THINGS TO KNOW FOR FIRST YEAR STUDENTS
In every class, no matter how well you think you know the material, take notes. You will need something to review before tests and exams. Reviewing the whole book can cost you time that you don’t have. Make sure that you find a way to organize and file your notes so that you can find them when you need them.
Your professors will often judge you by the amount of work that you put into a class and into your assignments. As such, it is important that you take the time to double check everything you do. Eliminate spelling and grammar errors. Also make sure that you have the proper formatting (i.e. APA or MLA, ETC). This goes for both in class assignments and take home assignments.
Find Cheap Textbooks
Textbooks are a great place to save money. Go to Amazon or a textbook rental company to find your books at a very affordable rate online. Occasionally you might be able to find textbooks for free online. If you are really lucky you can borrow them from upperclassmen or find them on websites like Craigslist.
Class scheduling is an art. It is best to put the classes you care most about early in the morning. You won’t be awake just yet but the fact that you care about the class will help to wake you up. You also won’t wake up dreading going to class. Try to schedule your most hated classes in the middle of the day so that you don’t have an excuse to skip class at the end of the day.
Part of college is learning how to manage your life, and with that your money. The only difference is that they don’t give you a class on managing your own finance. You learn through experience.
Throughout your life you should have a budget to help guide the spending of money. You first time away from home with money will make it very tempting to just spend, spend, spend. Make sure that you make that budget and stick with it.
If you think you are going to go out partying, make sure that you are honest with yourself and include that money in your budget. Just know that partying can quickly affect your school life and budget.
Save Some Money
You are in college, the budget is tight but at the same time saving money is important. In fact, learning to save in college when you are on a tight budget will help you to save when you graduate and are on a tight budget. You never know when you might need money, setting aside even $10 can help later on.
Colleges rely on a lot of different employees to keep the campus running. Often times they employ students part-time in a good selection of these roles. Consider taking one of these roles to get some extra life experience and you can sometimes find a job in your future profession.
Sometimes colleges offer discounted tuition to those who work for the college. This could save you money on your classes, allowing you to save more in the bank.
Learn How To Do Taxes
As soon as you graduate you will need to know how to do your taxes. While you are in school you can often be claimed as a dependent and not need to do taxes. Don’t let that stop you from learning how to do them. Learning how to handle these things will set you up for financial success after college.
Moving all of your belongings into a dorm room might be your first approach but it won’t end well. Dorm rooms are a lot smaller than you think. Most colleges will give you your roommate’s contact information. Use that to discuss what communal items you will each bring. This will prevent duplicates of items such as microwaves.
Before your move-in date you should be provided with a list of suggested items and a list of items that you cannot bring on campus. Leave anything on the list of prohibited items at home. Usually residence halls will perform welfare checks within the first few weeks to make sure you are okay. During these welfare checks, if they see a prohibited item you could get in trouble.
You may only be living in your dorm room for a school year but making your dorm room something that is yours will make a big difference in how you view your temporary home. Add decorations, bring photos from home, add extra lighting. Anything that you can do to make your dorm room yours will make it easier to live in. It will also cut down on the amount of homesickness that you feel.
COLLEGE RESOURCES 101
Open A College Bank Account
Banks offer special deals to college students when they create an account. These college bank accounts often have features like free cash for opening the account and no fees. Often times these accounts can remain student accounts even after you graduate for a period of time. Plus, its good to start saving!
Getting good grades is important and can be difficult. No matter how you are doing in a class take advantage of office hours and teachers assistants to get help in class. Even if you are doing well, having the teacher know you can be a big benefit.
Once you graduate college you won’t get anywhere near the same resources that you get during college. Every time you discover a new resource that is available to you, say yes. From school sponsored trips, to advising, to discounts and special deals, take people up on them.
COLLEGE HEALTH 101
Stress and injury happen in college. Before you need one you should find a primary care doctor and have a physical. From there you will have someone who knows your health and is ready to treat you.
If you find yourself sick or in need of care but don’t want to go to an urgent care, many campuses have a campus health center. While these are not full blown medical centers, they can often give you basic care and direct you towards the appropriate level of care.
Stress will fill your college life from assignments to social engagements. Learning to manage all of this stress can be difficult. Exercise and sleep are two important ways to manage your stress. College campuses will also have counselors, take advantage of these high trained staff to make your life easier. After college this often isn’t a free service.
Almost all college students gain weight when they start school. Often this is known as the “freshman 15” but it can be any amount of weight. A lack of working out and cafeteria food contribute to this. School gyms and healthier cafeterias are starting to change this but you still have to put the work in to keep it off.
Use Caffeine Sparingly
Caffeine is a dangerous substance. You will want to drink it every morning to wake yourself up and throughout the day to keep yourself powered. Caffeine brings with it multiple dangers. Drinking too much in too quick of a succession actually can kill you. It is also addicting and you will have a hard time stopping.
COLLEGE LIFE 101
Having a schedule is an important adult skill. While you are in college learn to develop a schedule. Keeping a calendar whether it is on paper or on your phone will help. A lot of great apps are available to help you manage your life.
Find The Right Friends
Finding the right friends can make or break your college life. You want to find people who will support your learning but also will be social with you. A great part of college is that you are starting over and can find new groups of friends. Try this out. You never know who you might find.
People often say that college is all about experimenting and this is true. Part of college is trying new things. In a lot of circumstances you may feel uncomfortable or otherwise want to say no, don’t. As often as you can say yes. Saying yes is a powerful thing.
College is a big place but with these tips you will find yourself set for success. It may seem like a very obvious piece of advice but we will leave you with one last thing. Be open to learning while in college. Learning will take place in the classroom, in your dorm, and all around you. Soak up all of the knowledge so that you can so that you are as prepared for life as possible.