Top 10 Tips for College Freshmen
Starting college can be a stressful experience, and it introduces a lot of big changes in your life. You may feel like you are going in totally blind, especially if you are a first-generation college student. If you are looking for ideas for college success, look no further! Here are our ten best tips for college students.
1. Know what things you need for a college dorm.
Of all the tips for college, this one might be the most practical. Many colleges have packing lists available for their students, and Grace is no exception. Find things you need for a college dorm here, as well as the list of what not to bring into the dorms. Make sure to consider what you use at home on a daily or weekly basis, and take a look at what a college student has suggested you bring!
2. Be comfortable being on your own.
In most cases, college is the first time that you will be completely on your own. If you are attending a college far from home, or if you are going to a school where you don’t know anyone, you will have to establish a whole new support system. This requires a healthy level of independence and self-assertion. The tasks for which you once relied on your parents are now your responsibility, so it is essential that you come to school knowing basic cooking skills, how to do laundry, and how to follow a routine.
3. Have an idea of what you want to study.
Declaring your major immediately upon getting accepted into college is not life or death. According to statistics from the National Center for Education, 30% of college students in the United States change their major within 3 years of enrolling in college. However, knowing the ballpark for your intended major takes a lot of pressure off of you as you go about your life at school. Make sure to take classes that interest you, and talk to your professors about the career field they teach. Internships are also a great way to dip your toes in the water and find out whether or not you are interested in a certain career. For more information on how to pick a major, here are 5 questions to ask yourself!
4. Know when and how to get a job.
Depending on the person, applying for a job right away can either be very stressful or very helpful. If you worked throughout high school, getting a job as soon as the semester starts can help preserve your momentum and keep you structured and motivated. In other cases, it can be important to wait a few weeks to understand your course load before adding a job into the mix. If this is going to be your first job, one of the best tips for college is to give yourself a couple of weeks to adjust before throwing yourself into yet another new experience.
5. Research good jobs for college students.
The most important thing when searching for a job as a college student is flexibility. A job that can work around your schedule and accommodate due dates and exams is imperative. Jobs that allow you to study while it’s slow are excellent for a student’s schedule, but don’t bank on finishing an essay during a shift. In terms of finding good jobs, there are many job review websites, such as indeed.com, where you can read reviews from past employees and find out what the working environment is really like. On-campus jobs are also very accommodating to your schedule.
6. Put yourself out there.
For those who struggle to make friends, finding people who you share interests with is always a good place to start. Seek out extracurriculars and online forums offered on campus or in your community. Joining a local club or activity that you enjoy can help you to meet new people that like the same things that you do. Growing and learning is always better when you can do it with a friend!
7. Be prepared for your courses.
Talking with your advisor is a great way to get a baseline understanding of a class, but there are things that no advisor can tell you about a class. Finding someone who took the class previously is a great way to learn about the classroom environment, and websites such as ratemyprofessors.com are also fantastic resources. You can find honest, anonymous reviews about the professor’s teaching, grading, and workload from students who previously took the course. In addition, make sure you pay close attention to your course checksheet and ensure that you are taking major-related courses before you take electives.
8. Practice good habits.
Being away from home and the structure of grade school for the first time causes many college freshmen to form bad habits that can negatively affect their grades and mental health. Consider implementing these tips for college to establish good habits: maintain a good routine, study well, establish a support system, and eat a balanced diet. These will help ensure you stay in good health and make your college experience much smoother.
9. Learn to manage your finances.
Budgeting can be a very simple way to understand and monitor your spending habits. A simple spreadsheet with your monthly expenses and income is a great way to start cataloging your spending. As a college student, you are in charge of your finances for what is most likely the first time in your life. Understanding money management is an essential skill when living on your own, especially when trying to juggle savings, rent, loans, and insurance. Begin saving and learn what you can now, and you will be more prepared to transition into adulthood.
10. Know that you are allowed to ask for help.
College is not like high school. It is meant to test you, push you to your limits, and teach you more than high school ever could. Even if you were on the honor roll every year of high school, you might find yourself failing a class in college. If this is the case, you are not too far gone. There are near unlimited resources and opportunities to succeed on college campuses. And most of all, your school wants you to succeed. Talking to your professors during their office hours or after class is a good thing to be comfortable with, even if you aren’t struggling with a course. Your professors may have some good tips for college, considering they’ve spent a good chunk of time as students themselves. The key to success is to keep your head up and keep moving forward. The best is yet to come.
Your first year of college is sure to be full of new people, new places, and new experiences. It can be overwhelming at times, but your professors and advisors are here to help you. Utilize the resources provided to you, and be sure to ask for tips for college when you need them. Remember that failure is a part of growth. To learn more about how Grace College helps students succeed in their first year on campus, click here.