How to Be Prepared for Freshman Year of College

student with a paper in hand entering college building

Did you know, that approximately one third of students who enrol in college drop out during or immediately after their freshman year. This can largely be attributed to the fact that starting college is such a huge transition for students.

It can often be the first real taste of independence a young person has and that comes with responsibilities they might find overwhelming. College life is very different to high school, but if you start out having made appropriate preparations for Freshman year then you are more likely to survive!

What to Bring with You to College

One of the big questions that most new college students have is what they should bring to college with them and how to pack all that. For many Freshmen this will be their first time living away from their parents, so it can be a pretty overwhelming prospect! A great way to prepare is to make a list of things that you think you will need at college.

Start with the basics. You will need things like:

– bedding for your dorm room
– crockery and silverware to eat of
– and of course things like cleaning supplies, towels and other basic items.

However, you are also going to need a selection of personal items too. These will include:

– clothing
– toiletries
– books
music and other personal belongings.

A tip for students who move to another city:

If you are moving out of state for college then you are also going to need to take appropriate clothing items. If you know there will be cold winters, then pack a warm coat and boots. Similarly, if there is likely to be a hotter climate than at home you will need lighter clothing.

Take a “Piece” of Your Home With You

Everything that we have mentioned so far has been fairly practical in nature. However, one of the most important things that a freshman student needs to pack when heading off to college is going to be a special item that reminds them of home!

This could be an ornament with sentimental value, a favorite family photograph or maybe even just something that represents your home town. It is perfectly natural to feel a little bit home sick when you head off to college. However, having a small token to remind you of the people you love will bring you some comfort.

How to Prepare for Studying in College

So, you are all packed up and you have everything you need for college life, but are you prepared for the actual academic aspect? Many freshmen are astounded by just how different college is to high school and it is a good idea to do some research so that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into.

  • How many classes should you even be taking in Freshman year?

The first thing to so is choose which classes you are going to take. However, that might be easier said than done. The answer is highly personal. However, as a general rule most colleges recommend 12 to 15 credits for Freshman year. Classes tend to be worth 3 credits, which means you should be looking to take 4 or 5 classes during that first year of college.

  • How to choose your classes?

Once you know how many classes to take, the next step if knowing how to choose your classes. If you already know what you are going to major in, then it makes sense to start with some of the classes you require for that. It is also wise to opt for the introductory classes and prerequisites in your first year if for no other reason than to get them out of the way quickly. If you are not too sure what you want to major in then why not spend some time looking at course catalogs to try and shortlist the topics that catch your interest.

It’s not even just choosing the classes that can be a little bit daunting. Making the transition from school to college can be completely different to what you were expecting. We advise trying to do as much preparation as possible before you get there.

Here are a few basic steps you can take to be better prepared for your college studies:

a girl in washing machine in laundry basement

Housekeeping for College Freshmen

It is also important to get to know your new home. That’s why researching some general housekeeping tasks is also important to prepare you for freshman year at college. Some of the things you might want to find out about include:

  • Finding out where to do laundry. Is there a place in the dorm or do you need to go off campus?
  • Mapping out the local stores you will need to visit including grocery stores, coffee shops, book shops and restaurants. Look for places with a student discount or special deals to help stretch your money a little further.
  • Checking out some of the on-Campus facilities like the library, canteen and other amenities you might want to make use of. Is there a pool or a student gym?
  • Find out some of the college rules and regulations, especially linked to the dorms. Are you allowed visitors? Is there a sign in system? Are there restrictions over common areas? Most colleges will have a student handbook that covers these types of questions.

Some of the listed items we have added to our college freshman survival kit before. Haven’t you seen it yet?

Building Your Social Life

A big part of college life is of course socializing. Everyone has heard of the legendary dorm parties! Of course, your college social life doesn’t just revolve around partying! One of the big things about college is the sheer diversity of the people you will meet on campus. It can be scary to go off to college and leave your high school friends behind, but college is really the best place to make new friends!

Start building your social life by joining some of the many clubs and organizations that are on campus. Whether you are into sports or science you are sure to find a suitable group to join. There are also lots of social events on campus, so you will have plenty of opportunity to meet new people.

If you are struggling to make friends during freshman year, you can also think about joining study groups to get to know your classmates a little better – plus as an added bonus it is sure to help your grades too!

In conclusion, if you are getting ready to start college it is a good idea to make sure you are as prepared as possible for freshman year. Heading off to college is a big transition and it is easy to get overwhelmed. You will be amazed at just how much a little preparation can help make things easier! Hopefully, these tips and other freshmen tips (infographic) you can find on our website will help you to get things ready before college begins.

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