson noted. “We also want to make sure we protect those who may be the most vulnerable to serious complications.”

Emerson explained the importance for students and faculty to look out for each other because everyone can help prevent serious illness by working together. To help keep students and faculty safe, Azusa Pacific University is maintaining a remote learning environment for the Fall 2020 semester. And while most students and faculty won’t be on campus, it’s still important to follow local health guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus and work toward a safe return to campus in the future.

Leverage Campus Wellness Resources

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. As you prepare for your freshman year and grapple with unexpected changes, knowing what resources are available to you can help you better manage negative emotions and the challenges that come with becoming a college student.

APU’s University Counseling Center (UCC) and Spiritual Life team are available virtually to help guide you throughout the semester. The Academic Success Center and Career Center are also available to support you in your academic and professional development.

Rest and Relax

The time following your high school graduation is a time to celebrate your hard work and get ready for your new adventure. This year shouldn’t be any different.

Your travel plans may have been changed, but you still have the opportunity to spend extra time relaxing before you step into college life. You may even want to safely spend extra time with close friends and family. Once classes start, your schedule will quickly fill up—and you’ll likely appreciate this extra time spent with them!

Finally, don’t forget to look out for official communication from your university with policies and tips for remote learning or a return to campus. You can learn more about APU’s return to remote learning this fall to help ensure a safe start to the school year.