How to Be Successful in College: A Freshman Guide

Did you know that over 30% of freshman students in college feel overwhelmed and anxious in their first year?

Leaving home and going out on your own is exciting but it can be a bit much if you don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary.

If you want to be successful during your freshman year, there are things you can do to help your education and social life.

Continue reading to discover some of the best tips for being successful in college for your freshman year!

Head to the Library

One of the best tips for being successful in college is to head to the library.

The library is one of the best resources that you get with your education. At the library, you can go on the public computers, print, and handle documenting needs. You can also check out books to help you with your studies and book reports.

If you have a hard time concentrating or holding yourself accountable for studying, the library will be your solution. Going to the library will help motivate you to get work done and you will be in a friendly environment to focus. Seeing everyone else studying will help encourage you to do the same and the quiet atmosphere will help you.

Depending on how your library is set up, there might be different floors or sections with rules. Some areas are reserved for group work, where you can talk quietly and sometimes eat. Other sections will have rules about the noise level and no eating food or having drinks.

Make Friends

Being successful in college is about more than just your studies.

If you want to look back and be proud of your college years, you will need to make some friends. Joining a club or study group can introduce you to like-minded individuals that have similar interests as you.

College is a great place to make new friends because you each get a fresh start from high school. Many people that have lifelong friends met their besties in college.

It is also beneficial to make friends at college because you will have a lot of downtime and want to do something fun. Hanging out with other people is a great way to unwind from intense study sessions and give yourself a break.

Use Online Resources

If you want to improve your academic performance when it comes to writing, there are several resources to check out.

Hemingway Editor is excellent at editing papers and highlighting sentences that are hard to read. Not only will it improve the structure and format of your writing, but it will also give you a word count and reading level.

Capitalize My Title is another resource that students could benefit from in English and writing courses. Whether you need to write a story, blog, or paper, this site can help. Capitalize My Title lets you enter your headings, and it shows you which words need to be capitalized.

Pinterest is another great place to look for educational resources. Many people have their blogs linked to Pinterest with informative and helpful learning tools. Look for blog posts with YouTube videos that will help you learn your course.

When you are feeling stuck and not understanding a concept, a simple online search can clear up any confusion. 

Also read: Changes in Education industry

Apply for Scholarships

It is no secret that a college education can be expensive in the United States.

Tuition and books cost a lot of money per semester, leaving many people stuck with student loans. If you want to save money during your college experience, you need to apply for scholarships. Scholarships have an application and approval process that can help you pay for your education without having to pay anyone back.

If you want help to find scholarships, go to this article here for more information.

Getting on a scholarship will have its rules, however. Most schools have a GPA requirement to maintain your scholarship. If you struggle and your GPA suffers, it could cause a probation period. Don’t make the mistake of losing a scholarship because your social life gets in the way.

Sit In The Front

College advice can seem endless, but one of the most effective tips to follow is to sit in front of the class.

It is easy to disappear in the back of a lecture hall, especially when hundreds of kids are in a class. Students that sit in the back of the lectures tend to pay less attention and have a difficult time hearing or seeing the lesson.

Sitting in the front of the lecture hall will help you pay better attention to the class and keep you engaged. You will be less likely to wander the internet during class if you know you have people behind you. It will also be less intimidating to answer and ask questions in class because you can see people turn their heads to look back at you!

Be Prepared for Lesson

During your college journey, you will get comfortable with courses and increase the chance of being unprepared.

If you want to be successful in college, you should always prepare for each lesson. For example, when you are going to talk about chapter 6 in class, you should have already read the chapter. Reading the chapter before the lecture gives you the chance to clarify any confusion that you have by asking questions.

Many people make the mistake of skipping the reading or reading after the lesson. This way of studying isn’t as effective and won’t help you retain the information. At the beginning of the semester, print out your course schedules so that you know what lessons to prepare for.

Simply reading ahead of time is beneficial. If you want to make the most out of your efforts though, you should be answering questions from the book and taking notes.

Get a Calendar

Something that high school doesn’t fully prepare you for is learning how to balance your schedule.

Before classes start, invest in a good calendar or planner. Once you get your course syllabus, you can write down all of the quiz and exam dates in your planner. You should also use this as a place to track when reports or projects are due.

Having a calendar will help you stay on track with your assignments and courses. It is easy to miss a due date in one class when you are busy focusing on all of your others. To make your calendar easy to understand, use certain colors with each course so that you don’t confuse anything.

Rent & Borrow Books

No matter what college major you have, you can find many places to get discounted textbooks.

