1. Don't pick a roommate that
you have gone to school with
your whole life long. First of all, you don't want to ruin what has
been a beautiful friendship. Second, one of the points of college is
to get to know different people, to learn to adapt to different ways
of doing things. Plan for your good friend to live on the same floor,
close by. And then introduce each other to the new people you are
2. Learn to do your own laundry
and to iron.
In every freshman's life there comes a time when you will find
yourself rooting through your hamper to find your cleanest dirty
shirt. Learn to do your own laundry so that your whites stay white and
so that your classmates don't think that you are a homeless person who
has just come into class to get out of the cold. Learn to iron your
shirts so that you avoid expensive cleaning bills. Surprise your mom
by coming home without 7 loads of laundry.
3. This January start buying extras
of your favorite shampoos, toothpaste, deodorant, and other personal
care products. Put them in a box at the top of your closet and start
stockpiling. When you are off at school and short on money, you will
have already bought the items that seem to take a large chunk of your
money. It also gives you a reason to go home from time to time.
4. In college, books are expensive. And
you have to buy them.
(You also have to buy your own Scantrons for tests.) You can easily
spend between three and four hundred dollars per semester on books.
Start saving ten percent of your money now to buy the books you will
need for college.
5. Buy a big fat college-rule spiral
notebook for each class.
Write the name of the class in Magic Marker on the front cover. Take
that notebook to that class every time you go. Staple the syllabus
that your professor gives you to the inside cover and highlight your
due dates. Keep all of your notes from that class in that
notebook. Staple handouts to pages inside the notebook in order of
when you get them. You don't want to have to hunt through every
notebook you have for notes for a test. Disorganization causes more
failure than anything except laziness.
lectures is over-rated. If you don't listen to the tape and take notes
every night, you wind up with countless hours of tape to listen to.
Plus you don't know which class is on which tape. Take notes. No one
has died from taking notes.
6. Learn to use a calendar or day-timer. These
calendar books are not just for real adults. You need them when
planning activities around your tests, papers, and projects. When you
get your syllabus, put the due dates for papers and projects and the
dates for tests in your day-timer. And then look at your day-timer
every day. Never plan an activity without looking at your book to see
what happens the next day. Some of the PDA's that most of us use
nowadays don't give us a look at the full month. You can't afford to
be surprised by a test date or due date.
7. Do not get plastic.
You may not realize it, but your credit rating begins with your first
loan or credit card and then follows you for a very long time. Some
people make mistakes with plastic in college that destroy their credit
ratings, making it impossible to buy a house or car later on down the
line. You have a lifetime to accumulate debt. Postpone getting into
debt as long as you can.
8. Get involved with a group on campus. High
school students sometimes think that they have made a life for
themselves when in actuality, the school has made a life for them. In
college you must take the first steps to getting involved. Fortunately
there are many organizations to join. Some are social. Some are
honorary. All can help you make friends and/or learn more about the
career that you have chosen. Also this is a school that you
have chosen to go to. Support your school. Go to the games. Buy school
T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Study, study, study--You
parents aren't paying all of this money just so that you can go to a
four-year party. At first it doesn't seem like much learning is going
on. You are only going to classes about half of the time you went when
you were in high school. And the professors don't seem to assign
much. They just want you to read. And you can do that later,
right? Wrong! Keep up with your reading. Read your assignments on a
daily basis and take notes on what you read. Use your
highlighter. Summarize chapters. Take note of key words and memorize
Stay sober at parties--Moral
issues aside, this is the right thing to do for all of you, but it is
especially important for women. WOMEN--If
you are sober, you can make informed decisions for yourself. The first
thing that alcohol does is lower your inhibitions. Things that you
know to be wrong when you are sober don't seem all that bad when you
have had a few drinks. Some college guys count on that. You can wind
up having experiences with people whose last names you don't even know
and wind up with the embarrassing and/or fatal diseases that go along
with it. You can wind up suffering great trauma and
humiliation--enough so that going to school won't be possible. Stay
sober. You won't regret it. MEN--If
you are sober, you are less likely to get involved with someone that
you know little about. You don't go to college to become a father, and
you don't go to college so that you can experience a date-rape
charge. If the woman you are with has had too much to drink, she
cannot give consent. If you are too drunk to know how much she has
had, you might be in deep legal trouble and not remember enough about
the experience to defend yourself in a court of law. Stay sober and
encourage your date to stay sober. You won't regret it either.
11. Re-read Number 10.
It's that important. :)
12. Start out with basic
courses that can and will
transfer irrespective of what your major is. I know that you think
that you know what you want to be, but don't be surprised if you
change your major at least once. Ask any college graduate how many
"extra" hours they have. I had 30. That translates into 10 extra
courses ( and it costs
13. Don't turn your nose up
at the idea of starting at a junior college.
