43 College Tips Freshman Need to Know Before Going to School

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This post is all about college tips freshman should know.

college tips freshman

When I was about to go to college I asked every college student I know about what I needed to know in order to prepare for my first year of college. I was definitely annoying asking every question under the sun but lucky for you I have all the advice you could possibly need without having to ask anyone!

Here is everything you need to know as an incoming freshman in college - from social events, making friends, parties to classes, and living on your own. 

This post is all about college tips freshman should know.

Best College Tips Freshman Should Know:

1. Get To Know Your Campus Resources

One of the greatest things about paying to go to a university is the benefits and advantages your campus resources can give you. At most schools there is a career center that can provide you with many ways to get started looking for internships or jobs. 

I would definitely recommend visiting the career center and talking to advisors sooner than late so you can get on the right track to finding a job right out of college!

2. It Is Okay To Have An Undecided Major

To be honest, about half of my friends went in to college without knowing what they wanted to major in! If this is you, it is totally okay to be unsure what you want to do. Most students end up switching their majors a couple times anyways. 

If you are going into school with an undecided major, I would suggest taking general classes that you would need to take no matter what major you decide on. This will make sure you don't take classes that won't count towards the major you eventually choose.

If you have room in your schedule, also take classes that you think you may be interested in. This way you can get an idea about what you like and what you might want to major in down the road. 

3. Look Up Your Professors

I am going to share the best website ever with you and one of my favorite college tips freshman should know.

www.ratemyprofessors.com

Seriously, when picking classes look up your professor on here. Looking up your professor ahead of time will let you know how hard the class is, how heavy the workload will be, if attendance is mandatory, etc. If there is a class with multiple professors, I would use this to see which professor's class to take. Seriously this website is life saving.

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4. Stay Organized/ Have A Calender

Whether it's Google Calendars or a physically planner, you have to write your work down and stay organized. Most professors will give you a syllabus at the beginning of the semester and expect you to remember the due dates of a paper all the way in December. If you don't write this stuff down you will forget!

5. Get Involved In Your Campus's Greek Life Or Clubs

One of the most important thing to do to feel involved in your school is to join a club or greek life on campus. Joining an organization is not only a great way to meet new friends, it also will make your campus feel more like a home than a school.

6. Talk To Everyone

No matter who it is, talk to and be nice to everyone. Even if this is just on the elevator or in class. You never know when you could meet your next best friend!

My roommate and her best friend met during orientation and are still best friends to this day. 

7. Plan How You Want To Manage Your Money

Unless you have an unlimited credit card from your parents (I WISH), you are going to have to learn how to manage your money. This was definitely a huge change for me since I was so used to my parents paying for everything at home. 

Set aside money each month for going out and don't spend more than you planned so that you have money for other stuff like food, toiletries, and other essentials.

8. Don't Stress About What People Think Of You

I asked a few of my friends what their biggest tip for college freshman would be and this was usually their number one answer which I totally agree with. Now this doesn't mean you can be rude to others and just say "I don't care what people think." But, this does mean you can have fun and be shamelessly you without caring what people think! 

College is the time to find yourself and your people so don't stress if there is one or two people who don't love you!

9. Look Up Student Discounts

I didn't realize until I was a student but pretty much every store offers student discounts. Make sure you check if a store offers student discounts before paying full price. Take advantage of the fact you're a broke college student! ๐Ÿ˜‰

10. Check Your Student Email Regularly

You professors are going to be communicating with you almost solely through your student email. Check this daily! 

I had mine loaded onto the Outlook app on my phone so I got notifications every time I got an email. Definitely recommend doing this if you can so you don't have to remember to check it all the time. 

11. Communicate With Your Professors

This is definitely one of the more important college tips freshman should know. Don't be afraid to reach out to your professors! Whether it's through email or office hours, they truly want to help you and appreciate when students talk with them. 

It also doesn't hurt to talk with your professors because if you ever need a recommendation letter down the line, they can vouch for you. 

12. Find At Least One Friend In Every Class

Having a friend in class is so helpful when it comes time to study for exams or even ask a question about something you missed in class. 

It's also just nice to see a friendly face every time you go to class. 

13. Go To Sporting Events

Sporting events are such a fun activity to do with friends, especially if you go to a big school. I went to so many football and basketball games and they seriously are some of my favorite memories! 

