Tips for College Freshmen - Get Out of Your Dorm Room
The first-time college experience is wide and varied, but there are a few universal tips for college freshmen that can help you find your way and experience success in your first year at school.
Although it's important to be dedicated to your studies, college is also about meeting new people and experiencing new things. You can get outside your comfort zone by attending a poetry reading, student play, or cultural dance. Intramural sports and student organizations are great ways to get involved.
Take Advantage of Resources
Do you know what resources your college provides for students? It can be as small as knowing which buildings offer free wi-fi so you can check your email between classes or as vital as understanding what counseling services your school provides if you hit an emotional rough patch. Career services can help you find an on-campus job, provide you with leads on internships and send you out into the working world with a top-notch resume after graduation. Explore your options and make the most of them.
Stay Active and Eat Healthy
Students like to talk about "the freshman 15", the amount of weight that all college freshmen will allegedly put on. It's true that it can be difficult to stay in shape when you're busy with school commitments, but a little awareness of the potential problem can go a long way. An increased commitment to staying active can be as simple as walking or biking to class. Be careful when eating at buffet-style cafeterias and think about what you're piling on your plate. You don't always have to say no to late-night pizza, but don't let it overwhelm your diet.
Talk to Your Professors
Don't be afraid to ask for help or to engage your professors in discussion of topics of interest to you. It can add depth to your learning and make you more memorable, which can be helpful when it's time to ask for letters of recommendation or if you're looking for research opportunities. Take advantage of office hours. Professors and teaching assistants are there during those times specifically to help students better understand the class material.
Go to Class
It can be tempting to miss a few classes when you're on your own for the first time. However, you're only jeopardizing your grade and wasting the education you've paid for. Some professors consider participation and attendance when calculating grades, and there's always the chance of missing a pop quiz. Even in courses where the grade is based entirely on a few tests or papers, when you're not in class, you miss valuable information, such as changing due dates and requirements for assignments.
Don't Get Caught Up in the Party Culture
It's illegal for students in the U.S. to drink alcohol if they're under 21. No matter how accepted the practice may be, there's no getting around that basic fact. If you do choose to drink, do it responsibly and don't let it become the focal point of your time at college.
Allow Yourself to Fail
College is a completely different world from high school. Even students who were at the top of their classes in during their secondary years can face difficulties when they head off to university. If you get a bad grade on an assignment or fail a test, don't despair. Use it as a learning experience and get the help you need from professors, teaching assistants or tutors to turn it around.
Keep Looking for Scholarships
Just because you're in college now doesn't mean you should stop looking for financial aid. In fact, this only opens up more opportunities for you. Look for scholarships intended for specific majors, awards from student organizations, alumni scholarships for current students and more. With the rising cost of college tuition, every dollar can help you feel more secure as you move past your freshman year.