25+ Tips for College Students

Learn how to have a happy and successful college career.

I did the “extended tour” of college. From about 1991-2002. I did get 4 degrees, so at least I have an excuse. 🙂 I’ve also been an adjunct professor, so I’ve also been at the other side of the classroom.

1) The Freshman Fifteen does exist. So does the Freshman Twenty. Watch how many starches and processed foods you are eating.

2) Pizza – the ubiquitous college snack. See #1.

3) If it’s either take out a loan or quit school, take out a loan.

4) If you can live harmoniously with someone in a 20×20 ft. space, you can do anything.

5) Flip-flops: Wear them in the dorm shower. Always.

6) Always attend the *real* class, and use the Internet one for review.

7) If you are not a morning person, don’t schedule classes for 7am. You will not go.

8) Get involved on campus. All work and no *productive* socializing is boring.

9) Too much socializing = bad grades. Everything in moderation.

10) If you are feeling overwhelmed, are having problems sleeping, or have gone through a breakup, visit your college’s counseling center. If you are feeling suicidal at any point, call your college’s crisis center number or call 911 immediately.

11) There are a lot of free activities on campus. Take advantage of them.

12) Many colleges have free tutoring centers on campus. Take advantage of them.

13) Sit near the front of class.

14) Attend the whole class. Even if you feel like you will just die if you sit there any longer. Even if you feel your brain start to ooze out the side of your ear. Because we (professors) sometimes give really important info at the end of class.

15) Recopy your notes after class. Or if you’ve typed them (which is recommended), do a quick read-through after class.

16) Remember that although you are 18, your college may have the right to contact your parents if you are caught drinking underage.

17) Don’t do anything stupid (read: illegal). It will go down on your permanent record. Seriously. At every college you apply to after this one.

18) Register for classes as early as possible. Early bird catches the worm and all that.

19) See how your first semester goes before you consider getting a job. See how heavy your course load is first.

20) Find a bank that also has branches in your hometown. Get your account connected to your parents’ account so they can transfer money to you.

21) Use direct deposit and automatic withdrawal for paychecks/loanchecks/ check checks. Less chance of you losing it.

22) Use virus protection and firewalls on your laptop.

23) The student bookstore (online and in real life) can have great student discounts on hardware/software.

24) Reconsider bringing a car to campus your first semester. It can be a pain to park.

25) Pack the clothes you need for college, and then take half of that amount.

26) The more underwear you have, the less you have to do laundry.

27) If you are doing laundry on campus or at a laundromat, stay with your clothes. Otherwise they may walk off while you are gone.

28) I can’t emphasize this enough: INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR PROFESSORS AND GO TO THEIR OFFICE HOURS. This is so important, I’ll tell it to you again: INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR PROFESSORS AND GO TO THEIR OFFICE HOURS. We’re nice people. Seriously. And we really like it when someone is interested in our classes.

29) Use the college’s career resource center – not just when you are going to graduate, but when you are figuring out what you want to do with your life. It’s a free service. Use the free services.

30) For the love of God, please, please do not leave candles burning in your dorm room or apartment. Or those incense burning thingies. Bad things happen when those are left on.

31) If you have a tendency to be messy, your roommate may be compulsively neat. The general rule is that the messier you are, the more neat your roommate will be. Try to pull it together. Especially regarding food. Always throw out leftover food. That’s just gross, messy or not. Learninghow to adapt to someone else’s living style is a wonderful learning experience. Really. And if you complained about having to share a room with your siblings while you were growing up, when you get to college you learn that you are actually ahead of the curve. 🙂

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