As a student, you can get really good tickets for either free or way cheaper than the average person. Definitely take advantage of these opportunities because they are so fun! 

14. Keep Your Important Belongings Safe

It's super easy to lose things in college and sadly a lot of things get stolen too. My holy grail items for keeping up with important things are these scrunchies with hidden zippers and this phone wallet. These will both make keeping cash, cards, and keys safe when going out!

I would also suggest a small safe if you are living in a dorm. A lot of times I would forget to lock my door and honestly anyone could have taken things from my room. If you're going to keep cash or any expensive jewelry in your dorm I would definitely recommend a small safe.

15. Prepare To Work Hard/ You Will Be Stressed

You will be tired all the time. If you think you worked hard in high school prepare to work even harder in college. Know that it's okay to be stressed and most people around you are too! In order to manage this stress, try to stay ahead of schedule with your work and stay organized.

16. Find Good Deals Around Town

Definitely explore around your college town for different deals. Like one of my favorite restaurant bars had 49 cent wings on Tuesdays! 

Deal nights like that are always fun to make a tradition with friends or a fun activity to do when you have a free night. And it's always nice to save a few bucks! 

dorm room essentials

17. Go To Orientation

Make sure to go to your orientation before school and go to all of the events! Not only are these super informative, it's also a great way to meet other students. 

I know a ton of my friends still keep in touch with people they met at orientation. 

18. Pick One Day A Week To Clean Your Room

Keeping your dorm room clean is key to feeling organized and prepared. Keeping a clean room will make you feel more focused and motivated.

My roommate and I always cleaned on Sundays so we could start a fresh week with a clean room.

19. Find A Source Of Income

Wether you work at an on-campus job or a server at your local restaurant, you will most likely need a source of income. This doesn't have to be a lot but you always need some extra cash. 

20. Take Good Notes

Without good notes, you will not do well in a class. Now taking good notes does not mean writing everything down word for word. College professors talk fast so you will have to take their key points and write them down quickly.

If you are having trouble doing this, I would suggest recording the lecture with your phone so you can go back and listen before your exam.

21. Find Creative Ways To Make Money

I know some people did others homework for money but this can get you in a lot of trouble. One thing I did to make money was sell my study guides and Quizlets. This is honestly a great way to make money and totally legal!

Before a test I would make online flash cards and tell the flashcards for 3 dollars or so. I would end up making 30 dollars selling a Quizlet I would have made to study myself anyways!

22. Talk To Your Advisor

At your school you will have your own advisor for your major. Talk to them frequently. They can make sure you are on the right path to graduate on time. They can also advise what classes to take that can help for you graduate earlier!

For example, there were classes I was able to take that knocked out 2 class requirements while only taking one class. I would have never known this without talking to my advisor!

23. Be Safe/ Protect Yourself

It's sad but true. College can be a scary place for girls. You need to watch your surroundings and stay aware! I carried my pepper spray around everywhere just in case.

24. Schedule Classes Close Together

I would recommend scheduling your classes close together. Yes, having back to back classes may seem hard at first but it gets your day done faster.

I thought it was a good idea to schedule my classes far apart and I ended up going back to my dorm, falling back asleep, and not wanting to go to my next class. Just get them over with all at once! 

25. Schedule Classes When You Are Most Productive

If you weren't a morning person in high school, you definitely won't be in college. You may think an 8AM class is great compared to your 7AM high school start time but I'm telling you something changes your freshman year at college. If you have a hard time getting up early do yourself a favor and schedule your classes later.

BUT, if you are an early bird, schedule your classes in the morning! I'm such an early riser and get burnt out by like 3pm so I hated having class past 1. Try to schedule your classes around times when you are most productive. 

26. Take Advantage Of The Benefits Your Tuition Pays For

Meals, printers, tutoring, you name it, your tuition probably pays for it! Make sure you know what your tuition is paying for and don't spend money on things you don't need to. 

27. Check If There Is A Bus System/ Ride Share Through Your Campus

Make sure to check if your school has free public transit. Luckily mine did and because my school's campus was so big, I rode the bus all the time. This was free and great for rainy days! I had tons of friends that just never used it because they didn't know how. So learn how it works and use it.

I would also look into other ride share options your campus offers. At my school they pretty much had free Ubers. Not many people knew about it so it's definitely something to look into. 

