If you are an incoming college freshman or even a returning student, you might be starting to think about college. Here are some tips, warnings, and suggestions to consider before you return to school.
- Get class advising and set your schedule ASAP.
Aside from not being at the back of the line compared to the other thousands of incoming freshmen, there is more to setting your schedule the way you want it. Set your schedule and purchase your textbooks and get after it. Read and outline the first 5 chapters for each textbook. The first few weeks of college are rife with pressure. You can ease this by getting your courses and books and being prepared. Don’t let college happen to you. Be proactive.
- Assume your professors are not telling you everything when it comes to content of an exam.
This is one lesson you will learn the hard way if you do not study the materials. There will be a question that you think you have never heard of, and after the exam you will email your professor asking why something was on the exam that you think you didn’t study, and they will tell you the exact chapter and page of where the material was. Do not assume the professor is a liar. Assume that there is probably more to the exam than they hinted at. If the professor ever adds, “It is good to study for this exam,” watch out.
- Acronym as much as you can and be consistent with it.
Don’t lol at this suggestion. There is a huge difference between writing GDP=CIGXM versus Gross Domestic Product equals Consumption + Inflation + Government Spending + Exports – Imports. Most acronyms are universal across courses. Familiarize yourself with these acronyms and trust that it will save time in your note taking.
- Parking is a nightmare.
It always is, and costly too.
- Phone apps are your friend.
It gets tiresome carrying around a backpack full of textbooks. Digital versions of your textbook are great, especially if they can be accessed from your phone. In addition to your books, have all your scooter, Lyft, and Uber apps ready to go in case. Also, have your student email on your phone. Have restaurant or point apps ready to go.
- Loose-leaf > Hard-back.
If there is one thing professors don’t do, it is test you on Chapter 5 when they said the exam was over Chapters 1-4. With loose-leaf, you never need to carry your entire textbook around because you will likely never need the entire textbook at any given time.
- The Campus Bookstore is expensive, always.
Everything there is overpriced, even colored pencils.
- Textbook Examples are Key
When having trouble understanding a concept, text often includes examples or case studies. These do come in handy, especially if a description of something helps you study. Many exams have some sort of matching problems on them; they are often modeled around these textbook examples.
- Group projects are and will always be a pain.
Getting stuck with bad groupmates is terrible, and bound to happen. It is incumbent on you to be the best group member. Professors notice your efforts, but they get annoyed when you tell them of your problems during the project. Most professors now give evaluations for your group mates. Wait to lay out the problems till the end.
- Everyone is different, the 4-year track is not feasible for everyone.
You’ll learn quick what you can tolerate. Learn fast and don’t think you’re the exception. Take college at a pace you can handle. If 9 credit-hours is your thing, do it. If you can manage a full-time job and 12 credit hours, do it. Studying gets tiresome. Nights get long. Whatever load you take on, do it and be the best that you can be.
Bonus 11. Drama takes a toll in college.
Previously, drama was just part of life in high school. Kendra has a crush on Brad, but Brad is dating Lisa. Lisa is cheating on Brad with Kevin, and there is an AP History test fourth hour. Update: Brad just broke up with Lisa and it isn’t even lunch, and they just started dating yesterday. Yes, we have all been there.
Drama in college has a higher price. You’re likely over 18 now which means you’re an adult, which means your misgivings will be noticed. Be careful with the drama you engage in. Long term consequences are real.
So to all the incoming freshmen contemplating what college has in store for you, these are some tips and some warnings. College can be a blast. Have a good time and be excellent. Don’t make college the thing that ruins your youth and young adulthood.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.