7 Survival Tips for College Freshmen

Last updated on November 15, 2017

According to ACT’s research, 1 in every 4 college students leaves before the end of sophomore year. Taking these steps now can help you avoid becoming a statistic later.

1. Attend Orientation

Students who miss freshman orientation miss a lot:

  • bonding with classmates
  • meeting their academic adviser and other faculty members
  • learning where buildings are on campus and getting the scoop on the best off-campus hangouts.

Orientation is one of the most effective tools to make a smooth transition.

2. Get Involved on Campus

Students who are involved on campus do better academically and have a greater chance of graduating on time. It is recommended to join one or two clubs or organizations to make new friends and feel connected.

3. Learn to Live Together

Friction between roommates is not uncommon freshman year. Most problems work themselves out through honest communication and mutual effort, but if those strategies don’t work, the issues shouldn’t be left to fester.

You should seek the help that’s just down the hall: the resident adviser. R.A.s are specially trained to find equitable solutions.

4. Form a Study Group

Studying with friends on a regular basis increases motivation and takes the drudgery out of hitting the books. Study partners can also take notes for each other if one has to miss a class—a benefit of which you should take advantage.

5. Ask for Help

There’s no reason for any student to struggle with an academic, social, emotional or health problem alone at college. Help is there from professors, upperclassmen, resident advisers, peer tutors, learning labs, the college counseling center, health center and more.

The catch is: you have to ask for it. You should reach out at the first sign of trouble.

6. De-stress, Not Distress

Sometimes college can be a little too exciting. New friends, new surroundings, a world of new possibilities can add up to new levels of stress.

You need to find your own special ways to de-stress and relax, such as yoga, running, dancing, meditation or whatever works best.

Most colleges have gyms or recreation centers that offer free classes at convenient times.

7. Handle Homesickness

It’s normal for first-year students to feel a bit lonely and homesick the first few weeks—even to call their parents and say, “I hate it here!”

College counselors recommend remaining on campus for at least the first month. If the problem persists or you sound really depressed, it may be time to seek professional help. Only you know yourself well enough to tell the difference.