51 Tips Every College Freshman Should Know

Pay attention entering freshmen! If you want to be a warrior and tackle the challenges of college successfully, then reap the wisdom of those who went ahead of you. With your new found freedom comes the unwavering potential for failure. College can be like a video game, so unless you have the hacks from others, leveling up may seem impossible.

We have collected 51 tips every college freshmen should know to glide through their first year of college. After freshmen year, everything will get easier.

Classes and Grades 100

  • Always balance hard classes with a dedicated ‘easy A’ elective. Your grade point average will thank you.
  • Take professors, not classes. There is nothing worse than a difficult class with a professor who you cannot understand or is boring.
  • A “C” paper can easily turn into an “A” paper all by how you present it. Use a title page, acknowledge your professors by saying on it: (Center on page) The title in CAPS, underneath the next line say “This is presented to Professor Bla-Bla, under that write your class name and number. Skip down 5 lines and put your name, and under that the date. Use headers/footers and page numbers. Make sure your references/bibliography is done correctly. Content looks amazing by doing these tiny details and your prof will appreciate it. “It is not what you say, but how you present it”.
  • Do not fear the paperwork process of dropping or adding classes (even if it means getting the professors permission). As well, if you have to ‘petition’ anything—become a pro at it, show no fear.
  • Make it a point to know your professors and academic counselor. They will be your strength when life isn’t perfect; you will need them for internships, recommendations, petitions, and advice.
  • Do NOT buy your textbooks from the bookstore, unless they are used. There are online places to get the required books without the added price (Amazon, Craigslist, and EBay).
  • Make certain you always back up your files. Dropbox makes this easy as can be. Also, be sure to have a superior antivirus on your computer to protect against malware. Install an Adblock extension too.
  • Learn a second language. In today’s world, your earning potential is more if you know other languages. As well, you are not limited to your geographical location, especially if you plan on becoming a digital nomad.
  • Plan your curriculum and register right away, so you don’t get stuck taking an extra semester for a required class. It is better to resister for more classes and drop, then to not get the right ones and have to petition the professor.
  • If you want a great career opportunity after college, you are going to have to do more than college curriculum for it. This means, networking and using all resources to gain valuable experience while you are still in college. Consider volunteer work in your field, talking to professors and counselors about internships, part-time jobs and anything else that looks like gold on your resume.
  • Begin your resume your freshmen year and continue to build it into something you are proud of by the time you graduate.
  • Schedule your classes according to your body cycle. If you know for a fact you cannot get up before 9am, then why schedule an 8am class? If you are like the walking dead at 3pm, don’t schedule a lab at this time.
  • Consider adding that double major if it correlates with your first major in curriculum and credit hours. It looks great on a resume.
  • Change your major if you are truly not happy with it. There is no shame in self-actualization. Find what you love.

Eating and Partying 101

  • One of the great perks at college is the student discounts offered at many businesses. Take advantage of college nights in restaurants or the discounts. Anything to save a buck, so keep that student ID on you.
  • There is always free food available at college, go get it. There are always a slew of different events and activities which tempt with free food.
  • If you are reckless with your new found freedom, there is a good chance it will show on your body. Overeating, eating the wrong foods, too much drinking or smoking pot can slowly corrode good health. Success at college is more than good grades; it is mastering the whole self. Be your own warrior.
  • Partying may be a rite of passage at college, but you need to keep your head. The consequences are sometimes more than a simple hangover. Consider them all, and balance.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. When you go out have a buddy system, no drunk wandering off alone scenarios (you don’t want to be in the wrong place at wrong time wasted).
  • Cramming for exams with unlimited energy drinks will eventually take a toll. Be careful.
  • Drink one glass of water between every alcohol drink. Eat 2 slices of bread and an aspirin before bed, to soak up alcohol and minimize hangover. Drink Iced Chocolate milk in the morning; it coats the stomach and levels out blood sugar.
  • The school cafeterias have a great salad bar, pack up on veggies and fruits every chance you get.

Mind and Attitude 100

  • Have realistic expectations. Known as the Freshman Myth, one of the largest reasons students drop out after freshman year include overconfidence, under-preparedness, and then, a surrender attitude.
  • Everyone is going through the same process as you. New peers are equally confused and scared, especially if it is their first time away from home. In other words, Facebook lies. No one is having as much fun as their profiles make it appear.
  • If you are overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed take advantage of health services. You pay for this in your school costs. The resources available are nothing less than amazing, and can help get you through difficult times.
  • College is abundant with exercise opportunities, health classes, and world class gyms. Use them.
  • A recent study reveals today’s freshman are socializing less than ever, instead opting to interact through social networks. This has led to the largest amount ever of lowered freshman emotional health. Recognize the need to actually interact with peers in real life situations.
  • Love is great. So you have a significant other, they are not more important than your education. Your relationships should complement your life, not crush you.
  • The new generations of college students are expanding their world view with study abroad and school-sponsored trips. Get a passport, and jump at a travel opportunity.
  • Embarrassment is a waste of time. Every human does stupid stuff or says stupid stuff. It is funny, but not important.
  • Help others. You may not know who you are holding the door open for. Manners count.
  • Open your mind; challenge it by attending off-class events, arts, films, and the multitude of strange happenings at any university.

Living Quarters 101

  • Try to live on campus your first year to acclimate to a learning and social environment. You need to feel connected.
  • If you experience problems with a living situation, deal with it immediately and proactively. If you don’t it will interfere with your learning, and could even set you up to fail.
  • Always wear flip-flops into the showers.
  • Have a two week supply of clothing between washings, and be mindful when you do wash. Remove your things from machines or face your clothing being stolen or strung across the laundry room.
  • Buy your socks all the same color and style. You will soon discover why.
  • Make extra keys for all your locks. Losing them is inevitable. This includes bike locks. If you live with more than one roommate, lock your personal door.
  • Have boundaries with space, sound, time and food. Rules prevent contempt, resentments and falling-outs.

Opportunities 100

  •  College is the testing ground for growth. Get out of your comfort zone and try different things. Throw yourself in.
  • Get one credit card and don’t max it out. Make the monthly payments. If you cannot manage this, cut the card in two.
  • Learn how to budget while in college. Owning your financial picture and future is the strongest tool you will take into adulthood. If you master this, you can master the world.
  • "Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. This applies to every facet of life. You are going to be tempted. You no longer are under the parental umbrella. Stay on the right path. Strength and convictions are born out of learning to say no.
  • Try not to bring your car to campus. The permits and fines for not having a permit are outrageous. Worse is trying to find parking when you need to be in a class. Save the stress.
  • Financial aid is just that. This means don’t run out and spend your money on foolish items. Save that dollar, you are going to need it.
  • Warm-body jobs are perfect for studying. These are typically front desk type positions at the college like at the gym, library and student services.
  • Learn other life skills while at college like cooking, gardening, and staying organized. An organized house is an organized life.
  • Community colleges are an excellent way to springboard onto the main campus. Plus you can save money this way.
  • Make friends with upper classmen, they will teach you all the secrets to successfully getting through college. On top of this, they may have networking connections.
  • Use ride share programs to go home if you live out of area. Gas will be cheap, and sometimes even the company is cool. Don’t hitchhike.
  • These years are going to be the best years of your life. One day you will look back and acknowledge this. So, live large, study hard, take chances, relax, be curious, worry less, meet lots of people and find their story, and have fun. You will need these stories for your grandchildren someday. Now get busy living.

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