Helpful Advice for Freshmen About College Life

Updated on August 4, 2017
Purpose Embraced profile image

Dr. Yvette Stupart is a clinical counselor and educator. She gives insights on how to experience emotional health and relational well-being.

Make your college days count!
Make your college days count! | Source

Attending college is a major milestone in your life as a teen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2012, 66.2 percent of 2012 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities.

Attending college is a major transition that comes with excitement, but you might also be apprehensive as you leave the security of your family and friends. The transition to college requires changes in every area of your life, and you will need support to develop your identity as a student and as a young adult.

After you move away from home, you will meet new people, have greater responsibilities, and have new demands on you. This requires major adjustments on your part to deal with the opportunities and challenges for a successful college life. If you read this article on teen advice about college life, you will find that the following five suggestions will help you to effectively transition from high school to a successful college experience.

1. Adapt to Your New Environment

It is likely that you will feel lonely when you are separated from your family and friends. One way to overcome this loneliness is to get involved in college life. Start participating in school activities; choose activities that you enjoy and are comfortable with. You can also use them as an avenue to develop your interests.

In your new college setting, you will learn a new set of behaviors, adopt a particular identity as a college student, and begin to associate yourself with new groups of people. An important aspect of adjusting to your new environment is making new friends who could serve as a support system for you.

You will be confronted with pressures in your new social situation, and the choices you make could have far-reaching implications on your life. Also, within your new environment, you will need to take steps to protect your safety and use the safety resources available at your college.

Importantly, Stephanie Kaplan and colleagues in their book, The Her Campus Guide to College Life, encourage college students to make every effort to stay safe. They describe how to be prepared for worst-case scenarios such theft, intruders or even sexual assaults.

How Do You Feel About Going to College?

If you are planning to go to college, how do you feel about it?

See results

Ways to Get Ready for College

2. Set Your Priorities and Manage Your Time

Your schedule in college will be different from high school, and so you will need to balance your time, which includes giving enough time to your assignments, clubs, work, and social life. In this context, it might seem that you have so little time to do all the things you need to do, and this could be a source of stress for you.

Begin by scheduling your time, and prioritizing your commitments to make college life more manageable. Assess your situation to ensure that you do not take on too many obligations. One way to do this is to ask yourself these two questions: What are my long-term goals? What activities best fit into these goals?

After you have honestly answered these questions, make a schedule that reflects how you want to spend your time at college to get the best from your college career. Then use your day planner to organize your day, so that you balance your school work with your other activities.

In all of this, recognize that pursuing your education should take priority. Use your schedule to organize yourself, so that you can manage your time effectively and achieve your goals. As you forward, adjust and fine-tune your schedule so that it works for you.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

— Nelson Mandella

3. Maintain Acceptable Academic Standards

College is demanding, and you could find it difficult to keep up with the increased academic pressure to maintain high grades. Even more, the high expectations of your parents and the requirements of the college could leave you feeling under intense stress.

You can take several steps to stay on top of things. Start by budgeting enough time for study. Also, be careful to attend class and keep up with your reading and assignments. Importantly, you will need to learn to ask for help when you need it.

You can't do it alone. So you might need to contact the Dean’s office or access your campus resource center which offers help to students who are experiencing academic difficulties. Besides, you could become a part of a study group which provides you with academic and social support.

Be sure to keep your focus and balance your priorities.
Be sure to keep your focus and balance your priorities. | Source

4. Learn to Handle Your New Freedom

As a college student, you will have greater personal freedom. It’s an exciting time, but it could be overwhelming because you might not be used to this level of freedom. You could find managing your newfound freedom difficult.

Leaving home means that you become more independent, and you get opportunities to make more choices and decisions without the assistance of your parents. However, your inability to use your freedom in a responsible way could result in your making poor choices, which could have a negative effect on your grades, and your overall success in college.

You have the responsibility to make choices that will give you the results you want. So you will need to evaluate your behavior in college and make decisions to move in a productive direction in your college career.

Healthy choices would include managing your money well and avoiding risk taking behaviors such as drinking and drug abuse. Unhealthful behaviors could lead to more problems such as anxiety, depressions, and health issues. With the demands of college, stress can build up, but find self-enhancing ways to cope with it.

Stick to a schedule that balances your social life with your school work. For example, getting regular exercise, and practising deep breathing, could help relieve the pressure that might build up. Also, reviewing and changing your self-talk could affect how much stress you feel. Also, take steps to find out where to turn for help, for example, your school counseling and/or wellness center.

