Advice for College Freshmen

When you think of “college,” what springs to mind? A chance to further your education and get a head start on your career?  The opportunity to start over and define who you are as a person?  A way to get away from home?

For most people it tends to be a combination of many things. Whatever your idea of the college experience may be, one thing is for certain: the transition from high school to college can take some getting used to.

You’re granted much more freedom and independence; you’ve got the power to choose what you want to do. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility.  It can be easy to lose track of what’s important with this new found independence, but by being mindful of what changes you can expect in college life you should be off to a great start.

Here is some advice for college freshmen on how to adjust to the social, academic, and professional climate of college.


Academic life in college can take some time to adjust to, as it is so different from high school.   Organization and time management are invaluable skills that will help you succeed in your classes. You’ll want to have a binder or notebook and folder for everyone of your classes.

Make sure you hang on to each of your classes syllabus, as professors will expect you to know your due dates and exam days. Additionally, consider keeping a day planner and marking all of your due dates ahead of time. This way no assignments or tests will sneak up on you last minute.

College students listening to a university lecture

Another important part of academics is building relationships with your professors. You don’t want to be just another face in the crowd. Be sure to ask questions and show that you are interested in learning. They will get to know you better and they might be more willing to help you in the future with other matters such as recommendations or class enrollment. You’ll also learn more, which never hurts.

Finally, and most importantly, go to class. It can be tempting to skip classes in college, especially in bigger lecture-based courses where there seem to be no immediate consequences.  You don’t want to fall behind with your schoolwork because it can be very difficult to catch back up.  Also, a lot of schools have attendance policies that will hurt your grade if violated.

Social Life

Social life also tends to be very different in college than in high school. In college you tend not to see the same people day in and day out like in high school. For that reason, you should try to get involved in activities and clubs on your campus.  our school should have a list of activites and clubs that they offer on their website.

Do some research and pick out what interests you. Do you like music? Check to see if your school has a campus radio station. Do you like helping people? Just about every campus has numerous service clubs.  Be careful in joining clubs though.

A common mistake is simply getting too involved. You don’t want to get in over your head with commitments that you can’t keep. It is best to pick two or three clubs that interest you and then going from there. Additionally, intramural sports are a great way to meet new people while staying healthy.

social activities

The beginning of your freshman year is the best time to try and meet new people.  Just about everyone will be in the same boat as you, just trying to find people they get along with. So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with complete strangers in your dorm or out on campus, they’ll usually be very receptive, and who knows?  You could meet your new best friend. You’ll never know until you try.

The beginning of your college career can be a very exciting time. It will also set the pace for the rest of your time there.  If you follow this advice for college freshmen you should be on a great start to a successful, fulfilling college experience.

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John Rademaker

John Rademaker

John Rademaker is a junior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in Electronic Media. At school he enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, and working at the campus radio station. Away from school he can be found exploring his hometown, spending time with his family, and listening to music.
John Rademaker

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