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How to Survive your First Year of College 101

Written by CB Experts

Congratulations on starting your first year on campus! This is a year that will be a huge transition for you. Things have changed from last year: you’re away from home, you have different intellectual expectations, and you have more freedom.

To deal with first year college changes and challenges CollegeBasics offers some basics dos and don’ts that can help you navigate through this extraordinary but demanding year.


Do attend classes.  If you don’t attend all your classes you miss out on

  • information,
  • meeting and getting to know fellow students with like concerns and goals,
  • getting to understand your professors and their expectations, and
  • learning the flow and tempo of this course.

Do explore; now is the time to try different things.

  • Take courses in subject areas you know nothing about or which are totally different from your usual areas of interest.
  • Join clubs and activities you haven’t tried before.
  • Talk to different people: people not in your dorm, people not in your classes, people of different faiths and ethnicity, of different ages and backgrounds.
  • Go to places you have not seen, like the other end of campus or into the town where your college is located.

Do understand you are not the only one who is nervous or who questions whether or not you belong. Share your feelings!

Do relax. Be okay with the fact you are not sure what your life will be or what you’ll major in.



Don’t spend too much time on your computer.

  • Have certain times each day when you are not available via FaceBook, etc. You’ll be more mysterious.
  • And, don’t take your laptop to class. Instead, engage in discussion, pay attention, and learn to take considered notes, not key in the lecture verbatim.

Don’t let a boyfriend get in your way.

  • If you keep the at-home boyfriend, you’ll be on the phone or going home and missing lots of opportunities.
  • If you have an off-campus boyfriend, loosen your ties. If you have a strong relationship, it will survive.

Don’t make college party time central. It’s fine to party but when partying is the main or only focus, you’ve lost balance and you will be losing out on the other side of what college can offer.

Your first year at college can be a hard time for you. You may need a little guidance; you may even falter a bit. But, if you follow these Dos in Don’ts, especially in spirit, and have a level head, you just might survive.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.