It really is not a bad place to begin your college education, even if
it is just to take a couple of classes this summer. And it is
significantly cheaper than a four-year school. The same semester that
at UT would cost you $2100 for tuition, fees, and books would only be
$600 at Tomball College.
14. Take a couple of classes at
a community college during
even if you are going off to school for the fall semester. Take
something that will transfer, of course, but it is not a bad idea to
get a couple of classes under your belt before you are totally on your
15. Become the person that you
want to be. Sometimes
the conformity that high school encourages puts young people in a
"box" that they have a hard time getting out of. College is a great
time to begin to become the person that you want to be. Do some of the
activities that you wanted to do in high school but were afraid that
people would think that you were nerdy for enjoying. In college peer
pressure should be totally out of your vocabulary. If someone ever
wants to do something that you don't feel comfortable doing, don't do
it. If that person no longer wants to be your friend, you are better
off. Besides that there are 19,999 other people on campus to get to
16. Take a class for the simple
reason that you have always
wanted to learn about it--even
if it has nothing to do with your major. One of the purposes of
college is to learn about many different things. And one of the things
that college can provide for you is a well-rounded curriculum. If you
are studying engineering but have always loved Renaissance poetry,
sign up for a poetry class. It is good for your spirit to develop all
parts of your brain. Some classes speak to your mind. Others speak to
your heart. Don't ignore either one.
17. Don't go to a college just
because your boyfriend/girlfriend is there.
What a rotten reason to pick a college. That school might be great for
them, but it may have absolutely nothing to offer you. And if (when?)
you break up, you are stuck at a school that you don't like and stuck
being around a person that you no longer love. If one of the reasons
for going to college is to become more independent, then actually
become more independent. Choose a college that is right for you!
18. Stay in touch with your
(And not just to ask them for money.) They have some good advice to
share. Besides that they want to know how things are going. After all
they are probably paying for most of it! Don't just call when things
are tough. Call to share the good news, too.
19. Get to know your professors. In
big universities with huge classes you can easily feel like a grain of
sand on the beach. Sit in the front. Introduce yourself to the
professor. And go to every class. You probably won't have the same
relationship with your professors that you had in high school with
your teachers there, but it helps if professors can put a name to your
20. Find out who made an
"A" on a test or paper. And
then find out what they did differently from you. Look at their test
or paper if possible. (After the test of course!) Ask them what and
how they prepared for the test. Did they read more from the text? Did
they take better notes? Find out, and then try it yourself. If you did
badly on the first test, you have nothing to lose in trying someone
21. Form study groups.
And then really study. Don't just get together to socialize.
Don't just give your notes to someone.
them to make a copy of your notes, or something like that. Once
someone has your notes, how do you know that you will get them back in
time for the test? You are there to do well in your
classes. You are not there to help someone else who has not
taken the time or the effort to learn how to take good notes
themselves. If that sounds selfish, consider how you will feel if you
have to tell your parents that you failed a course because you
couldn't get your class notes back from someone that you loaned them
23. Learn to say "NO." You
have said "NO" to your parents and to many of your teachers. Now is
the time to say no to your "friends." If someone wants to party, and
you need to study, you must say "NO" to your friend. If someone wants
to borrow your notes, say "NO." If someone wants to compromise your
morals or values, say "NO." If your date wants to drive you home, and
he/she has had too much to drink, say "NO." If someone wants you to
join another club or activity, and you are "extra-curriculared out,"
say "NO." "NO" is not a bad word. In fact learning to say it at the
right time can make you a better student and a happier person.
24. Keep your faith with you. You
may have always gone to church at home with your parents, but now you
are off at school, and you don't know how to get involved in a
religious group there. Just go! The first time you go may be a little
hard. But most congregations in college towns want college
students to attend. You might find families who will "adopt" you when
you need a home-cooked meal or when you need a sympathetic ear. And
keeping involved with your religion will help you to strengthen your
faith on your own so that it really becomes yours, not just your
25. Eat right.
Freshman 15 refers to the fact that many freshmen, both guys and
girls, gain 15 pounds during their freshman year. Also freshmen wear
themselves out so that a visit to the infirmary is necessary. Eating
at least one nutritious meal per day, drinking your orange juice, and
taking a daily multivitamin will help you stay healthier and more
26. Don't cram for exams.
Get into the habit of summarizing your notes each day after classes.
Keep up with your reading. Study for exams for a little while every
night from the first day of the semester until the last day of finals.
Material that is crammed into your brain seems to fall out of your
brain just as quickly. Most college exams are comprehensive. That
means that they cover material from the beginning of the semester
until the end. There is no way to cram that much material into one
all-nighter. This does not mean that you turn yourself into a nerd.
Study from Sunday night until Thursday night. Then you can go out on
the weekends and feel good about yourself and your efforts