Last year, freshman students spent an average of more than $1,200 on books and supplies in the United States. If you have a full course load, you can expect to pay about this price, unless you look other places than your school bookstore.

Some bookstores will let you rent books rather than purchase them. If you have this opportunity, take advantage of it. Unless you want to own a copy of a book that relates to your major, you likely won’t pick it up after the class ends.

Local bookstores around your campus are also great places to look for discounted books. If you have time, you can even order used options through Amazon or other resale book stores.

If you already have friends who have taken a class you are in, you could ask them to borrow a copy of the book if they own it. Borrowing books with your friends and other students can save you a lot of money and from getting anxious about finances.

How to Be Successful in College

Go to Your Classes

Skipping class might seem like a good idea if you are tired from a late-night study sesh and don’t want to go to your 8 AM lecture.

Unfortunately, skipping classes can lead you down a slippery slope and impact your academic success. When you skip a class, there is a lot of information that you are missing. Not going to class also runs the risk of missing announcements or opportunities for extra credit.

If you don’t want to fall behind in your courses, you should attend every scheduled lecture. If you have no choice but to miss a class, contact your professor ahead of time and meet with another student to get notes.

Even if you feel confident in your knowledge during a lesson, you should still head to class. Many students regret skipping because they aren’t prepared for the progression of the course. Online courses and lectures are a great way to catch up, but not all professors offer these options.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Have you ever tried to study or take an exam when you are anxious or depressed?

Your emotions play a major role in your ability to perform on education materials. More than 40% of college students in the United States suffer from depression and anxiety. Taking care of your mental health is more important than studying for your next exam.

If you aren’t able to address internal issues, your memory will suffer and you won’t be able to absorb as much material during your lessons. Although you shouldn’t be skipping classes and assignments to feel happy for an hour, you do need to find balance.

Prioritizing your mental health needs is essential so that you can make the most of your college career. Colleges and universities offer counseling services to their students, which are free and helpful. You can also find a therapist outside of campus if you want someone to talk to.

A great way to take care of your mental health without having to see something is by pampering yourself. Taking a long shower, getting rest, and relaxing are some of the most beneficial things to do to feel better.

Get Involved

There are many clubs and organizations that you can get involved in within the college.

Most schools have a requirement of fewer than 10 people to form a club, so if you have an interest, you can create one! Joining programs and clubs will help you meet new people and network within your field. It is easy to make friends in these clubs because you already have a common interest or background.

Another reason to join clubs is so that you can get community service hours and have fun with others. There are so many benefits to getting involved on the campus and it will make your education experience enhanced.

During orientation week, take time to learn about all of the organizations on your campus. Whether you want to join a sorority or fraternity, or you want to help the planet, there is a club to support you.

Some of the most interesting clubs on campus involve squirrels, nerf gun battles, and even Pokemon!

You Can Be Successful in College

If you want to be successful in college, there are a couple of areas that you need to focus on.

Taking care of yourself, having a social life, and focusing on classes are all as important as the other. If you neglect one area of your life while you are in college, your grades or mood might suffer. Try to go to the library and sit in the front of the class to absorb more information while you are focusing.

Take time to hang out with friends and relax so that you don’t get burnt out. College is an amazing experience and when done correctly, you will only look back on it while smiling.

Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about the college journey and getting the most out of your education!

© Ruchie Verma.

Copyright Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Ruchi Verma

Certified parenting teen practitioner, multiple Award winner, mother of two active kids believes in sharing the right source of information to readers which could help them in every possible way!!

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  1. The ease of becoming successful is at its all-time high in the young generations, especially college-going students. These are full of energy and enthusiasm and always looking for something new and unique.

  2. These are very good tips for being successful in college. I love the fact that visiting the library is also included and applying for scholarships. Hope I had read this guide when I was in college.

  3. These are some excellent college success tips for students to keep throughout their degree program. Indeed It will help them a lot if they try to participate in extracurricular activities through on-campus and off-campus organisations. That would be very beneficial in getting along with other students.

  4. You mentioned all needed pointers that would help one become a great freshman. The library is indeed an ocean where one can enrich themselves.

  5. College life is one of the best time in one’s life, so one needs to make the most of it. To be successful in college, just make the first attempt at making friends. Go to fests, participate in extra curricular activities, and make memories of a lifetime.

  6. Sitting in the front is the best advice, honestly. It can make a huge difference to the learning curve, attention and retention of knowledge. I am glad I stumbled upon this article.

  7. These are very good tips for being successful in college. I love the fact that visiting the library. Participate in extra curricular activities of a lifetime.

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