Surviving Freshman Year Surviving Freshman Year

Surviving Freshman Year

The Work Is Harder

Courses are at a higher level than high-school classes and the material is presented at a faster pace. Plus, professors are likely to assign more reading, writing and problem sets than you may be used to.

Your Strategy

All first-year college students contend with this bend in the learning curve, so don't think having to struggle to keep up is somehow a failing on your part. Give yourself an opportunity to adjust gradually to the new academic demands. Choose a course load that includes some challenging classes and others that will be less intense.

You Make the Schedule

You are responsible for managing your time in college. If you cut classes and don't do assignments, no one will nag you.  You may wish they had if it comes time for the final exam and you don't know the material.

Your Strategy

Buy a calendar and make sure you write down when and where your classes meet, when assignments are due and when tests will take place. Give yourself ample time to study rather than waiting until the last minute and pulling an all-nighter.

More Independence and Responsibility

You may not have the same day-to-day support system as you do now. For example, how will you manage your money and debt, especially when credit card companies are bombarding you with offers? Who is around to make sure you're not getting sick or run down? Factors like stress, late-night parties and generally pushing yourself too hard can take a toll. It's called diminishing returns and it means that the more you push, the less you'll have to give.

Your Strategy

Don't always do what's easiest at the time. Make smart decisions. For example, when it comes to your money, stick to a budget and use credit cards wisely. When it comes to your health, get enough sleep, eat well and pay attention to what your body tells you. You'll need energy to enjoy all that college has to offer.

A New Social Scene

New social opportunities (and pressures) abound. Suddenly, you can recreate yourself in any way you want.

Your Strategy

While forming new friendships can be exhilarating, true friendships are formed slowly, and the beginning of college can be a lonely time. If you're unsure about participating in certain social activities, don't hesitate to seek guidance about the best ways to resist these pressures. Talk to parents, trusted friends from high school and college counselors.

College is full of resources—professors, tutors, counselors and often resident advisers. In college it is up to you to initiate getting help. The good news is that once you do adjust to college life, it opens new doors to all sorts of learning—and living.

Courtesy of

Read Your Way to a Great Campus Experience

The College Buzz Book, 2006 Edition By Vault Editors. A great resource guide to college life, compiled from the comments of actual undergrads on some of the country's many institutions of higher learning.

How to Survive Your Freshman Year (Hundreds of Heads Survival Guide) Editors Mark W. Bernstein and Yadin Kaufmann. Get the inside scoop on dorm life, the horrible college food and more from a sampling of students surveyed for this book.

Confessions of a College Freshman: A Survival Guide for Dorm Life, Biology Lab, the Cafeteria, and Other First-Year Adventures By Zach Arrington. Far from home and feeling strange? Listen to these words of advice from someone who's been there and felt that.

Major in Success: Make College Easier, Fire Up Your Dreams, and Get a Very Cool Job By Jack Caufield and Patrick Combs. Want to achieve all you can? Then grab this title and check out the wisdom on finding the right major and getting passionate about your studies and future career.

Navigating Your Freshman Year (Students Helping Students series) By Allison Lombardo.