5. Build and Maintain Healthy Relationships

While you need to maintain relationships with your family and old friends, you could find it difficult to maintain some of these relationships because of the distance that separates you. However, open communication is very important to continue your relationships, for example, with your best friend who is enrolled at another college. Stay connected through phone calls and emails.

You also need to build new relationships in your new setting. However, this sometimes poses a problem. For example, there could be the challenge of adjusting to a new roommate, who is likely to have different habits, boundaries, and value systems from yours.

Learning to live with someone new might be challenging, but communicate with your roommate. Both of you need to establish rules from the start, for example, the need for quiet time, personal space and so on. Also, remember that showing respect is always very important.

Become involved in organized campus activities. As you increase your involvement in college life, you will build new friendships and relationships, which will have a positive effect on your well-being. You will maintain and improve your relationships, as you build your communication skills, show concern for others, and develop your problem-solving skills.

Tips to Spend Less Money In College

Summary: Teen Tips for Successful College Life

Seps to a Successful College Life
Possible Challenges
Steps to Overcome Challenges
1. Adapting to your new environment
Loneliness resulting from separation from family and friends
Get involved in college life
Choose activities you enjoy.
New social pressure
Make right choices.
Take steps top protect your safety.
2. Setting priorities and managing your time
Overwhelming college schedule
Strive for balance: academic vs, social activities
Proper assessment of your situation
Shedule your time and prioritize your commitment.
Use your planner to organize each day.
3. Maintaining acceptable academic standards
Increased academic demands; high expectations from parents
Budget time enough for study.
Attend your classes and keep up with assignments.
Ask for help when you need it.
4. Learning to handle new freedom
Difficulty managing new freedom; making poor choices
Make decisions that get you the results you want.
Manage your money well; avoid risk taking behaviors.
Change self-defeating self-talk to self-enhancing ones.
5. Building and maitaining relationships
Difficulty maintaining old relationships and forming new ones.
Communicate your needs to your family and old freinds.
Collaboratively set ground rules with your roommate.
Get involved in campus activities, and form new friendships.
You can cope with the opportunities and challenges of college life, and transition successfully into adulthood.

Moving on in Your College Life

The way you transition from high school into your first year of college is likely to have a great impact on your life. The key is to use your increased personal freedom and greater responsibility to organize yourself to get an education because you recognize that this is your primary purpose for your being in college.

While maintaining acceptable academic standards is important, you must find a healthy balance in your college life. Balancing your academics and your social life means that you take care of yourself, get involved in college activities, and seek help to address any problem you may face.

References and Further Reading

Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor (2013).College enrollment and work activity of 2012 high school graduate. Accessed July 9, 2013.

Lefton, L. A., Brannon, L., Boyes, M.C. & Ogden, N. A. (2008). Psychology. (3rd. ed.). Toronto, Ontario, Pearson Allyn and Bacon.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Yvette Stupart PhD

    Join in the conversation ...

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Purpose Embraced profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvette Stupart PhD 

        10 months ago from Jamaica

        Thanks, Lincy. I hope they find it helpful.

      • Lincy Francis profile image

        Lincy Francis 

        10 months ago from Allahabad

        Nice article for college-bound students!

      • Purpose Embraced profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvette Stupart PhD 

        23 months ago from Jamaica

        Thanks, Josh.

      • profile image


        23 months ago

        cool info

      • Purpose Embraced profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvette Stupart PhD 

        5 years ago from Jamaica

        Just take one step at a time, and you will find that you will gain more confidence as you move forward. I wish you all the best for your years in college.

      • profile image 

        5 years ago

        My college is going to start and i really needed this to get over my insecurities and fear of college and proffesors...

      • Purpose Embraced profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvette Stupart PhD 

        6 years ago from Jamaica

        Thanks FourishAnyway. I am happy you find my article useful. I hope it can help to prepare your daughter for her transition to college when the times comes.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        6 years ago from USA

        Very nicely written. Although my daughter is a few years away from college, she is starting to think about it. I will share this with her, as I think she'll find it useful. So many kids assume they want to go very far from Mom and Dad without realizing that loneliness might affect them.

      • Purpose Embraced profile imageAUTHOR

        Yvette Stupart PhD 

        6 years ago from Jamaica

        Thanks MsDora, I really hope teens find this hub helpful. The transition to college holds so much excitement and opportunities for teens, but they need guidance to chart the course for a successful college life.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        6 years ago from The Caribbean

        Great advice! And college kid would benefit greatly by reading and heeding your instructions. The table summary is a big plus. Voted Up and Useful.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)