College! It's such an exciting time in life & I'm SO excited that you're going to be experiencing it as well! There's lots of mixers, campus events, organizations, & caffeine- yay! But aside from the fun stuff, there's also classes, exams, adjusting to life away from home, & a whole new world to explore beyond your hometown. While all of that may seem scary, don't worry! I've come up with a list of advice (categorized, obviously) to help you adjust to life as a college freshman. It wasn't just me that came up with this advice, either- my college friends helped me, that way I could get more feedback from other people who may have better/ more advice than me on certain subjects (like campus life for example since I live at home).
Today, we will be talking about ACADEMIC ADVICE, so let's get started!
1. FIND A WAY OF NOTE-TAKING THAT WORKS FOR YOU
For me, this means one of two things writing or typing. Fall semester last year, I wrote all of my notes. Spring semester, however, my professors went through content a lot faster, so typing was easier for me to keep up. No matter how I took my notes, I always made sure that I had bold titles for each content section, bullet points (with smaller bullet points in between, normally arrows), & then I highlighted key terms (typically red if I was typing). It honestly doesn't matter how you take your notes though- just make sure you understand them!
2. MAKE DEADLINES!
Deadlines are SO important. In high school, you will normally just get points deducted if you're late turning in an assignment or project but in college, it deducts a WHOLE lot more than 5 points a day most of the time. I always try my best to get my projects or papers done at a day or two before the assignment is due, just in case anything goes wrong & I need to go back & fix anything last minute. Procrastination is not always your friend, folks!
3. BE PREPARED TO BE CONFUSED ON YOUR MAJOR/ MINOR AT SOME POINTS...
There are a LOT of classes needed to complete your major & minor both, so don't be discouraged if you get confused at some points! There are plenty of people on campus to help you figure out exactly what you need to do to get your degree.
4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR ADVISOR
Advisors can be a pain, I'm not going to lie. At the same time, however, they can help greatly with steering you in the right direction when it comes to courses you should take or which classes would benefit you the most. Never hesitate to ask your advisor questions!
5. AVOID TAKING A 3 HOUR/ 1 DAY A WEEK CLASS
These classes are always available during registration time, but it's like the "doomed" class. While yes, they only meet once a week, they also drag on a lot longer than you expect them nine times out of ten. If you're lucky, however, you'll get a nice professor that'll let you out of class early some weeks!
6. TRY NOT TO WATCH NETFLIX IN CLASS...
It's distracting to both you & others. The Office is great, but unfortunately, Dwight K. Schrute can't teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to pass your exams.
7. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OFFICE HOURS!
Professors will have office hours- USE THEM! Your professors want to see you succeed & these office hours are one of your greatest resources. It's a time for you to go in & ask questions/ clarify points from your previous classes. It's also a time to talk with your professors about your major, what you want to do with it, & more. Some of my professors have literally said in class, "Come to office hours & we'll just hang out & talk! It's a great time!"- and it is! You get to know your professors outside of the classroom setting & also get to meet other students from a different class.
8. SPEND TIME IN BUILDINGS RELATED TO YOUR MAJOR
I have met SO many wonderful people just by hanging out in my major's building! There are a ton of people going in & out of your building every day, so stay around sometimes to study, eat, or catch up with a friend- you never know who you may meet, see, or make connections with!
9. APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
Even if you don't get the scholarship, there's no harm in applying for them! Scholarships are a great way to get some free money for school & there are tons of them out there, so take advantage of them.
10. LOOK FOR SALES ON TEXTBOOKS
Okay this one is HUGE. I pay for my own books & sometimes the prices aren't too scary, but this upcoming semester, I had some pretty pricey textbooks. After doing research, I found a website called Chegg where I ended up saving over $200 on 2 textbooks! Definitely shop around for the best deals on books. The campus bookstore may seem like the most convenient distance wise, but it isn't always the most convenient when it comes to the cost. You may even get free shipping on some of your books depending on where you rent them from!
(NOTE: I will also order a lot of my textbooks from Amazon)
11. USE A PLANNER
I. CANNOT. STRESS. THIS. ONE. ENOUGH. I literally use my planner ALL the time. I even color-code it. I was busy in high school, but I got to college & got sooo much busier (which isn't necessarily a bad thing!). Using key colors or bullet points for different organizations, classes, & work can help a ton with organizing your planner! I use pastel highlighters to color-code mine & then write everything in black so everything else is uniform.
12. FIND YOURSELF A PLACE TO STUDY!
Studying in college is SO different than high school & classes are a lot harder to pass if you don't study in between meeting times & before exams. Find yourself a spot on campus, off campus, or both where you can sit down & study so you can do your best in class! Lots of people at my school go to their dorm room, the library, Starbucks, or the student union to study, but go wherever works best for you so you can succeed!
So there you have it, ladies & gents! That was the second of the three part "College Freshman" advice guide! I hope you enjoyed & learned from this & if you have any more tips or advice, leave it in the comment section below! Thanks for reading! You rock. -GC