Advice for College Freshmen


Hi there graduates of the class of '13 (and their proud parents)!


Holy Cow! Summer is slipping by with beach and lake days; coaching my son Noah's U10 summer baseball team (you should see the kid hit!); taking trips to Swan's Island and hosting family visits! And whaddaya know it's August and most of you will be off to college in a very short while!


This is an email which I've sent to 'rising' college freshmen for the past several years called "22 ways to Succeed in College" which, if you take the time to read it, may very well be of use. I've attached it as a Word document, but if anyone has difficulty opening it please let me know and I'll resend it pasted in to the text of an email.


It's something I came across  years ago, and over the eons I've tweaked it a bit but it basically hasn't changed - good advice is timeless. Careful reading will reveal 22 (duh) suggestions for you to follow to both ease the transition from LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT to LIFE AS IT WILL NOW BECOME, and perhaps stack the deck a bit in your favor for having a productive and enjoyable freshman year.


I'll not belabor the points on the sheet, except to call your attention to two in particular: Tips number 6 and 16.


#6 is about time management, and the importance of treating your academic responsibilities as a full time job. This is harder than it looks, and thus requires your disciplined approach, because you'll most likely be in classes for only 10 - 12 hours per week. Say what? Say Party Hearty? Say read the tip, and take it to heart.


#16 suggests you commit yourself to something - anything - in the way of an activity above and beyond what you'll encounter in your dorm and in your classes. I call this the "Three Ring Circus" philosophy of insuring college success. It's premised on the idea that you're gonna do well if you're happy, and you're gonna be happy if you're engaged/occupied/turned on by 

SOMETHING. Could be a best buddy. Or a scintillating class. Or a vegan wiccan cooking group. So give yourself every chance to find that something.


Parents need some comforting and advice? I think this is the best book written specifically for parents of the new college student:


"Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years", 2009 Fifth Edition (Paperback) by Karen Levin Coburn, Madge Lawrence Treeger, Harper Collins, Publisher.




I'd also like to let everyone know that I'm very committed to staying in touch with you during your college years if you're willing to allow me to. If I'm able to follow your progress it helps me learn more about the school you're attending, as well as what works and what doesn't work for folks when they go away to college. I care about how every one of my students are 

doing, and I'm proud of the fact that I maintain regular contact with a large number of past clients who have long since graduated college - I'm even in touch with some who have finished graduate school and now have kids of their own (I've been doing this a long time)!


My problem is that I just don't have the time to reach out to each and every student I've worked with. Thus I rely on you reaching out to me. I try to do my best by promptly responding to emails and offering every student my "CPS FREE LUNCH incentive", whereby if you're willing to come see me when you're home for break or holiday, I'll treat you to lunch - in return for getting to 'pick your brain' for info on your college experience. (So you see, there really IS no free lunch!)


With this in mind I'd very much like students and parents to consider me a resource you can call, write or email should you have concerns, questions or frustrations over the coming year(s). I'm always available to answer questions and help address quandaries you may encounter.


Well, with that I'll sign off and bid farewell to the glorious high school class of 2013 for now. I'm busy working with students from the classes of '14 and '15, and I'm accepting referrals so if you have friends/family/acquaintances still in high school (or who have kids still in high school) who might benefit from my services, I'd appreciate your putting them in touch with me. I'm happy to add folks to my "College Guy Rants" email newsletter if they (or you) send me their email addresses.


Thanks for your past support, and best wishes as you enter in to this exciting new chapter of your lives! Good luck, and keep in touch!






Gary L. Canter

College Placement Services

210 St. John Street

Portland, Maine 04102

(207) 772-9711


College Placement Services provides high school students and their families assistance with all aspects of the college search, selection, application and financial aid process.