Unofficial Orientation Guide for College Freshman

Where do you receive the first glimpse of what you can expect on your new adventure as a college freshman? Orientation.

There will be a set couple of days in the summer or after move-in day for your orientation. This program is designed to help you transition from a high school student into an informed student of ________.*insert your college or university here*

However, there are some important tips that I can give you that might not get mentioned in the college’s standard orientation. Sure, you’ll need to know how the college operates, who to go to for help, where to find your classes, and how to fit into the student body, but that’s only one part of the introduction to college.

After orientation, there are still other things you can do to smoothly become a new student at college. You’re already going to have a lot to get used to, so why draw attention to yourself as a freshman? You’ll want to blend into the student body.

Here are some additional tips I can give you that will hopefully make your transition into college as a freshman a little easier.

  • Don’t wear the lanyard they give you at orientation around your neck.


I was told by orientation leaders that this is the easiest way for everyone on campus to know that you are a brand new freshman. Of course, keep your lanyard, ID, and keys with you when you leave your dorm; just keep them in your pocket or backpack.

  • Don’t wear your college shirt every day.


I know you’re excited to be attending college, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear that same college shirt every day. Of course, show your school spirit! Just don’t wear that apparel every day; mix in your own fashion as well.

  • Don’t carry a campus map in front of your face.


I know you’re still trying to navigate around campus, but try to figure out your route before leaving your dorm room. Walking with your face down in a map is a clear sign to other students that you’re a freshman.

Try to map out your way to class beforehand, but if you get lost—ask a nearby student. I’m sure an upperclassman will be more than willing to help lead you in the right direction. You might just make a new friend!

  • Don’t shut the door; Get to know the people on your floor.


Especially during your move-in weekend, be sure to get to know the people on your floor. This is the perfect time to knock on your fellow floormate’s doors and introduce yourself. Don’t worry, this isn’t weird! They are just as eager to meet new people as you are.

Also, be sure to leave your door open. They may mention this at orientation, but I just want to stress how helpful it is for making friends with the people who live around you.

  • Don’t take over the room; be flexible with your roommate.

college roommate

This may be the first time you’ve ever had to share a room with someone—especially a complete stranger. The best way to make a good impression on your roommate is to be friendly and respectful.

Make sure to keep your things on your half of the room and be accommodating to their lifestyle as well. If you talk to your roommate and discuss how you like to live (although that may seem awkward), I guarantee you will establish an efficient and happy environment in your shared dorm room.

  • Don’t head back home too soon.


Once you get settled down at college, don’t head home on the first or second weekend. As homesick as you may become, I promise you’ll be better off staying on campus until at least midterm break.

It’s impossible for you to adjust to college life if you head home right away. This will only blur the lines between your home life and college life.

As scary as the transition may seem, once you get settled into your dorm and college campus, I promise you’re going to have an awesome freshman year!

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Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk is a junior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in communication with a concentration in electronic media as well as a minor in English. While not in class, Stephanie is involved in a service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and a honors professional fraternity, Phi Beta Chi. Outside of academic and community activities, she enjoys dancing hip hop, reading, spending time with friends, and doing yoga.