19 Tips for a Great College Experience

September 15, 2022

Going to college for the first time can pose questions about how to be prepared academically, what to bring to your dorm, how to make friends, and more. There are many things to consider with different expectations, a new environment, and a fresh start. We spoke with Meeting Street Scholarship Fund recipients Allen, who attends Clemson University, Kyra and Tre’Shauna students at Claflin University, Kyla who attends Winthrop University, and Ameer a student at The College of Charleston, and gathered their advice on making friends, the importance of studying, dorm necessities, and how to have a great college experience. 

Here are their tips for navigating your first year of college:

Study Habits

One of the most difficult parts of college can be adapting to difficult classes and increased workload.

  1. Change your study habits to accommodate the required work for each class. College is more challenging than high school, so you need to spend a lot of time in the library. 
  2. The only way to prepare for challenging midterms and finals is committing to studying regularly and applying yourself to your coursework.
  3. The professor won’t tell you to study or remind you when assignments are due. Make a calendar and manage your studying, classes, exercising, free time, etc. to help keep you on track and turn assignments in on time.
  4. Try to complete assignments right after class when the knowledge is fresh. 
  5. Get homework done before the weekend to enjoy free time. 
  6. Understand the difference between wants and needs. You may want to hang out with friends and have a good time, but if there is a test tomorrow, you need to study. Understanding the difference and prioritizing study time are important. 
  7. If you’re struggling with a subject, talk to the professor during office hours, create a study group with classmates, or use free tutoring services on campus. Get help right away and don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help so you don’t fall behind.

Finding Friends

Friends are an important part of college and can shape your college experience!

  1. Friends are everywhere, start by looking in classes for your major, you’ll likely find someone who you have multiple classes with—bonding over coursework can be a great start of a friendship.
  2. Find friends to study with—you’ll spend a lot of time in the library, and it’s nice to have a friend. 
  3. Join clubs, teams, or other activities that interest you to form new friendships and have fun outside the classroom or library.
  4. It is ok to have different friend groups—study, lunch, fun, and gym friends. 
  5. Find friends whose values and interests align with yours. 

Campus Resources

Each campus offers student resources and is often included in tuition costs. Take advantage of everything your college offers including career help, tutoring, exercise, and more.

  1. Use your advisor as a resource to answer questions about campus, classes, activities, and more. 
  2. Attend campus wellness facilities for therapy to help navigate challenges throughout the year and improve mental health. 
  3. Check your email several times a day because that’s how important information is shared, including cafeteria updates, canceled classes, and more. 

Dorm Necessities

It can be hard to determine what you need for your dorm— here are some items students didn’t want to live without, keeping in mind not bringing too much because it will fill up your room fast, and you may not need as much as you think you do.

  1. Shower shoes and shower caddy are important, especially for community bathrooms.
  2. Bring a long cell phone charger so you can always be within reach of your cord. 
  3. Don’t forget cleaning products, you’ll be responsible for keeping your room clean.
  4. A memory foam mattress topper will make your bed extra comfortable. 

Allen summed up his college experience by saying, “at the end of the day, everyone is going through the same thing regardless of their background. Everyone is studying and working toward their degree. We’re all in this together.” As you embark on your college journey, ask for help, make great friends, commit to studying, and enjoy the college experience. Everything will fall into place from there. 
For more resources and information about the Meeting Street Scholarship Fund, visit www.MeetingStreetScholarshipFund.org. For updates, news, and more, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.