Skip to Main Content

Advising Center - Transitioning to College

This guide provides information about making the transition to college for freshmen and transfer students.


A first generation college student is typically defined as someone whose parents or guardians did not attend college or did not complete their degree.   Many of our students at Central Penn College identify themselves as first generation college students as do members of our staff and faculty.  Take pride in your first generation college student identity!  It’s hard to be a trailblazer.

Watch this welcome from one of our faculty members and program chair:




To keep you on the right track, here are some keys to success for our trailblazers:


For most first time college students, many of the words tossed about in classrooms and offices might as well be in another language.  Learning the lingo is one of the most difficult parts about college and can make you feel like an outsider.  The important thing to remember is that you will learn these words in time, and if you don’t know something: ask!  Faculty and staff often become so used to using these terms that they might forget that there was a time when even they didn’t know them.


First generation college students often think they are the ‘only ones’ feeling the pressure, frustration, and anxiety about learning the system we call ‘college,’ but it’s simply untrue.  New beginnings bring that mixture of anticipation and anxiety to everyone, and while these feeling might be uncomfortable, they are also signs that the experience is unfolding in its usual way.  If you’re feeling this way, it’s important to talk to someone: a roommate, a friend, an advisor, a counselor, or a professor.


To help make the transition into college easier, you should get involved on campus such as joining an team, club, or organization.  It's a great way to meet people you know you'll have something in common with.  If you don't see anything that sparks your interest: start something!    


It's also important to stay in touch with people back home and keep them updated on your progress.  Your family and friends are an important part of your support system and can motivate you to keep going.  Let them know how you did during your first week of classes, that you passed that midterm exam, or that you joined a new club.  Check in with them regularly to give you (and them!) some peace of mind!