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How To Survive Your Freshman Year of College

By Adrianna Ngo

Email: adriannango@berkeley.edu


Going to college is a completely new experience, unlike that of entering high school. As a college student, you are now provided with academic and social freedom that is both liberating and tricky to navigate. Here are some tips to help prepare you for your first year of college:


1. When it comes to selecting classes, do your research!


As class enrollment times come around, you want to ensure that you are taking classes that you are genuinely interested in or need for a major/minor requirement. Not only that, but do research on the professors as well, using sites such as Rate My Professor. This will allow you to understand the style of each professor, and select one that best matches your learning style. If your school shares grade distributions for a course from a previous semester, take advantage of it in order to assess the difficulty of a course.


2. Look for your textbooks online


Let’s face it, college is expensive. Not only do you have to pay for your tuition, school supplies, and living expenses, you also are expected to pay for textbooks. Before making any rash decisions and buying/renting your textbooks immediately, look online for cheaper or FREE resources. Openstax is a great place to start!


3. Use a calendar or planner


In college, there are a thousand different things you are expected to focus on. Classes, clubs, work, study sessions, and social events are all hard to keep track of. Investing in having an organized calendar or planner is very helpful and can keep you on schedule so you don’t fall behind. We recommend using Google calendar - check out a free tutorial here.


4. Go to class...just do it



Whether class is online or not, go to class! I cannot stress this enough — class is very important and even if attendance is not mandatory, you should still go to class and build a pattern or habit of engagement. When you stop going to class, it becomes easier and easier to lose track of content Before you know it, you are behind and your midterm is in two days. Think of it this way, you are paying money for a quality education, might as well go to class and gain that education!


5. Network with upperclassmen and find a mentor


Coming into a brand new college can be very difficult and overwhelming. There are so many clubs, organizations, and opportunities that you are probably unaware of and talking with upperclassmen can help you navigate this landscape. Find upperclassmen to build solid networks with and use them as mentors. They will give you the inside information that your orientation won’t cover. Learn from their mistakes.




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