Making the Transition

The transition to college is often exciting and scary for many new college students. While this can be a challenging experience, Michigan State has numerous resources across campus ready to provide you with the support and encouragement you need to succeed at State. Below are a few ideas that you might find helpful in adjusting to life at MSU.

Before the Big Move

  • Contact your roommate ahead of time to discuss who’s bringing what. Agree on what you can share so that you don’t have double items that take up extra space.
  • Wait to buy some things for your room until you arrive so that everything fits in the car. This can also give you and your new roommate a chance to decorate your new home together.
  • Budget your money before you get to campus. Think about whether or not you will need to get a job during the school year. Beware of credit card debt!
  • Learn how to do your own laundry.
  • Talk to students who have been in your shoes. Ask them what advice they have for a smooth transition to college. Listen to what they learned about in college and themselves during their first year at State.

When Classes Begin

  • College classes can be very different from high school. For each class, you’ll have a syllabus that tells you what you need to do and when it’s due. Be prepared if your professors may assign a lot more reading and schoolwork than you had in high school.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to read, get involved, or write that paper. Time management is an essential skill to develop because no one else will be here to go to class or study for an exam in your place!
  • Walk around campus before classes start and learn the bus routes so you can find the best way to get to your classroom buildings.
  • Textbooks are expensive. Shop around to find the best deal and compare prices online with those in the bookstores. You have many options on how and where to buy your books at MSU.
  • If you have a disability, register with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). It’s confidential, and registration doesn’t require you to ask for accommodations or services.

Meeting Friends at State

  • Get to know the other students on your floor by attending hall meetings and floor dinners. Your MSU Neighborhood is a great place to meet new people, get involved in leadership opportunities, and even develop study groups.
  • Be open to living with someone who may be different from you. Talk with your roommate about each person’s expectations for sharing space and belongings.
  • Attend Fall Welcome events during the first week after you move to campus. Many other people will be new to State, too.
  • Get involved. State has LOTS of ways to have fun through intramural (IM) sports teams, Freshman Class Council, Greek organizations, religious groups, and volunteer activities, among other opportunities to have fun.

It’s Natural to be Homesick

  • Being homesick is natural. Put up photographs of friends and family and set aside a specific time each week to call home. Keep in touch, but don’t let those connections hold you back from creating new ones on campus.
  • Starting over can be scary, but remember, you have lots of people at State who want to make your transition as smooth as possible. Your Residence Life staff can be a great resource.
  • Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS), Student Health Services, the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions (OCAT) are all on campus to help students. Make an appointment or just stop by to chat.
  • Find a good balance between class and fun in order to help keep your stress level under control.

Find a Job

  • Jump start your job hunt!
  • The Career Services office houses career advisors that are available to help you find a part-time job, tips to polish your resume, and advice for preparing for the Student Job & Internship Fair.
  • The Career Services office is located in Room 113 Student Services Building.
  • An option to find on campus work, check out Work with Us, Residence Education and Housing Services.

Staying Healthy & Safe

  • When you go to parties, have fun but consider the consequences for how you party. If you go out, make sure you stay with friends and know ahead of time how you’re going to get home that evening. Taking time to talk to Residence Life staff or someone at the Olin Health Center is a good way to get more information to keep yourself safe at MSU.
  • Chances are you’ll suddenly be living in a building with several hundred people. Lock your door, even when you’re just hanging out down the hall, and always be aware of your surroundings. Never hesitate to call the Michigan State University Police Department at (517) 355-2222 or 911 in an emergency.
  • Stay healthy! Exercise by joining an intramural team, going to the gym, or finding another way to stay active around campus. Make wise decisions about what and when you eat.