The largest group of students leaving high school and bound for college or university are not those taking a GAP year before entering post-secondary programs, nor the hungry brains who’ve known since they were six years old what they want to do. The largest group is the group who are visibly excited about the entire college/university experience. Just the thought of leaving school and perhaps leaving home, joining a new learning community, and having a feeling of self-reliance is a tonic to these teenagers. Most often, the actual content of the degree is not as important to these students as the processes of learning and socializing that universities encourage and teach. Thus, the liberal arts, try a bit of everything approach, works quite well for the first year or two.
Upon finishing their undergraduate degrees, many of these students report that liked virtually everything about their post-secondary experience: classes, residence life, new friendships, clubs, work, everything, even residence food! [ Not everyone is happy at the end of four years. Sometimes the high school – university transition is very difficult.]
The best chance for enjoyment of undergrad programs is described in this simple formula which works for all four years, with adjustments noted:
Take a full load of courses, (a variety if possible, in freshman year)
+ 1 club activity* – try different clubs in successive years, as desired
+ 1 intramural sport* – try different/additional sports in successive years
+ 10 hrs/week working on campus or off campus
+ medium food plan (you’re unlikely to make full use of the expensive plan)
+ residence life for 1 or 2 years, then move off campus and live with friends
+ time for friends and cheap social food
+ time for tutoring, counselling, and learning to use the library
*Varsity athletes may need to reduce the amount of club and intramural activity.