Last Updated on June 29, 2021 by David Shaw
I remember my first experience attending college in a completely new environment in California. Although it was personally less daunting back then, there were many things and knowledge I wished I knew back then to make my college experience more memorable and rewarding.
There are many things in college that can hold students back from success or even their ideal expectations of their college experience. However, this article can help identify and navigate through what to do and avoid early in our freshmen years, it can help you maximize what you can achieve or do in college.
In this article, I am going to share with you 6 helpful tips for college freshmen to adapt quickly when they attend a college or university.
Familiarize Yourself With Resource Departments
Attending college isn’t all about attending classes and scoring those high grades. There is a wide range of new responsibilities and personal-related tasks that will come your way throughout college, so always find the right tool to do the right task. Hence, colleges equip their campus with resourceful departments to assist students especially if you’re a freshman. It is solely a student’s responsibility to identify and their loss by missing out on the free services we are entitled to.
To begin with, it is helpful to quickly familiarize yourself with the departments and services offered throughout your campus in order to find the right help when needed. As for other general inquiries, keep yourself updated and reminded of deadlines like payment information, class registration deadlines, or even assistance for financial aid. These are the examples of questions and problems freshmen will sooner or later encounter in the future.
Here’s a list of standard college departments and their general services you can expect to get help with:
1. Registration & Administration Office
Registration and administration offices usually can access a student’s campus records to assist them with help like changing or update their information. You can likely find any assistance related to your transcript here. Expect services like the following in this department:
- Cashier counter for tuition or miscellaneous fees.
- Office to access your transcript records during application.
- Bookstores for textbooks, scantron, calculators, notebooks.
- Academic counseling by professionals
- Prerequisite Clearance test centers
- Positions to earn money by becoming a cashier or clerk
2. Campus Center or Cafeteria
Campus centers are usually where students spend most of their time chilling around with peers. You can expect to find many activities especially school clubs tied to the campus center. Expect to find
- Cafeterias or Fast Food Chains
- Student Body Resources i.e. Clubs, Student council, meeting rooms
- Paper Printing Kiosk
- Department for student services i.e. student card, bike/scooter rental, shared room bookings
- Earn money by working as a food server or cashier
Some colleges or universities have resources in their library that offer more than a place to study, but also secluded spaces for students to meet, or gadget rentals to keep students from worrying about finding a good studying space. Some common resources you get to benefit from libraries are:
- Study Rooms. Typically offered on a booking basis, it can be used as a space to study with friends.
- Access to free computers for homework uses
- Calculator or Laptop Rental – If you need a calculator or laptop for homework purposes
- Disk or Movie Rental – Some colleges offer documentary disks for rental which is free
- Charging Stations – These are stations to charge your laptop or phones if it needs some juice
- Earn money by working as a librarian or at the counter
4. Sports Center
While some sports centers of colleges are reserved for athletes, you can expect them open to all students in the afternoon or evening to be used for certain campus sports clubs. Here are some sports that might be accessible for all students to use provided from existing campus sports clubs:
- Ping Pong
5. Student Tuition or Success Center
Student success centers are the best free resources for campus students to received free tuition assistance from professionals or peers. If you are struggling with STEM or popular classes related to Business, this is where you should go for homework assistance.
- Free tuition for class materials
- Access to computers for homework
- Earn money by tutoring other peers
- Professors lingering around to provide additional office hours
6. Forum, Media or Technology Center
Some colleges or universities have resources in their library that offer more than a place to study, this includes secluded spaces for students to meet, laptop or adapter rentals. Some common resources you get to benefit from Libraries are
- Attend free events or seminars organized by campus clubs in halls
- Book halls for club meetings and usage
- Use stage tools like a projector to host meetings or seminars for a large audience
The type and number of departments of different academic institutions may vary depending on the respective endowments. Nonetheless, the above lists are typically departmental buildings you can expect in the average college or university. Now you have a rough idea of their services, explore them, and make full use of them if it benefits you!
Don’t Skip The Orientation Event
Orientation day might sound daunting especially if you’re an introvert. Don’t worry, you won’t be forced to talk to everyone at least from my personal experiences, and you will likely find like-minded freshmen just like you. Other than its purpose of introducing you to the campus, it is another perfect opportunity to get to know new people. If there are only a few occasions you absolutely need to overcome your social anxiety, it should be this very day.
The goal is to meet and get to know the most people you ever will at your university through this event, and you will most likely find your lifelong university companion. If you’re afraid about feeling embarrassed or shy, just remember no one will remind you how awkward or silly you looked back when they met you during the orientation event.
I remembered being awkwardly seated at a table with 6 other random freshmen during orientation, breaking the ice was super easy as we’re unequally unfamiliar and open to learning our new environment as freshmen. By sharing the same sense of unfamiliarity with our new surroundings, we established solid friendships during the orientation. Today, I still keep in touch with them and still consult each other every now and then for school-related questions we stumble across.
