- Campus tours with a school-supplied guide are nice, but it can be extra-helpful if you have a friend (or friend of a friend) currently attending the college give you an insider’s tour. She’ll tell you the stuff you won’t hear from the guide—what the food is really like, how intense the academic workload really is, etc.
- If you love a school’s academic programs but aren’t so keen on its dance division, don’t write it off right away. Often schools with lackluster formal dance programs have thriving student-run companies.
- Your college essay should provide insight into who you are as a person—something the counselors won’t see by looking at any other part of your application. Show them a different side of your personality, and make sure the essay is mostly about you, not about your sweet grandmother or awesome dance coach.
- Find out if the schools you like will be at college fairs in your area. You can meet the school’s regional counselor, who will be reading your application. Afterward, send an e-mail to thank him or her for talking to you. They’ll know you before your application even arrives!
- Get involved on campus. Volunteer, try out for the dance team, go to sporting activities decked out in your school’s colors—you won’t regret it.
- Study what you love. Don’t major in business just because your parents want you to. Choose a major that truly interests you.
- The friends you make during your first week aren’t necessarily the people you’ll be friends with over the next four years. It’s great if they are, but don’t feel like you have to make immediate connections. You will constantly be meeting new people.
In the Classroom
- Set goals and strive to achieve them. It’s easy to become distracted by all of the parties, but setting goals can help you stay focused.
- Don’t pick courses based on when they meet. That 8 am lecture—early as it may seem—could just be the best class you’ll ever take.
- Don’t cheat. Ever. Not under any circumstances. Cheating in college is a major offense that can lead to expulsion. You’re better off getting one bad grade than giving up your entire collegiate career.
Beyond the Classroom
- Even if you go to school in or near your hometown, you can create a unique college experience for yourself. Choose to live with someone you don’t know, join a club on your own and find other ways to assert your independence. You’ll gain confidence by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
- College is the perfect time to try choreographing, even if you’re not sure it’s for you. When else can you get space, bodies and rehearsal time for free?
- Don’t freak out about the future. Picking a major is key and getting good grades is definitely important. But don’t worry about where you’ll end up down the road. Have fun and enjoy the freedom.