Strong Families, Strong Daughters Blog

How to Prepare Your Daughter to Thrive in College

Jeannie Herrick

Getting into college requires a lot of hard work and preparation. But the journey doesn't end once you receive your acceptance letter! We want to prepare our students so that they are ready to thrive as soon as they begin their college years.

There are many ways that students can make the  most of their freshman year. Here are some tips for students as they prepare for life after high school. 

Keep a schedule. Treat college as if it were a professional job. In other words, go to your daily classes, and study at the library or a place without distraction in between classes so that the majority of your work is done before dinner.  Avoid studying in your dorm room, which is often noisy and less than ideal for study. By making the most of your time, you will have more time to participate in service clubs, intramural sports, guest speakers, and other activities on campus which often take place in the evenings. 

Meet your hallmates during the first weeks of school. Take the initiative to meet your classmates during the first week of school, whether in person or via Zoom. This will build a sense of community. 

Take advantage of office hours. Professors welcome students who seek their counsel and who want to gain a better understanding of their class subjects. Oftentimes, the student will not only learn the course content better, but also learn about internships and other opportunities to grow in the process. 

Deepen your faith. College often provides a wealth of ways to grow spiritually, whether it's through campus ministry or service projects. Consider a couple commitments that you will keep each week throughout the semester to feed your relationship with God and love of neighbor. This will be an anchor throughout your college experience. 

Stay healthy. Get at least eight hours of sleep each night, eat breakfast before your first class, strive for thirty minutes of exercise each day, and choose fresh fruits and vegetables at the dining hall. Taking good care of your body will go a long way in helping you manage your responsibilities in college. 

Take a public speaking class. Public speaking is a skill that is needed in most professions and can be time consuming and expensive after college. Becoming proficient in public speaking will also serve you well in your college classes, especially in seminars and presentations.  

Set aside time for quiet reflection each day. It's always easy to get lost in a constant whirlwind of activity, especially during your first year of college—you're meeting people, getting a feel for classes, trying to keep up with academic work and building a social life. Be sure to carve out some time for peace and quiet, for your mental and spiritual health. Spend twenty minutes journaling each night before going to bed. Go for a walk. Savor a cup of coffee in the morning. Set aside time to turn off your phone and drink in the beauty of the small things in front of you. 

Stay in touch with your family. Take advantage of the support your family can offer you. Regular phone calls and visits are essential to keeping you grounded and with the right perspective during your college years. 

Mrs. Herrick is the Director of Mentoring at Oakcrest. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Mason University. Jeannie brings 30 years of holistic nursing care experience to the mentoring program at Oakcrest. She is passionate about helping young women grow in virtue and achieve their fullest potential. Jeannie and her husband, Curt, are the parents of five children, including Jackie '13, Kathryn '18, and Julia '25.