As an educational consultant, I work with many high school seniors. Every year, I ask my former clients for advice to give my graduating high school seniors. I ask them to think about what would be helpful to know about college now that they have completed their first year.
Hindsight is 20/20. Therefore, they had lots to say.
Advice from college students to incoming first years
1. Time Management
Students are in class much less in college than in high school. Therefore, you must manage your time better by studying during your downtime. You must also manage your time with personal, work, athletic, and academic responsibilities with more free time between classes. Use a planner, calendar, or app to help you stay organized.
2. Meet People
The first people you meet will not necessarily be your best friends. Keep meeting people throughout your first year on your floor, dorm, cafeteria, parties, gym, and classroom. The more people you meet, the easier it will be to find ‘your people.’
3. Use the Tutoring Center
College isn’t necessarily more challenging than high school, but just different. You will have less daily homework and more long-term assignments, like essays, more significant projects, and more extensive tests. Utilize the tutoring center on campus to help prepare for tests and use the writing center to help write articles and papers.
4. Join Clubs
Join clubs that are of interest to you. You will meet people with shared interests and gain experience in a field you are interested in.
Get your rest, and make sure to take care of yourself. Students need to balance their lifestyle with exercise and getting enough sleep. A short nap is a good idea for many. Hydrate too!
6. Meet with Faculty
Make use of faculty office hours. The better you get to know your professors, the better you will do in the class. And you never know if/when you need a letter of recommendation from a professor! Go to faculty office hours!
7. Don’t Overpack
Bring what you need, and that’s it. You do not need to bring everything simultaneously unless you travel far to college. Regardless, do not buy extra stuff for your dorm room that you do not need.
8. Go to Career Services
Go to the office of career services early! Don’t wait until senior year to visit this office. Go early and get help with your resume. Learn about internship and job possibilities. You can prep for interviews there as well.
9. Don’t Call Mom Every Day
Try not to FaceTime or call daily. Building independence is vital during those first few weeks of freshman year. You are going to be ok. You’ve got this!
10. Be Kind to Yourself
You will have a period of adjustment during your first semester. You will feel homesick at some point. Be kind to yourself and seek out someone to talk with, like an RA, if need be.
More Great Reading: