How to Keep A Good Academic Standing In High School

During high school, it can be easy to slack off or get lazy. However, slacking off can quickly affect your GPA, which is important to college admissions. Here’s how to keep your GPA looking good:

  1. Freshman year in high school is your year to get adjusted. High school isn’t the easiest time of your life, so if freshman year means you don’t get the best grades, it’s not the end of the world. You can use your sophomore year and junior year to fix your GPA for college applications.
  2. It is true, sophomore and junior year are the most important years when it comes to college applications. Make sure you’re really working hard these years and keeping your grades up.
  3. If you forget about an assignment, turn in what you can! Never take a 0 in the grade book. Any points will help!
  4. If your teacher offers extra credit, take it! There is nothing worse than being just a few points away from an A! An A will really give you a GPA boost!
  5. Extra curricular activities are important, but don’t let them take all your time. Make sure you schedule a couple of hours each night to do your homework. You don’t want to be busy all day and cram homework into being a late night activity.
  6. Sleep is everything! You can’t keep up the best grades by sleeping in class. Make sure you get a proper night of sleep so you’re aware the next day.
  7. Make sure you know how to study! A lot of students don’t know the proper way to study. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher how to study for a test or quiz. Trust me, they don’t want to fail you.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your teachers want you to succeed, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to stay after school or ask your teacher to explain the lesson during lunch.

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Making the Most of Your Freshman Year

The transition from high school to college is one that is different from any transition you have had before. Your new life as a college freshman may make you feel confused or pressured by the success of your peers – it feels like you’ll never catch up! In order to help you navigate the stress of your first semester, here are some helpful tips and things to remember.

     1. Start out strong.

Your first semester at college will probably be your easiest one academically. Because of this, it can be easy to try and cruise to the end, thinking that you have nothing to worry about. However, this is exactly the time to lay the academic foundation that the rest of your college years will fall on by aiming for the highest GPA possible. It is better to start with a high GPA while it’s “easy” that takes a few dings over the years than to try to build a GPA from the bottom up as you get closer to graduation.

     2. Figure out your limits.

For most college students, balancing classes, work, and social time is a challenge. Use your first semester to test your limits and see what you can handle. Maybe you realize that in order to get good grades, you don’t have time for a job. Or maybe you try working for a few weeks and realize that you can handle the hustle for extra money. Everyone has different limits – the main thing to remember is not to make yourself go crazy trying to do ten things at once! If you can’t handle as much as you thought you could, go a little easier on yourself. If you find that you have some extra time on your hands, see what more you can do.

      3. Step into the unknown.

High school was a place where everyone knew everyone. As a freshman in college, you’re a new student and so is everyone else. Take advantage of the fact that there are no expectations to fulfill from your peers and try things you wouldn’t have before. Joining new clubs, attending sporting events, and putting energy into something you might not have done in high school are all good ways to leave your comfort zone. You could find something you love and build your resume at the same time.

     4. Make connections.

Take your first semester, and the next four years, to talk to anyone you cross paths with. You never know who someone else knows, or who might be helpful to have a connection with in the future. Establishing a network of people who also have their own networks of people opens up opportunities for friendships, relationships and even business connections that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Keep an open mind and engage with everyone you talk to in class and in your residence hall in order to cultivate not only friendships but also your future career.

      5. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but yourself.

This one is hard but it is one of the most important. Everyone at college is on their own timeline, going through life at their own pace. There will always be someone who has achieved more than you, and this will never change! Instead of focusing on what others are doing and how you can emulate their success, focus on who you were in the past compared to where you are now. Decide who you want to be in the future and how you can get yourself from point A to point B, not how others got to their point B.

Experiencing fear while entering your freshman year of college is normal! Remember that you get out from it what you put in, and that there are more things to be excited about than afraid of. Following these tips will relieve a lot of stress for you later on, and will help you make the most of your freshman year, because you only get one freshman year.

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Twitter: @VCUAdmissions
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Move In Day Checklist & Tips

The most anticipated day of the summer is approaching quickly! Move in day is August 18th this year. Here are some things you can do to be prepared to move in!

First let’s start off with what you can and can’t bring:

What To Bring

  • Alarm clock and desk lamp
  • Pillows, blankets and bed linens for an extra-long twin bed (Ackell & Broad & Belvidere residents should bring bedding for a full bed)
  • Bath linens, toiletries, shower caddy and shower shoes
  • Flashlight
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Surge protectors with on/off buttons
  • Microwave, mini fridge, TV with QAM tuner, gaming systems (check with your roommate so you only bring one of each!)
  • Plants, posters, wastebasket, mirror (except Johnson Hall)
  • Non-flammable curtains

Students living in suite-style residence halls should also bring toilet paper, toilet plunger, and bathroom cleaning supplies. Students living in apartment-style residence halls should also bring dishes, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, toilet paper, shower curtain, toilet plunger and kitchen and bathroom cleaning supplies. We recommend that students contact their future roommate(s) about possible duplication of items prior to arrival on campus. Only one microwave and mini fridge is allowed per bedroom.

What Not To Bring

  • Additional furniture – wait until you have seen your room and how much space you have before bringing an extra chair. All VCU-provided furniture must remain in its assigned room. Non-VCU mattresses are not permitted without permission from Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity.
  • Loft materials (construction of loft beds is prohibited) or cinder blocks to raise beds (only designated bed risers are permitted)
  • Personal air-conditioners or space heaters
  • Landline telephones (courtesy phones are located in each building)
  • Pets that are not fish
  • Extension cords and items that require a flame to operate or that produce heat, such as candles (including decorative), incense and incense burners, plug-in air fresheners, grills, lanterns and halogen lights (a full list of prohibited fire/safety items can be found in our policy manual
  • Illegal drugs, fireworks, chemicals, firearms and weapons of any kind. Students are expected to abide by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Now that you know what to bring, here are 7 tips to survive move in!

