5. Go to orientation: Some schools require students to attend orientations that last a week or more. Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., for instance, has a monthlong Autumn Term for freshmen that couples orientation with a reading-intensive course before the traditional fall semester starts. On the other end of the spectrum, many large state institutions make their one- or two-day orientations optional.
Though it's not a requirement, college officials agree students should sacrifice their free time and take part so that they can familiarize themselves with the campus and meet their new classmates. "If they have an orientation, go to it," says Greg Eiselein, an English professor at Kansas State University and co-director of the school's program that helps freshmen transition to college life. "All of the research shows that if a student attends orientation, they'll do better in college."
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