8 Top Tips for New College Freshmen: Practical Advice You Need
by Max Basaraba
Going to college is a big, scary, exciting and an experience that is often unforgettable.
College is also expensive and stressful. So you want to be as prepared as possible, to make the most of it. And there is plenty you can do before freshmen year - in the summer before going - and when you arrive that should make it more enjoyable, more successful and less stressful.
Preparation makes starting college much easier. Although try to strike the right balance between preparing and not overthinking.
Would it surprise you to learn that around 50% of college freshmen drop out during or after the first year? According to American College Testing (ACT) research, around half of freshmen students regret the first choice they made for university, and the majority who drop out join another college.
It might also surprise you to learn that 40% of students who start a 4-year degree course take longer than 4 years to complete it, costing them more debt, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. It pays to prepare.
It pays to know as much about a college, the courses, the tutors and how to manage your time effectively before going. Here are 8 top tips on how you can do that:
What to do during the summer before freshman year:
Tip 1: Get to know the campus
For those who are moving away from home and living on or near campus, this is going to be your new neighborhood. If you can, get to know it. Even stay over and get a good look around if you can. Take a good wander around and explore so that you are more familiar with it when you move there.
Tip 2: Got roommates? Get to know them
There is nothing worse than getting to college and being assigned a roommate you don't know. Thankfully, with social media, you've got a chance to get to know them beforehand. If you've been given their contact details, reach out and see how compatible you are going to be before term starts.
It can also be useful to contact roomies beforehand to avoid duplicating any larger accessories you are planning on buying for your college room (such as a fridge, etc).
Tip 3: Join campus and class social groups online
Beyond your roomies, it’s always helpful to join college Facebook and other online groups or chats (Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc). This way, you can start making friends and getting to know others who are all in the same boat and all looking forward to starting college.
Tip 4: Buy your essential supplies
Before going to college, make sure to buy everything you need. From laptops to furniture, stationary, books and new clothes; whatever you need and can afford, the summer beforehand is the time to get prepared.
Tip 5: Save as much money as possible
College is expensive.
Many students need to work while they're at college, so it’s useful to fit in as much work as you can before going to college. Update your resume. Find a job. Work as much as you can, while still enjoying summer if you can - once you go to college everything changes and you will probably miss family and friends.
Once you get to college, there are numerous things freshmen need to consider. We've condensed this to a handful of top tips.
What to do when you get to college:
Tip 1: Plan your time
College students have a lot to juggle: studying, work, extra curricular activities and a social life.
Plan your time well. One way to ensure you graduate on time without accumulating too much debt is to have a study plan. Use an app such as Prepler to create a real-time study plan. Map out a clear route and navigate your way to the grades you need and major you have in mind.
Tip 2: Network like crazy
College isn't only about the academic side of life. Who you know can go a long way towards creating the right types of opportunities after graduation.
Not only does this include your fellow students. Your tutors, professors and academic supervisors are the people who can write letters of recommendation that can have an impact on future prospects. Get to know as many people as you can. And get known, in the right way, so that people remember you after they graduate.
Tip 3: Find a job
Don't limit yourself to the super competitive on-campus jobs either. Look further afield, but make sure you aren't spending so much time working that your studies suffer and you’ve got no time for anything else. Do your best to juggle, which is why having a plan and being super organized really helps.
And we could go on! There is so much that new freshmen need to know. Going to college is such an awesome experience. More top tips for new freshmen to come in blogs we will publish soon!