Advice for an Incoming College Freshman

With input from past college students, we have rounded advice for an incoming college freshman. We have you covered with advice on how to tackle your freshmen year academically and enjoy the friend-making process. As you begin to head away from home for the first time, here are a few things to help get you acclimated.

1. Pay Attention.

Maybe the simplest piece of advice, but also the most important. Not just in class, although that’s important too. Listen to everything, from the advice of older students to campus announcements to people around. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open.

Every person you meet could be a lifelong friend. Or maybe they won’t be a lifelong friend but a great connection! You’re going to meet people that will do crazy cool things in their life. If you can make the connection and friendship now, who knows where it will take you.


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2. Talk with Your Roommate(s) Before Move-in Day

You’d be surprised how many people end up with double of everything in their dorm. And let me tell you, the majority of dorms barely fit one of everything, let alone two of everything. Reach out and talk to your roommate before move-in day happens. Coordinate what each person will contribute to the room.

“Talk with your roommate before move-in day so you can get to know her/him and also coordinate what to bring. You don’t need two rugs, right?!” – Advice from Reese R, a freshman student at Colby College.

3. Keep Your Eyes Open

If you see an ad for student tickets to a basketball game, go to the game. If you see a posting to join the staff of the literary magazine, send an email about it. If you see someone’s door open to their dorm room, peek in and say hi.

You’ll never know what you’ll come across walking around campus. But if your head is down on your phone and laptop the whole time, you’ll miss meeting people, finding opportunities, and enjoying your college experience to the max.

4. Use Your Resources

There are so many resources on campus. You’ll probably learn about new resources each year that you didn’t know about the year before.

When you hear about a resource, use it! And seek out resources when there is something you need help with. Writing centers and class tutors are a great way to give you the extra boost you need or explain something in a different way than your professor does. Student support services and resident assistants are there to help you with anything whether that’s a maintenance request for your dorm room or maybe you just need someone to talk to.

All these resources are there to help YOU!

5. Take Advantage of Office Hours

You may not want to spend more time in a classroom but it’s super helpful to go to your professors’ office hours. There are so many benefits you can get from it. Going to office hours allows your professors to get to know you and for you to get to know them better.

If you’re ever struggling with a concept or falling behind, stop in and talk it out with them. Chances are if you go regularly, they will give you the benefit of the doubt if you’re ever struggling in the class.

6. Save Your Syllabi

Print it out for quick access or save it to your desktop because actually reading and referring back to your syllabus is a great resource. Syllabi have so much information packed into them. Some professors will even write out the whole calendar for the semester so that you know what is happening each week when assignments are due, and when exams are. They will keep you on track in the class and be a great tool for success.

7. Participate in Welcome Week

Take advantage of all the welcome week/move-in weekend opportunities. Scavenger hunts, evening gatherings on the green, meet-and-greet ice cream parties, etc. These are great ways to meet other first-year students on campus before the rest of the upperclassmen arrive.

For the first week or weekend, the whole campus is yours. Take the time to explore and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Remember, everyone else is new too!

Final Advice for College Freshman

Keeping an open mind can never steer you wrong in college. Be willing to try new things, even if you’re afraid! Observe everything around you. It will help to ease your transition as things quickly become familiar. In no time, you’ll be feeling confident on campus, be involved in exciting things, and know a lot of people. College flies by pretty quickly, so remember to soak it in and enjoy every moment.

College Raptor is here to help you along the way too! Check out more advice and articles about college on the blog. It’s filled with tips and tools you’ll need during your college journey.

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