10 Tips For A Successful Freshman Year At College

10 Tips For A Successful Freshman Year At College

Learning the ropes of college can be tricky, however by implementing these tips it's a little bit easier.


These are the top tips that I've implemented in my own life and found to be the most successful!

Expect change.

Once your parents drop you off on move-in day, your whole life changes. You have to learn how to live on your own and be accountable for all of your responsibilities. So, just expect your entire life to change overnight. However, it's okay to take time to adjust to all of the changes college brings. It is okay to feel overwhelmed and unsure how you will navigate it all, trust me you will learn as you go. In college, you just really have to embrace change and run towards it, not away from it.

Get organized.

If there's one thing you should definitely purchase before starting your college career, it's a planner. Using a planner has been my life support for managing my classes and workload. By writing everything down it's impossible to forget due dates. You don't want to be the kid in class having no clue an assignment was due. So, get organized and write everything down. It'll pay off and help keep all of your responsibilities in check.

Stay informed.

I never used to check my email on a daily basis until I started attending college. You wouldn't believe all of the important information you will receive via email when you're in college. Checking your email everyday will definitely help you stay more informed and aware of what's going on. In college it's up to you to know what's happening. Whether you're supposed to bring a certain book to class, index cards, or if class is cancelled, the message will probably be conveyed over an email. So, check your email, it's a life saver. Also, pay attention to the posters and events going on on campus. Knowing when certain events are taking place is apart of staying informed and up to date.

Don't go too crazy.

One thing I have witnessed while being at college is how some students go a little too crazy during their first year. It's all from being away from home and not having to ask your parents for permission anymore. This new found freedom is great, but don't over do it. Most every college student goes out partying sometimes, but I wouldn't recommend making it an every weekend event. Or at least pick Friday or Saturday night and not both. I'm not saying this to be lame and sound like your mom, I am saying this because I have seen how students partying as affected their grades. By staying out late during the weekends, you're tired and probably push all of your assignments to Sunday night. This just stresses you out even worse because now you have a long list of things to do and you're exhausted. So, don't party every weekend because it makes getting your school work done ten times harder.

Stay focused.

This tip goes along with the previous one. Since your parents aren't with you telling you to do your homework, check email, or that you can't go to a party, it makes all of your choices and actions your responsibility. The main thing I like to remind myself when I am at college and feeling tired or just a little lazy, is that going to college is a privilege. I remind myself that some people would love to be where I am right now and it helps me stay focused. Also, I think just the environment of a college campus is motivating. Everyone wants to succeed and make good grades and that too reminds me to stay focused on my studies. When you think about how much debt you and your family are going into in order for your college education, this is also a good reminder to stay focused on your classes. Because why would you want to waste your time and money (also your parents time and money)? There can be a lot of distractions in college, but by reminding yourself these things you can stay grounded and always remember why you're there in the first place.

Branch out.

There are so many different clubs and organizations at colleges and universities, there is bound to be one or two of interest to you. I highly encourage new college students to join at least one club or organization. It helps you stay involved on campus and can also be a means to meeting new people and making new friends. At my particular university, there's an involvement fair every semester. During this event all of the clubs and organizations come out and have booths promoting them. I attended this event and it's how I found out and joined clubs. It's even how I found out about the Odyssey and decided to join. If I didn't go that event you probably wouldn't even be reading this right now because I wouldn't have an Odyssey account! My point to all of this is to get involved in something you care about at your college. It can turn into a really beneficial thing for you as a person and can open doors you didn't even know where there.

Be social. 

Making friends in college is a lot harder than making them in high school. In college there are so many more people and names to remember sometimes it makes forming friendships more difficult. However, just by trying to talk to the people in your classes, you can find some new friends, but you have to talk. You can't expect new friendships to form on their own or fall into your lap. You have to be willing to put yourself out there more and to talk to new people. Making friends at college is definitely more of a challenge, but it's one you can overcome.

It's okay to want some alone time. 

College is stressful. Sometimes when things get to be a little much, you just want to relax by yourself, don't be ashamed to do so. Everyone needs a little break now and then so take one if you feel like you need it. If you live with a roommate and want some time to yourself, find a place on campus where can go and just be alone (a safe place of course). College can get hectic and overwhelming at times, so taking a time out from it all is completely okay.

Go home when you need a break.