  1. The earlier you get to move in day, the better! Move In Day is arguably the worst traffic day on campus of the year. The sooner you get there, the sooner you check in, and finish carrying all your stuff to your room.
  2. There will be staff and other students at each residence hall to help direct and carry things to your assigned room.
  3. Bring in all the heavy stuff first. Elevators have limited space and there are several people trying to use them at once. Get all the heavy stuff in and if you’re on a lower floor, opt for the stairs for the lighter stuff. You’ll get done faster this way.
  4. Get a good nights sleep and eat a good meal before you move in. Moving in is a lot of work and can be exhausting.
  5. The sooner your room is set up the sooner you can relax!
  6. There are a lot of events going on during move in, so take some time to explore whether it be with your parents or new roommates!
  7. You’re not the only nervous one! Ask your roommate to go eat dinner with you or walk around campus to find your class buildings.

Kick off your VCU experience at a Summer Send-off event

VCU’s Office of New Student and Family Programs and VCU Alumni are thrilled to invite new VCU students and their families to a Summer Send-off event! It’s our way of saying welcome, and it’s a great chance for you and your family to meet other incoming students and alumni. You can build your circle of friends while enjoying good food and hearing about the experiences of alumni and current students.

Make VCU real for you — reserve your spot for a VCU Summer Send-off!

Philadelphia, PA: Sunday, July 22 from 4-6 p.m.

Richmond, VA: Wednesday, July 25 from 6-8 p.m.

Charlotte, NC: Wednesday, July 25 from 6-8 p.m.

Virginia Beach, VA: Monday, July 30 from 6-8 p.m.

Washington, DC: Wednesday, August 1 from 6-8 p.m.

Roanoke, VA: Thursday, August 2 from 6-8 p.m.

For more information, call New Student and Family Programs at (804) 828-3700 or e-mail

5 Myths About Transferring to VCU – Busted

The deadline to transfer to VCU for the Fall 2018 semester was March 15, which means transfer admission decisions will be sent out very soon. Being a transfer student means you are not the traditional college student. Transferring from one university to another can make you feel out of place and out of the loop, especially transferring in between the fall and spring semesters. However, the experience is survivable, and I will share some key things that I learned in the process.

1. There are more transfer students at VCU than you think there are. 

After being accepted to VCU for the spring 2018 semester, I registered for and attended a New Student Orientation specifically for transfer students. I was surprised to see that I was joined by good company – over 200 other transfer students were present at this orientation alone. It was eye-opening to realize there were so many other students who were in the same situation as me, and that I would not be alone in the transfer process to VCU.

2. Nobody can tell if you are a transfer student.

Unless you choose to tell anyone, no one will be able to tell that you are a new student at VCU! Although being a transfer student is nothing to be ashamed of, it can be intimidating to think that the traditional students will somehow be able to tell that you transferred. The truth is that your status as a transfer student is obvious to no one else, and absolutely nobody will judge you for it if they do know.

3. The academic advisers care about you just as much as their traditional students.

One fear I had when coming into VCU was that my academic adviser would not be as focused on helping me out as much as their students who had been there for longer. I was extremely mistaken; upon transferring to VCU, I was assigned an adviser specifically for transfer students. The advisers are enthusiastic to help you out, even with your unique situation. If anything, they want to devote as much energy as possible to making sure you feel acclimated!

4. There were enough on-campus housing options for me.

Entering halfway through the year meant I would have to find on-campus housing but would not have the traditional experience of picking my own roommate and room. Though I was not able to pick a roommate, the university did give me several options for housing and I was able to choose my residence building. If you apply for housing when the application opens and before the deadline, you will likely receive your first preference of housing and do not need to worry.

5. Making friends and joining clubs is possible.

A common myth I heard before transferring was that everyone has already settled into their friend groups and that you will be left out of already-established friend groups and student organizations. However, since new courses start at the beginning of each semester anyway, everyone, not just transfer students, will be finding themselves in new courses with new people. Most student organizations also hold interest meetings at the beginning of every semester to attract new/transfer students, meaning they are open to new members at any time!

Ultimately, transferring to any university will pose challenges, but the myths that most commonly plague us transfer students’ minds are not real. Transferring to VCU is not as intimidating as you think it is, and there are plenty of resources available to help you in your transition.

If you have any questions or concerns about transferring to VCU, please contact the VCU Transfer Center.

(804) 827-1349

What You Need to Know About New Student Orientation

Once you have accepted your offer of admission at VCU, it’s time to prepare for new student orientation.

New student orientation is the time for you to meet other students in your major, pick your class schedule, and pick up your VCU ID! It also allows you to experience a night on campus. Staff provides you a night to stay in a residence hall to experience campus life. Staying the night on campus gives you a chance to mingle with other incoming students as well as get familiar with the campus. Orientation is based on a first come first serve basis, so those who come to the first sessions get the first pick at classes! It also lets those get ahead if there are any summer assignments for your classes (Univ classes usually assign a book reading, summer reading projects never really go away).

You may also submit your own VCU ID photo, therefore allowing you to skip the line for pick up. The requirements for a submission can be found here. Prospect students will be emailed if their submission has been accepted or denied.

Make sure to take any necessary placement tests online for science, math, or a language before you arrive. Taking these online placement tests allow advisers to place you in the correct classes.

If you have further questions about NSO, please contact New Student and Family Programs at (804) 828-3700.