Every college student will have their priorities. For myself, it was having fun and multitasking a successful college career.

Throughout my freshman year, I quickly learned that sometimes going by the “book” isn’t the best way to learn and be as productive as possible in college (at least for me!).

Through my suffering, hopefully, some of my tips for college freshman will allow you to avoid the mistakes I did and or help yours through your freshman year of college.

With this, brings up my most important piece of advice that I’ve ever received:

  • Sleep more than you study.
  • Study more than you sleep.
  • Party as much as you possibly can.

Advice From A College Freshman; For College Freshman

Academic, Classes and Studying Tips / Dorm and Living Tips / Extracurricular Activities / Healthy Living and Stress Management / Money and Finances / Schedule Planning / Social and Misc Life Tips

    Academic, Classes and Studying Tips

  1. Know Your Syllabus: If you know what is coming out, you can prepare for it. Therefore, if you know you have a huge exam coming up; don’t go out.
    • Is this exam only worth 5% of your final grade or 25%? Will passing this exam either make or break my final grade?
  2. Go To Class: This sounds obvious, yet I find a lot of people simply skip class because they are lazy. Studies have shown there to be a direct correlation to better grades for students who attend class.
  3. Stick To One Major: A lot of people will end up bashing me for this, but lets be real here; when you grow up, are you really going to be using your criminal justice, marketing, and animal science, majors? Don’t waste your time trying to do everything.
  4. Stay Organized: Having everything organized will allow you to easily find your files and papers that you need to turn in. My favorite setup is something like this: College/Freshman-Year/Fall-Semester/Math150 and so on. This quickly will help you find your files presently and in the past if you need to look something up.
  5. Utilize Notecards: I’m a huge fan of notecards and studying techniques, therefore find the best way for you to study and use it!
  6. Tutors Are Cool: Unlike the typical High School mentality, having a tutor in college is NOT a big deal. Trust me. In fact, failing a class because you didn’t get help is more looked down upon.
  7. Create A Resume and a Cover Letter: When the time comes, you’ll quickly realize you need to turn in a resume and creating one from scratch takes some time. Therefore having a rough template and only having to update it can help.
  8. Go To The Career Fair, Even If You’re Not Interested: This is a tip I wish I utilized more, but the more comfortable you are with recruiters, the better you’ll be pitching yourself to people.
  9. Create A Personal Pitch: Not everyone is in sales, but you will eventually have to pitch yourself to a company and to have that paragraph that describes you can help you land that dream job.
  10. Start Study Groups: Little did I know how much study groups would help get through certain classes. Sometimes these groups would be simply splitting up the study guides and or helping through the problems. Just be careful who you choose to help get through your classes as they may not put as much effort as you do.
  11. Do Extra Credit: More often than not, your classes will not offer extra credit in my experience; but do it if you can! Even if you don’t need it. When the end of the semester comes, you may need only 1 or 2 points to eek out that next letter grade. Don’t be like me and miss out on these easy points!
  12. Professional and Career Tips

  13. Find Internships: More often than not, finding a internship now instead of later will help you later in life. One of my close friends found an internship freshman year in which allowed him to find internships later on in college. Most are even well-known world wide *cough* Google *cough* Microsoft.
  14. Take On A Side Project: Sometimes learning a new skill or hobby will allow you to stand out. Being an MIS Major, I learned how to code applications. Obviously not the most valuable skills, but they are great conversation pieces, and I’ve had fun in the process. Plus this will further allow you to be a well-rounded student and hopefully open more doors for you.
  15. Be Productive: You won’t know what tomorrow will bring, therefore being a step ahead of the game will allow you to get ahead and be ready for the unknown. If you have a free day, try your best to get something and anything done in order to make the rest of your week a little easier. Just do anything productive.
  16. Dorm and Living Tips