If you live on campus and college life is kicking your butt a little bit, just go home for a weekend. I highly recommend attending a college or university that's relatively close to where you live, maybe 1-4 hours away. I think this because sometimes you just need a break, and that's okay. When I first started college I went home pretty much every weekend. At the time I felt like I needed to escape from it all for a little while. Wanting to go home and see your family and friends is one-hundred percent okay. Don't feel like its showing a sign of weakness for wanting a little break. Just listen to yourself and what conscience is telling you and you'll thank yourself later.

Focus on your grades but know it's okay to have a life too.

Grades are very important in college and in school in general. Everyone wants to succeed and try their absolute best to get the highest grades possible. It is good to be self-motivated and to want to succeed, however it's still important to have a life too. Don't make studying, writing papers, and only doing school work your entire college life. There's a lot more to college than just the school work and grades. It's important to make some friends and to be able to hangout and talk to people who really care how you're doing. It's also important to keep in touch with your friends and family back home. Going to college can make keeping relationships with people harder, but not impossible. Talking to your friends and family should be just as important as maintaining good grades. Having people to talk to and hangout with is very important. You can't just do school work all of time, you would probably go crazy. So, it's okay to stop studying and call your mom or an old friend just to talk. Everyone needs more to their life than just work.

And those are my top 10 tips to ace freshman year and your entire college experience!

Popular Right Now

10 Ways College Is 100% NOTHING Like High School

Once-a-day showers go to dry shampoo for four days straight.


As a college freshman well into their second semester, it has officially occurred to me just how different, and often times better, college is compared to its predecessor, high school.

Here are just 10 ways the two could not be MORE different:

1. How you sleep

You'll go from waking up three hours before school to three minutes before class

2. How you hygiene

Once-a-day showers develop into dry shampoo for four days straight.

3. How you eat

Pizza goes from a once-in-a-while treat to an everyday food group.

4. How you socialize

You'll go from being nice to everyone to disliking people for no reason.

5. How much effort you put into your appearance

High school contour was on fleek and now there's somehow mascara on your forehead.

6. How you nap

Naps go from two hours to 10 minutes.

7. How you operate heavy machinery

Driving goes from 10 and 2 with perfectly lined up mirrors to driving with your knees and eating a taco.

8. Your classmates

High school classes are with all of your friends and college classes have strangers in them almost every day.

9. The people teaching you things

High school teachers are scary and mean, while college professors become your friends.

10. Textbooks

High school textbooks are provided where college textbooks need to be bought with another student loan.

Cover Image Credit: Instargram//Madsbythesea

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Reasons Why Staying At College For The Summer Is The Ultimate Power Move

No school, no rules, summer vacation at the best place on Earth, also known as college.


As summer begins, it brings in the joy of no more school but for most what summer really brings is the sad realization that we have to leave our favorite place and go back to our boring home town with none of our new best friends. Although some have decided to stay at college for the summer and they will soon realize why this will be the best choice that they will be making all summer.


What's better than no school, warm weather, and most importantly no one to say, "Are you just going to sleep till 2:30 p.m. every day this summer?"

1. It's like the weekend, but every day

Do you know what weekends felt like during the school year when you didn't have anything to do? No? You never had any free weekends? Wow, I'm so sorry. Well, imagine a weekend that you didn't have to do anything. Now multiply that one weekend by seven and you get seven Saturday like days where you do not have a single care in the world.

3. No "Go cut the grass!"

For the sons, you know that annoying time every week when your dad is going to say, "Go cut the grass." There is nothing you can do to get out of it. Well, staying at school for the summer means no more nagging. You get to choose what you do now.

4. The bond of friendship

The friends you make when you stay at college for the summer are different than any other bond. Mostly because you all don't have a care in the world since it's summer in your favorite place. It's a right of passage to call someone your summer college best friends. These are best friends that words wouldn't do justice.

5. The townies

Everybody always wonders what happens to a college town when all the college kids go home. Well, the townies come back in full swing and take their town back. If you stay at your college, you get to experience what most can't even describe in words. To the one mid-40s guy trying to relive his glory days. To the old men hitting on the college girls at the local pub. To the weird towny creatures that make you shiver with fright as you drive past them. Have fun townies, you only have three months.

That dream of "I wish I could just stay here at college with all these people but have no responsibilities" is finally coming true.

Related Content

Facebook Comments