It is often easier to make friends with new students compared to mixing into a bigger group of people off the start in college
So for once, strip away your shyness and make friends on orientation day! Your brave efforts will greatly be rewarded, trust me by faith on this one.
Ask Sophomores Questions, Find Seniors For Help
To keep things simple for you, if you have general questions as a freshman, you should ask sophomores. And if you need help with something, it’s better to ask seniors. This might sound counter-intuitive, but it truly does the wonders for freshmen speaking from experience. This is a very helpful tip I personally learned from experience.
By asking the right sophomore, you can wind up saving a lot of time and hassle to get your answer. With that being said, sophomores are typically the ones with more vivid knowledge to answer the questions you had in mind because they’ve resolved similar issues less than a year ago. If you were to ask sophomores questions regarding the prerequisite placement tests, chances are you will get more in-depth details compared to asking a senior or a school faculty. More often than not, sophomores have already obtained the answer to your questions the hard way and can add to it easier methods or tips to save you the pain.
As for seniors, they are the ones with more experience in terms of the problems they have collectively encountered so far. Questions regarding a specific professor’s homework or syllabus, getting recommendation letters are the ones seniors know best from their collective first-hand experience. Oftentimes, they can reliably refer you to the perfect person or department to help you with a specific problem or question you’re dealing with which can save you a lot of time.
This is a handy and valuable piece of advice to follow for upcoming freshmen in the near future. When approaching for help or questions, most students are more than willing to share information if you’re are sincere and respectful.
Prioritize On Networking Rather Than Grades
College doesn’t play by the same rules in high school anymore. You should often find yourselves investing more time and skill into networking with people compared to acing the upcoming exams. In universities, GPA’s are no longer on the top student’s priority list. Instead, they find smarter ways to study to save time in order to find and build new opportunities related to their career.
Smart students will rather study smarter in a group and find more opportunities to outreach themselves to build a better social network. They often know many people in the working industry, participate in club activities, and have dynamic LinkedIn profiles to outsource themselves to stand out better amongst other peers in the working or academic industry.
“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.”Robert Kiyosaki
A top student would prioritize internship or research opportunities instead of pursuing a good-looking academic transcript because your GPA wouldn’t matter to top companies in the future. What top companies look for in a person is their adept social or soft skills, which top students will invest a good amount of time working on their personalized skills of interest. They are constantly establishing a solid résumé ahead of graduation because they know that intermediary coding or college math-solving skills won’t serve well-established companies a favor.
By mixing with the right bunch of social circles which prioritizing networking through making friends in classes or club days, you’ll be navigating through college like a pro very quickly.
Don’t Miss Out On Club Days
College and university boards endow large sums of money into promoting the development of campus clubs and organizations because they are what makes student life fun, unique, and engaging. If you think of it, there is no better day to explore all the cool club’s organizations and people you always wished for other than this day.
Club Day opens the opportunity for clubs to present themselves while offering an open-handed invitation to you rather than the other way around. If you ask me what’s the best and quickest way to find friends or a community you’re comfortable around, is it definitely during Club Day.
Simply by attending or touring Club Days, your peers will take initiative to engage and get to know you. If members from any clubs see something in you, then perhaps this opportunity could be a long-lasting friendship with another unique individual in your life. I personally found my good friends whom I met through a campus club and we’re friends still in contact to this very day since 2017.
Participating in Club Days could simply be the most exciting choice because it gives you a whole lot of unpredictable opportunities to meet awesome people. Moving on, joining a club gives you chance to build your skillset and experiment with ideas with peers around your age. If you’re missing out on Club Days, then you’re not paying your tuition fees for the full college experience!
Join A Well Establish Club Of Your Interest
Joining a club of your interest exposes you to a thriving environment and community that can help maximize and discover your potentials. A healthy competitive team spirit is vital to your cognitive development, hence it is vital to surround yourself around productive people with positive energy.
No great ideas flourish from one single individuals’ hard work, great ideas are always backed by a team with great learning spirits and innovative collaborative contributions.
By thriving in a club surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals, it is potentially the best sanctuary where you can learn knowledge taught outside our lectures with a group of motivated, driven, and like-minded peers to prepare you early for real-life challenges.
If we constantly surround ourselves with peers of similar goals with insatiable intention and desire to learn and improve, we will propel in college very easily from a supportive community’s constant encouragement rather than working alone.
If you’ve already made it so far into the journey of your tertiary education, don’t make the same mistakes by prioritizing classes and high grades made by alumni who spoke from experience. College isn’t about how well you score on a paper anymore, rules in high school don’t play by the same in the university domain anymore. Network with people, focus on social and collaborative skills instead of exponentially improve yourself rather than working alone. Make the years in college meaningful by spending it with people you feel comfortable and productive around.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”African Proverb