  17. Freshman Year Should Be In The Dorms – Period: If I didn’t live in the dorms freshman year, I wouldn’t have any of the friends I have to day; let alone have the girlfriend who I have now.
  18. ALWAYS Keep Your Door Open: For many, this is the first time you won’t already have friends in college. Keeping that door open allows you to meet new people.
  19. Dorm Bathrooms Are Gross: Wear flip-flops and NEVER go barefoot in these places.
  20. Lock Your Door: Coming from a small dorm, I rarely locked my door which may or may not be a great thing. In fact, I even had a ton of people just hangout in my dorm when I wasn’t even home. Heck, it was nice having friends near my at all times, yet it left my room open to anyone willing to steal.
  21. Know Your Laundry Habits: One of my best friends didn’t realize his mom always hung up his jeans to dry. Little did he know that the dryer would end up shirking his jeans two sizes too small..
  22. Don’t Leave Your Clothes In The Washer: Love your favorite sweatshirt? How about those new jeans? Well, if you end up leaving your clothes in the laundry room, you may not see them again…
  23. New Clothes Need Extra Attention: Being from a school that has a lot of “red” styled clothes, I quickly learned that you need to make sure your new colored clothes don’t get stuck with all your white shirts and socks unless you want everything looking the same color.
  24. Respect Your Roommate and Be Straightforward With Them: Oddly enough, a roommate is very similar to a relationship. Therefore, quit the BS and be honest with them.
  25. Don’t Burn Your Popcorn: This will smell up your entire dorm and will quickly make people hate you. Don’t be that guy.
  26. Throw What You Can: At Iowa State University, freshman students would get a lot of free things and obviously with it being free; I would grab anything and everything. Little did I remember that I would end up having to pack up all this extra “crap” when I moved out at the end of the year.
  27. Extracurricular Activities

  28. Do Something That Relates To Your Major: Whether this means you take on a part-time job or work on a side project; having that extra conversation peace in an interview is invaluable compared to your classmates.
  29. Get Involved: Join your favorite club and meet some new people. At the very least, take the initiative and put yourself out there; one way or another.
  30. Explore Campus and Surrounding Town: Being a student who was out of state, simply emplorering the campus and surrouding area was extremely benefitial. Take a moment and see what your campus and state has to offer! Don’t miss out on this simple idea because it’s not where “all the college kids go”.

    Healthy Living and Stress Management

  31. Take Care of Yourself: Don’t be part of the freshman 15, get out there and utilize your on-campus gyms. Don’t get me wrong, enjoy the awesome food and pizza,
    but just take a moment and reflect on your eating habits a little!
  32. Set Qualifiable and Achievable Goals Every Semester: Everyone loves to complete something and strive to be better, therefore having goals that you can do and look forward to knocking off is a great way to be a better student overall.
  33. Start a Campus Bucketlist: Sometimes goals are not a thing for some, therefore simply having a bucket list to work towards often help people.
  34. Get To Know Your Campus Resources: I feel this is one of the most under-utilized tricks in college and many don’t even know about all the things a college campus offers. For instance, there may be free tech support or even 10 hours of free therapy sessions every semester available.
  35. Money and Finances

  36. Take Control of Your Finances: Learn the ins and outs of your finances along with any loans you’re taking out. Not only will this help you realize your situation, but it will also allow you to save money by not having to hire someone else to do it. Note: TurboTax is my friend and hopefully yours too. It’s so easy; my grandpa uses it.
  37. Avoid The Bookstore: AVOID the campus bookstore unless you want to waste money. Take a moment and explore online textbook rentals. One of my favorite places to rent textbooks is over at Amazon. For more information about saving textbook costs, check out my posts about that overe here. Through Amazon and other websites, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars every semester! Sign up for Amazon and Join Prime Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students
  38. Open a Credit Card ASAP: Building Credit in college will be important for later in life. Therefore, get that card open and start making perfect payments. Simply just treat it as a debit card and don’t over spend.
  39. Utilize Student Discounts:College Students have student discounts. Yes, discounts! There are a lot of companies who offer student discounts as long as you have a college email or ID! Don’t miss out on these really easy perks. In fact, Amazon is offering FREE AMAZON PRIME 2 Day Shipping just for being a student. Join Prime Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students
  40. Schedule Planning

