Advice for Incoming Freshmen

Advice for Conquering Freshman Year 

You have just graduated high school and, though excited to start the next chapter of your life as a college student, you may be experiencing some anxiety, confusion, or stress as you think about the upcoming year. Navigating this new experience can be difficult, so here are some tips to help with the challenges from a current, first-year student! 


Explore Campus  

During your first couple days on campus, explore the area! Walking or driving around your campus will help you find where the main buildings are located, how much time you need to allocate toward getting to your classes, areas that might be fun to hang out at, or ideal study environments. Not only is taking the time to roam around your campus a good way to alleviate the stress of the unknown area, but this can also be a great opportunity to connect with other students on campus by inviting them to come with you. 

Take Advantage of Opportunities 

Many times, colleges will offer experiences that were not available in high school, and now is a great time to take advantage of those opportunities. These experiences can be as simple as attending sporting events, events offered by Residence Life groups, or showing up to club meetings. Many schools also offer a variety of recreational activities, interesting elective classes, study abroad opportunities, and much more. Whether you want to be more adventurous or would rather stick to low-key events, there will be something for you! Information for activities and events can be found on your school website, in your student email inbox, or on flyers around campus.  


  • Many opportunities are free or discounted for students!
  • You do not need to stick with everything you try.  


Determine what Makes YOU a Successful Student 

College is a time to have fun and get out of your comfort zone, however, academics should remain a priority. Colleges typically give students flexibility with their schedules (depending on your major and whether your school has specific programming for it), so it will be important to identify your preferences for learning. Some questions to ask yourself to ensure you are making choices that will help you succeed include the following: 

  • Do I learn best in online or face-to-face classes? 
  • What times of the day am I most likely to attend classes? 
  • Would I rather learn in a lecture hall or small classroom? 
  • Should I make study buddies in my classes so we can work on assignments outside of class time? 
  • Am I interested in the classes I am taking? 
      • Though first-year students will have required credits to take, many schools offer various classes that can fill those credits. 

Bring Gear for the Weather 

It is always the worst feeling being unprepared for the weather. Getting your outfit wet from unexpected rain or shivering on the way to class because you forgot your coat is not fun. It is necessary to think about the weather in the area when bringing clothing and gear to college. Some essentials may include an umbrella, rain jacket, winter coat, boots, sunscreen, and a fan for your room.  

Meet New People 

Meet new people and meet your people. College will expose you to many people and groups that will be similar and different to you, and establishing relationships is important, but can be very hard. One thing to remember when meeting new people in college is that you probably have more in common with them than you think. You could begin conversations by asking where they are from, what they are majoring in, what brought them to the school, and so on. Do not be afraid to reach out to people; most students are in the same boat as you and trying to find friends. Another good thing to remember is that, in college, especially for freshmen, people are everywhere. You can meet someone in a class, on the floor of your dorm, at Welcome Week events, or through social media. One thing to consider is that you do not need to maintain relationships with other people if they are not in your best interest. Though it is great to meet lots of people, be discerning about who you choose to spend your time with.  

By Jillian Mccusker
Jillian Mccusker Career Mentor