August 19, 2018

The Freshman Thirteen: College Essay Whiz’s Top 13 Tips on Starting Your Freshman Year

With the first year of college just around the corner, many students are feeling loads of anxiety.  Don’t worry–that’s perfectly normal! While college is an exciting opportunity you’ve been preparing for for years, it’s also completely new and filled with unknowns. One way of calming your nerves is to identify what’s making you nervous and to answer each fear constructively.  Here at College Essay Whiz, we’ve brainstormed several common stressors for new students and made a list of things you can do to ease your fears.  Here a few ideas of what you can do if you’re stressed about…

… academics:

1. Take a look at all of the exciting courses you can take your first semester and make a list of the ones you’d like to try.

2. Review your favorite study methods from high school to remind yourself of the excellent habits that helped you get to college in the first place.

3. Investigate the academic support resources your college offers; for example, locate someone who can introduce you to new study techniques; learn about professors’ office hours to answer additional questions from class, etc.

… living away from home:

4. If you’re worried about what to pack, look at College Essay Whiz’s packing list!  Also, see if your school or your favorite store has a suggested packing list. Find out if you can order what you need and then pick it up from the store that is closest to your school. Some of these stores will even deliver to your dorm!

5. Get in touch with your roommates and suitemates to decide who is going to bring what.  That will save money as well as give you an opportunity to get to know the people you will live with.

6. Learn a few skills you may not have used before, like doing laundry or preparing a simple dorm room meal.

7. Take a tour of your new neighborhood using GoogleMaps Street View to acquaint yourself with the area, or look up where resources like the school store, health center, restaurants that deliver, and grocery stores are so you feel prepared for your first days in a new place.

… making new friends:

8. Participate in the common first-week-of-school events like orientation and club fairs.

9. Take a look at the student life section of your college’s website and get excited about a few student groups you might want to join.

10. If your new freshman class has a Facebook group or other online forum, join that and chat with other incoming students–you’ll soon see they’re just as nervous and have as many questions as you!

… developing a new support network:

11. Many colleges pair their students with academic advisers to guide them through college life; find out if your college does this or something similar.

12. Check out your college’s mental health resources–college is a stressful time and often student groups and/or a college’s health center will offer counseling to help.

13. Ask questions of your resident advisers, orientation leaders, and other older students you meet through your activities about any questions you have.  They’ve all been in your shoes!

We hope this helps!  College may be scary at first, but soon it will all become the new norm.  Have a wonderful time!

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