Ask your students to write what they think their biggest challenge has been so far in starting college. This not only gives you a taste of their writing ability but also lets you know where their perceived weaknesses lie. If several students are concerned about the same thing, you will then know to focus extra attention on that topic. After the writing exercise, ask your students if any of them care to share what they’ve written. You can then use this to either help generate a class discussion or to summarize the session.
To expand the activity, ask students to pick one of the issues that have come up in the discussion, and ask them to write a follow-up detailing what steps students can take to overcome that issue. Again, ask your students if any of them care to share what they've written, as their suggestions may help other students overcome their own challenges.