  41. Plan Your Schedule and College Experience: If you’re looking to study abroad and explore the world, make sure that is planned and possible with your schedule. Don’t get stuck doing another semester simply because you didn’t plan correctly.
  42. Plan GPA Booting Courses: In college, I’m sure you may not think there is this option, yet there are many ways to boost your GPA. For instance, you can plan to take all your “hard” classes at a community college and transfer them in. For my college, these transfer classes wouldn’t bring in their GPA; therefore you would take as many easy classes at your “main” college as you can in order to boost your overall cumulative GPA.
  43. Utilize Your Advisors: They are there to help you, yet make sure you double check what they say. Sometimes they are not always right, and this is YOUR schedule. So, take ownership of it and double check.
  44. Know Your Registration Date: Being the first to jump on registration for classes will help you get that schedule you want and avoid those 8AMs and 6-9PM night classes.
  45. Find The BEST Professors: Sadly, not all professors are the same. Some will be easier, others will be harder, and some may make the class nearly impossible. Make your life easier and take the best professor for each course. I’ve come to enjoy a site called RateMyProfessor.com as it can give reviews for your professors and give you guidance.
  46. Thoroughly Plan Out Your Semesters: With this, even have a plan B in case you don’t get into all the classes that you want to take.
  47. Social and Misc Life Tips

  48. Get To Know Yourself: Figure out what you enjoy and what YOU like to do. This will help guide you through the next four years.
  49. Meet Everyone You Can: Meeting more people will allow you to create connections like you never did before. Through these friends, you can experience campus and new things much easier.
  50. First Impressions Mean A lot: As much as I want to say first impressions mean nothing, they mean a lot to a ton of people. Therefore, make sure you be the best person you can be and appear as such. This includes being well-groomed and friendly to everyone you meet. Don’t be fake, but try to be the person you are.
  51. Look Out For Your Friends: Honestly, I hate to say this; Some people will do hard; therefore make sure you look out for your friends.
  52. Don’t Walk Alone: Walking alone at night can allow for “bad” things to happen. I prefer to keep my friends safe, therefore simply walking in a group can and does help avoid these dangerous situations.
  53. Install Adblocker for Chrome: I’m a huge Chrome fan, and Adblocker will make your Youtube and movie life so much easier. Thank me later…
  54. Live a Little: You will only experience college once, so make sure you do everything you want to do.
  55. Call Home Often and Consistently: For many, this will be the first time you’re away from home for a long time. Trust me, your grandparents and parents would love a call from you, and this can go a long way. Even as little as once a week means a lot.
  56. Buy Quality Headphones: Having great headphones will allow you to not only block out the noise but also replace that noise with whatever you want too.
  57. Treat Others As You’d Like To Be Treated: There will be a time where you will need help from others; whether you are drunk or just need a helping hand. Just make sure you treat everyone as you’d like to be treated. Be a good friend.
  58. Be Open To New Experiences and Change: Having a new start and meeting a ton of different people will bring a lot of new experiences. Therefore, be accepting and don’t judge! Believe me, this is a lot harder than it seems; but you’ll be a much more rounded student with this mentality.
  59. Either Bring a Car and Get to Know Someone with A Car: Having a car makes those midnight grocery trips or school supply trips that much easier.
  60. College Is More Than Finding Parties: Okay, I know and get that there will be a lot of partying your freshman year but don’t ruin your later years. Think things through and make sure you know what you are doing so if something goes wrong, you can take ownership of it.
  61. Set Multiple Alarms: After nearly missing my 8 AM presentation, I quickly learned that having multiple alarms set on my phone was needed for those moments unplanned..
  62. Bring Your Bike: Being an effective student requires making the most of your time; therefore having your bike will help you get across campus in record time. Even though my university has a very good bus system, I still found a bike to allow some of the fastest travel times. Heck, you’ll also burn a few calories too.

And with that, hopefully, these tips will help you have a better freshman year than I did! College is nothing to be scared about, and life is all about learning. Take each pitfall as a learning experience, and I know you will get through just fine.

Did you have any tips that helped you have a better freshman year? Comment below!

Maxwell Emerson
I'm Max and I'm the brains behind College Coverage. Currently, I'm a Senior at Iowa State University and majoring in MIS. Through one hack at a time, I'm looking to make college a more enjoyable and easier experience. Think I missed something? Have a good suggestion? Comment or Tweet at me and I'll fix it!

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