When I was a freshman, I had no idea what to expect. I wish I had known what I know now. As a senior, here's my advice to all of the upcoming freshmen.
For residential students, it can be easy to overpack for college when you don't know what to expect. You don't need to bring 40 pairs of jeans, trust me. Just bring a few weeks worth of outfits, plus things for special occassions like formal wear, rain boots, athletic wear, and a warm coat. If you're able to go home during the semester, you don't need to pack for all four seasons, just a few weeks or months in advance. Don't forget to bring your tolietries, laundry essentials, and a first aid kit. However, you don't need everything. Skip the candles, hot plates, heaters, heating blankets, and other fire-hazards that your school forbids. If you have a roommate, ask them about what he or she is bringing. You and your roommate may decide that you can share a mini-fridge and microwave, instead of bringing two. That's a real space saver.
You may have gotten away with not taking notes in high school, but now is the time to start. Organizing your notes by class, type (from a lecture or from the book), and date is always helpful when you're trying to find something specific while cramming for finals. It can also be helpful to color coordinate your notes. If you can't be in class, ask a friend or acquaintance that is good at taking notes to share their notes. I would recommend you don't overdo this though, and go to class when you are able.
Get Familiar With Your Campus.
Your classes, and dorm or sorority/fraternity house, aren't the only places that you need to know on campus. It's a good idea to know the entire campus, but there are some very important places on every campus. The first place is the clinic, if you get sick, this is the place to go. If your school has a mental health clinic, you may also be interested in finding out where it is. The next place you need to know is the financial aid office. This is one of the most important places to know if you have student loans, scholarships, or a payment plan for your tuition. The third place you need to know is the registration office. Depending on your school's policy, you may either be going here to register, or need to go here if your online-registration gets messed up. Career Services is another great place to know if you're looking for a job or internship. Don't forget about the campus post-office, if you're a residential student. The gym is another great place to know, even if you're not an athlete. If you struggle with a subject, get to know if there is a tutoring resource center for that subject.
Get To Know These People.
There are certain people who are there to help you. The first is your advisor. This person is your educational resource, and is there for all your academic questions. Your advisor can help you choose a major (if you haven't already), figure out which classes you need to take, help you apply for future graduate programs, and so much more. If you're a residential student, it's good to know your R.A. (resident assistant or resident advisor), because they will be who you go to with questions and problems about your dorm. If your hall's dryer is broken, or you're locked out of the building, you're going to want to know this person's number. The head of the department for your major is also a good person to rub elbows with, if you want information about what's going on in your field.
Set goals for yourself, and try to exceed them. If you struggle with a certain class, set a goal to pass with a high grade. If you're not a very social person, set a goal to go to more parties, socials, and games. If you're shy, audition for a play or take a public speaking course. Whatever you want to improve, go for it. College is a time where you learn about yourself, and become who you want to be. Never be afraid to explore, develop new skills, and gain personal awareness.
Make Time For Yourself.
Between classes, studying, tests, auditions, practice, parties, etc., college life can get pretty busy. It's easy to become stressed. Try to schedule some "me time" every single week to give yourself a break. This could be anything you like to do to relax. You could try meditating, running, drawing, or practicing an instrument. You could even just watch TV. Whatever you like to do, make a little time for it, so the stress doesn't drive you crazy.
Go fearlessly into your freshman year, with all of this advice in tow. Find your passion, make a name for yourself, and succeed. You're a little better prepared now. Before you know it, you'll be a senior.