13 Tips to Ace Your College Experience

October 11, 2023

Starting college can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. We spoke with Dr. Monica Greene Robertson, assistant vice president for Honors and College Experiences at Claflin University, to get her top tips for a fun and successful college experience. 

13 Tips for a Successful Freshman Year

  1. Academics come first. A lot is happening on campus, but the main reason you’re there is to earn a degree. Make sure going to class and studying is your top priority; everything else should come after. 
  2. Learn how to manage your time. When you’re in college, it’s up to you to coordinate your activities and tasks. Write your entire schedule from 7 or 8 a.m. until midnight. Include time for classes, studying, eating, doing laundry and exercising so you know how much time you can devote to each activity. Getting into the habit of creating a schedule and sticking to it will help set you up for long-term success.
  3. Set goals. Identify what you want to achieve; this can help instill a sense of pride and determination. Take steps to accomplish these goals, and don’t let minor setbacks get you down.
  4. Don’t procrastinate. If you have an assignment, start it right away; don’t leave it to the last minute to begin. Completing assignments early will help ensure you deliver your best work and are fully prepared for classes and exams.
  5. Find study partners. Studying with friends can make it more fun and can even help boost your memory. Find someone with similar study habits in your class and get together weekly to study and work on assignments.
  6. Don’t fall behind. If you don’t understand something in class, ask the teacher right away. The sooner you understand something, the quicker you can get back on track. If you need ongoing help with a subject, seek extra help at the campus tutoring center.
  7. Know your campus resources. Get familiar with services available on your campus. Many resources are available to students, including mentoring, food pantries and financial aid. If you aren’t sure where to go, college advisors can point you in the right direction.
  8. Consider your career. If you’re unsure what career you want to pursue after graduation, visit your campus career services center. This can help you identify your strengths and interests so you take the right classes to reach your career goals.
  9. Make an effort to meet new people. This can help reduce feelings of homesickness, expand your horizon and make for a more enjoyable experience. Try to meet people with different interests, backgrounds or hometowns to understand other perspectives and have a more well-rounded experience.
  10. Get involved. College is meant to prepare you for the real world, but that doesn’t mean you should only focus on academics. Get involved with clubs or organizations you’re interested in to meet people with similar interests. Attend club fairs to see what is available and sign up for two or three that interest you.
  11. Consider your safety. Make sure you remain aware of your surroundings when walking to places alone at night. Consider walking with a friend or carrying pepper spray.
  12. Don’t ignore your health. Get into the habit of eating well, exercising and caring for your physical and mental health. This will help ensure you feel your best so you can perform your best. Your college has resources to support you with these, so if you need extra help, it’s available to you. Read our blog post about how food can impact study habits.
  13. Check your email. Teachers and administrators will send updates and announcements via email, so it’s important to get into the habit of checking your email several times a day so you don’t miss anything.

 Establishing good habits as a freshman will help ensure a fun and successful college career.  

For more student resources and information about the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, visit MeetingStreetScholarshipFund.org. For updates, news, and more, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.