Social and Academic Adjustment


Social adjustment is the process of socially acclimating to a new college environment, of adapting to cultural, mental, and physical differences from your home. Academic adjustment is the experience of adopting a new academic culture, set of expectations, and a different level of academic rigor compared to high school. The following are tips on how to adjust both socially and academically.

Social Adjustment

There are 30,000 students at CU.  On one hand, this is great because we get the chance to meet a lot of different people from all walks of life.  On the other hand, it can be challenging. There is a place for everyone on campus, but the trick is how to find the place that best fits each person.

Adjusting to Roommates

  • This may be a new experience for your friend, sharing a space in close quarters with someone. Remind them that the first few weeks are a great time to set the stage for a positive experience, and its never too late.
  • Have your friend take time to get to know their roommate.
  • Recommend that your friend communicate about what they want and need from their roommate.
  • Have them set limits and boundaries to avoid conflicts in the future.
  • Take a look at a good resource for your friend to help them adjust living with a room: “Ten Crucial Tips in Getting Along With a Roommate

Making Friends

  • Recommend that your friend get active and involved in something they are interested in or passionate about.
  • Suggest that your friend talk to people in classes, resident halls and different groups.
  • Most of all, recommend that they be open to new experiences and people.

Commonalties vs. Differences

  • Suggest that they find friends who share things in common with them. As well, push them to also find friends who are different, since it's a great way to grow as a person.
  • Remind them to look beyond stereotypes—including the ones pinned on CU students.

Academic Adjustment

99.9% of college students face academic challenges at some point—you and your friends probably have experienced this some point. Let your friend know that they aren't alone in their trouble with academic adjustment and most of all, advise them to be patient when adjusting to a new academic environment. The following are tips you can recommend and suggest to your friend in need as they embark on their journey.

Getting Organized

  • Let your friend know that a course syllabus is their best friend. Read it, reread it, and reference it. This will give them a better sense on how to prepare for a class. It is always better to do at the beginning of the class, rather then the end.
  • Suggest them to use a planner, calendar or scheduling app to record all due dates.
  • Have them break down assignments/reading into chunks and record their own mini-deadlines.
  • Remind them to check their upcoming deadlines regularly—all the organization in the world will not be helpful unless they actually use it.

What studying environment works best for them?

  • Norlin Library-it has study areas and private rooms that you can rent out.
  • Dorm rooms, commons room.
  • Coffee/Café shops
  • Park or outside.
  • Sorce (UMC 227 F) Office
  • CMA (C4C N320) Office
  • UMC has conference rooms that you can request.
  • Check out your majors department to see if they offer study rooms.

Managing Their Time While Studying

  • Recommend that they use a planner, calendar or app to schedule study time and keep track of deadlines regularly.
  • They should take 10-15 minute breaks every 2 hours, and at that time, shift between subjects to stay fresh and efficient.
  • Suggest breaking up work into smaller chunks every week to keep reading and papers more manageable, rather than cramming before a test or deadline.
  • Have them expect to spend 2-3 hours of studying for every hour they spend in class.
  • Or perhaps they would study better in a group. This can save time if they are having trouble understanding a concept, instead of figuring out it out all by themselves.
  • 7 Test Taking Tips
  • Pass on these 7 tips to your friend for test taking.
  • Analyze how you did on similar tests in the past.
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early for tests.
  • Dress for comfort.
  • Read directions carefully!
  • Look over the test before starting to plan how to use your time.
  • Answer questions in a strategic order.
  • Review if you have time!

How to Highlight In Your Notes

  • Suggest these to your friend if they are having trouble taking notes.
  • Use highlighters to mark key text. Remember to not mark too much; pay attention to terms, definitions, examples, topics, lists, and main points.
  • Use more than one color when you highlight. Use a simple system of highlighting headings and boldface in a contrasting color.
  • Check your highlighting. Go back and reread only what you have marked. Make sure the highlighted areas make sense to you.
  • Use the highlighted information, chapter graphics, and any review options you have to check your learning. This is an efficient way to add to your understanding when you are getting ready for an exam.