Tips and Tricks for College Freshmen

Three years ago, I was starting my freshman year at Purdue University. I was so excited and nervous to begin my college career. In May 2020, I will end my college career. As I look back on my time at Purdue, I think about the things I wish I was told as a college freshman. Here’s my list of tips and tricks for students beginning their freshman year. 

Get involved

Freshman year can be scary, especially when you are going to a new place where you may not have any friends. Colleges are great at providing opportunities for you to get involved. A quick way to meet people with the same interests as you is to join a club. A lot of schools have 1,000 or more ways to get involved, you just have to think about what interests you and go find your place. If you can’t seem to find one, there are also opportunities to start your own.

Sit by someone new

You’ll be tempted to sit by yourself in those general education classes that are in large lecture halls; I sure was. But it’ll be much easier to create a study group or ask for homework help if you know someone in your class. Chances are the person next to you will be grateful that you were braver to do something they wanted to do. So, on the first day of class get to know your classmates and maybe exchange phone numbers so it will be easier to connect in the future. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did. 

Don’t forget the fun

You are going to college to get an education and learn, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time studying. I have seen friends forget to go out every once and while and have fun. You don’t want to let your life pass you by as you stay holed up in your room. Now that being said, there must be balance. Make studying a priority while still finding a little time for fun. 

Set limits

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have an issue of wanting to join everything and anything you can. Set limits to your extracurriculars. Remember that college is completely different than high school and requires a lot of time management. Do not stress yourself out by taking too much on your plate. While it’s good to get involved, don’t over involve yourself to the point where your grades or your mental health suffers. You will have time in the next semester or year to join more things if you are still interested. 

Adjust first

The summer before I started my freshman year, I looked for jobs to have while I was in school. This was before I knew about all the clubs that I’d want to join. I was trying to make plans and arrangements before I even knew how college was going to be. I ended up not taking the job and I am so glad I didn’t because I would have missed out on events and exciting things, not to mention the increase of stress that I would have had. My advice is to at least wait until second semester of your first year to get a job.

Meet your professors

One thing I have heard so often is that students do not take advantage of faculty office hours. Contrary to popular belief your professors and instructors want to help you and want to see you succeed. Besides getting help, getting to know your professors can lead to several benefits. You’ll have someone to ask for a letter of recommendation when you need one. Also, when you are right on the edge of grade cutoff, most likely the professor will round your grade up because they have seen the amount of effort you have put in. 

Be proud of your school 

Go to sporting events. Wear your school’s colors and merchandise. Take part in your school’s traditions. These are things you are going to remember about your college years. Being proud of your school shows your passion and passion goes a long way.

Overall, starting college can be overwhelming and a little scary, but knowing what to expect is always good. These tips should help you get off to a good start to succeeding in the next four years. Whatever you may do, I hope that you love this time and make it the best it can be!

Pearson Students: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen? Share by commenting below!



Ashley Dittman is a senior studying Environmental Science with a concentration in water quality at Purdue University. She hopes to research the effects of pollution on the marine environment in the future. She is a huge Disney fan and can be often found at Disney World Orlando. She loves being with her family and friends, her dog Minnie, and everything Disney. Ashley has also studied abroad in Sydney, Australia where she got to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef. She is Purdue’s Pearson Campus Ambassador and loves all the cool programs she can do through Pearson.

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