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4 Useful Tips for Your First Year of College

Written by CB Community

Many people say that college is the best four years of your life, and it’s easy to see why.

College can be a ton of fun, with so many amazing educational and social opportunities for young people to learn more about themselves, make new friends, develop new skills, and become more independent.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that a lot of young people are really excited about the idea of starting college and eager to get the first year underway.

At the same time, it can also be quite daunting to think about leaving home for such a long period, perhaps for the first time in your life, and adjusting to a whole new way of living.

Here are some top tips to help out:

1. Drive Safely

Many college students will have learned how to drive before they start their freshman year and might even be bringing their own vehicles along to campus.

This can be a good advantage, as it makes it easier for you to live an independent life, getting off campus and exploring the local area with your friends more easily or heading home to see your parents from time to time.

However, statistics show that young drivers tend to be at a particularly high risk of accidents due to issues like a lack of experience on the roads and peer pressure causing them to make mistakes or break the rules.

So make sure you drive safely, using signals and mirrors, adhering to the speed limits, and never getting behind the wheel when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

2. Study Should Be Your Priority

It’s clear to see that there’s more to college than studying. Campuses are famed for their parties, their nightlife, their social activities, and all of the other things you can see and do each day.

As a first-year student, you may be eager to attend some of these famous parties and get in with the social side of college, but it’s important to remember the main purpose of campus: education.

All of your hard work through middle school and high school has effectively been building up to your college days, and it’s always a shame when students who have worked so hard in the past end up focusing more on having fun and letting loose rather than working hard and preparing for exams.

Don’t forget to make education your priority; there’ll still be plenty of time for fun and friends later on.

3. Eat Well and Exercise Often

Have you heard of the “Freshman Five” or “Freshman 15”? It’s a commonly-held belief that many first-year college students end up gaining five or more pounds during their first year because they’re suddenly living independently and forced to fend for themselves in terms of their diet.

This leads to many of them eating more junk food and fast food, as well as exercising less.

Trying to keep up with all the changes of college life can be hard, and it’s often difficult to get your schedule in order and find time to prepare delicious home-cooked meals or hit the gym each day.

Try to eat healthily whenever possible, finding some quick and easy recipes you can rely on, as well as exercising as often as possible in order to stay in shape.

4. Join Some Clubs and Activities

Following on from the previous point, while it’s important to study often, read your books, prepare for your exams, and do your homework, it’s also vital to make sure you’re making the most of the many opportunities that college can provide.

And you might be blown away when you first get to campus and see the sheer quantity of extra-curricular activities, clubs, and groups you can join up with.

The average college campus has a long list of these kinds of activities, including everything from chess and debate clubs to improv comedy classes, sports teams, cheerleading, self-defense, yoga, history club, poetry club, quiz club, creative writing club, academic competitions, arts and crafts sessions, language learning clubs, and so much more.

Getting involved with these activities can help you learn new skills, make new friends, and strengthen your resume for your future career.


College can be an extraordinary experience, filled with discovery and personal development, but in order to make the most of those three or four years, you need to have the right approach.

Keep these tips in mind to get off to the best possible start in your freshman year.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.