What You Should Know Before You Start College

Preparing to go to college for your first semester can be scary, and even if you are the most aspiring first year to go to college you will still have some questions. This guide will help you start right at your college career.




Last Updated: January 18th, 2021

What You Should Know Before You Start College

Preparing to go to college for your first semester can be scary, and even if you are the most aspiring first year to go to college you will still have some questions. Almost all colleges have orientations where they welcome you and introduce you to college or the university, but not everything is included in the orientation package. This guide will help you start right at your college career.

1. Colleges Have Rules on What You Can Bring

Before you move in to college, check and go through the list of what items you aren't approved to bring in college, especially if you're staying in a college dorm. Rules vary from college to college, so what your friend has told you to carry might not be acceptable in your college. Maybe a mini-fridge/microwave is acceptable in their college dorm but not acceptable in your dorm. Pet hamsters, incense candles are mostly likely forbidden. Go through you college packing guide as you may find even halogen lamps or power strips are prohibited in your university.

2. Don't Pack Everything in Your Closet

Dorm storage space that you will get when you go to college is one thing that many incoming first-years overestimate. Carry your necessities first and leave the other things at home as you may not need as many clothes as you think.

Most colleges have laundry facilities that are easily accessible and inexpensive and some colleges even offer free use of washers and dryers. Do some prior research before you start classes to see whether you need to carry a lot of clothes.

3. You Might Not Like Your First Roommate

Roommate selection in your first semester of college is either done by randomly picking a roommate or a roommate who was selected based on your responses to a brief questionnaire. Based on these two selection methods, it's likely you will become the best of friends or it's also likely you might not get along.

This can be uncomfortable, but remember that you won't be in your room very much as most of the time you might be occupied in classes, clubs, campus events e.t.c. During this activities in campus, you will most likely have found a friend to room with for the next semester. However, if you can not handle your roommate during that semester your Residential Directors and Residential Advisors can help.

4. First Semester Classes Might Not Be That Great

Your first semester, you are most probably taking general education units which are known as a first-year seminar. These classes are different courses combined where you make a big 100-level lecture class. Some of these first-year classes aren't more engaging and most of these classes you are taught by graduate students rather than professors.

If your classes aren't what you had hoped for, keep in mind that as you progress your classes will become smaller and more specialized classes. If you're undecided, register as soon before classes fill up where you will have a wide range of classes to choose from. You can choose from creative fine art studios to upper-level science courses.

5. Know Where You Can Eat

Know where you can eat in college

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Food is one of the most important part in campus experience. During your first semester try all the multiple dining options in your college. To know the best place to eat, if you are a glutten-free person or a vegetarian ask your fellow students or check the college's website.

Food outside college is pretty good and cheap food too, go out of college to your nearest college town and have a try. Some off-campus establishments may even have arrangements with your college meal plan if many college students visit their place.

6. You Probably Won't Need a Car

Whether or not to bring your car to college on your first semester depends entirely on the college. Some colleges don't allow cars at all, while some will allow them in the freshmen year but won't allow them in the sophomore year. If you're to bring your car, you'll have to check with your university before you end up with your parking ticket.

If you are not allowed to bring a car in your college, you probably won't need one. Many colleges offer public transportation such as a bus, shuttle or taxi. If they do not offer public transportation then your college provides everything a student need within a walking distance.

7. Check Out the Wonderful IT Help Desk

The IT Help desk is an excellent resource in campus where most helpful people on a college campus can be found. If you need help with connecting to the school's WiFi, recovering lost documents, how to connect to a school printer, or even connecting to the library network.

It is also a good place to go and get help if one of your electronic devices has a problem or even your roommate spilled coffee on your laptop. There is no guarantee that the IT people can fix everything but it's a good start.

8. There is Plenty of Activity to Do

You might be worrying that you will become bored in campus but there is no need to worry as there is tons of things to do. Almost every college has frequent campus activities and events, lots of clubs and organizations.

These activities to do are not hard to find in campus. The registered student organizations normally post fliers and posters all around campus for clubs to join and things to do. Most clubs in colleges have social media pages where you can learn more about the club, but also contact its current members.

9. Plan on Your Career Early

Planning your courses early will help you have the credits you need to graduate on time. College is supposed to be a time of discovery and due to this you find some students changing their majors at least once during their time in college which is a good thing. With your academic career plan, still remain flexible as there is a good chance that you might end up changing it.

10. You Can Have Fun and Get Good Grades

You Can Have Fun and Get Good Grades in college

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Some freshmen have that fear that in college you either have time for having fun or good grades but not both. The truth is that in college for you to excel you should be pretty good at time management. You can get good grades in your course units and still have time to go to clubs and have fun. Manage your schedule well and have adequate sleep, too.


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