28. Visit Other Colleges/ Travel

College is the perfect time to travel! Other than school and work, you have almost no responsibilities! You will never have time like this again. Take advantage of this and visit your friends at other schools, go to the beach, or go to concerts. This was honestly my favorite part about being on my own.

29. Prepare For Friends To Stay With You

I would recommend keeping an air mattress around for when friends come to stay. This doesn't need to be an expensive air mattress considering your friends will probably be passing out drunk anyways lol...

I neglected to buy this and ended up having to squeeze into my twin dorm bed with my friend when she came to stay. 

30. Don't Take Your Card To Bars

I cannot tell you how many times I heard people talking about how they got drunk and spent hundreds of dollars at the bar. I may have spent a little too much a time or too as well.

Pull out cash before you go out and when the cash is out, you're done buying!

31. Beware Of Parking Tickets

At my school there were designated parking zones for everyone and parking in the wrong one could land you with a $50 parking ticket! This was money I definitely did not have so just be careful where you park. 

32. Don't Be Afraid To Ask Random People To Hang Out

Pretty much everyone is looking for new friends freshman year of college so don't be afraid to reach out to a person you have met once or twice and ask them to hang out! I had people do this to me and it honesty made me feel so good.

33. Bring The Right Clothes

If you're going to college out of state, make sure you know what to bring. For example, if you are going to school in California, you probably won't need rain boots. But, in Alabama it rains all the time so make sure to prepare well!

34. Pack Smart

When packing for school, make sure you pack smart. This means packing in storage bins you can also use for extra storage in your dorm. I used both of the storage items above when moving in and kept them under my bed to store my seasonal clothing.

35. Prepare For Community Bathrooms

Community bathrooms are usually super gross so prepare accordingly. I definitely recommend a mesh shower caddy instead of a plastic one so water doesn't fill up in all your stuff.

Shower shoes are a necessity and a towel wrap will make carrying your stuff to the bathroom much easier since you won't be having to hold your towel.

36. Keep In Touch With Hometown Friends

I know for some people it was really hard to leave home and for others they couldn't wait to get out of their home town. One thing I would suggest doing though is keeping in touch with hometown friends. Once you get back home for summer you will want people to hang out with so make sure to keep in touch with your friends back home.

You would be surprised how much your friendships from home can grow while in school. One of my best friends from home now was not my best friend before college!

37. Become Friends With Your RA

I remember my roommate and I were the only ones to follow our RA on Instagram and she remembered us ever since. Your RA is not much older than you and they want friends too! Plus, making friends with your RA will keep you from getting in trouble ๐Ÿ˜‰

38. Don't Pay For Tutoring

Pretty much every college has free tutoring. Take advantage of this! Even if you can't find a private tutor for free, there are usually review sessions for certain classes right before exams that are super helpful.

39. Take Time Alone

One of the biggest parts of college is your social life. Going out with friends and going to parties is always fun but make sure to take time to yourself too! This will reduce stress and let you catch up on things you need to get done.

Moral of the story, don't be afraid to stay in one night when your friends are going out! Everyone needs some alone time. 

40. Monitor Your Eating Choices

I know we have all heard of the freshman 15 and it is real. Luckily I didn't gain any weight in college (mostly because I was too broke to eat out lol) but it does happen. Monitor what you eat and try to limit how much you eat out. Not only will this prevent you from gaining weight, it will also save you money.

41. Do Not Try To Cheat

Cheating on tests in college is pretty much impossible because they make different versions of tests, check your ID, and a ton of other things to prevent cheating. Even if you think you can get away with it, it is never a good idea to try and cheat. Cheating could automatically fail you from a class or even lose scholarship money.

42. Expect To Pay More Than You Thought

This goes along with managing your money, but budget more money than you expect to pay for school. There are always costs you don't think about like textbooks and computer applications you need to pay for for school.

For example, there was a website I had to pay $100 dollars a semester for that was mandatory for doing my homework. Luckily I had budgeted a couple hundred extra dollars the first couple months but this was something I was not planning on having to spend money on.

43. Be Yourself

As cheesy at it sounds, being yourself is the best advice I can give to freshman going to college. College is the time to find who you really are so don't waste time pretending to be someone you aren't!

This post was all about the best college tips freshman should know.

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Comments

  1. Wow, what a great long post, I don’t think there was one single thing that you missed! Great tips!

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