7 Pro College Tips to Surviving Your First Year of College

college tips

Thirty percent of college students don’t make it through or come back after their first year of higher education. If you’re preparing for your freshman year, it’s important that you take proactive steps to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Don’t let this statistic scare you, however. With these college tips, you’ll be able to survive and thrive in your freshman year.

Keep reading for 7 pro college tips for making it through year one of college.

1. Get (and Stay) Organized

First and foremost, let’s start with one of the foundational tips for college success: getting organized. Start by getting your papers organized.

It’s a good idea to get a binder or file box. Either way, set up a separate section for each of your classes. This way, you can keep important documents and know exactly where to find them.

For example, after your first week of classes, put all of your class syllabi in their respective locations. This will help keep things under control.

The same concept applies to your digital files. On your computer, make a folder for each semester. Then, inside this folder, make a unique folder for each of your courses.

From then on, always save documents, projects, and presentations, in their correct location. Even though this takes longer, it will save you so much time in the long run.

Also, stay organized when it comes to your textbooks. As soon as you find out which books you need for each class, get those rented and then keep them in the same place in your study area all semester long.

2. Get in the Planning Habit

Next, know this: your planner will be your best friend. Let’s say you’re taking four classes. Chances are you’ll have multiple assignments, various tests, and lots of projects in each of them.

Staying on top of all of this can be really hard. This is where your planner will come in handy.

Whether you prefer a physical or digital version, use your planner to record due dates for all of your assignments. Often, you’ll receive a syllabus with a class schedule during the first week of school.

When you receive this, take some time to go through your planner and add all of the important dates you’ll need to know.

3. Watch What You Eat

We’ve all heard about the freshman fifteen. And the truth is that it’s real. In fact, 70% of college students gain weight by graduation.

Combat unwanted weight gain by eating right. Late-night pizza, fast food runs, and microwave burritos can create an unhealthy diet.

Combat this by integrating healthier snacks and meals into your routine. Of course, it’s okay to have a burger and fries, but don’t make this your everyday meal.

4. Work, Work, Work

Another pro tip? Get a job.

In high school, you have a regular routine with a set schedule every day and parents who enforce a curfew. But for college freshmen, they’ve often moved out for the first time, and sometimes don’t have class until 10 am. 

When you don’t have a set routine, it can be easy to get lazy and procrastinate. This is where it can be beneficial to get a part-time job. This way, you’ll have set times to get your homework done before or after shifts.

Of course, school should be your priority. But a side job can help you organize your time and give you some extra spending money. It’s a win-win.

5. Get That Sleep

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. But for many college freshmen, it’s tough to get those 8 full hours.

Parties with new friends, late-night homework sessions, and dates can all get in the way of a good night’s sleep.

Here are some reasons to make sure you’re getting the sleep you need:

  • Losing sleep causes extra stress
  • A tired mind has a harder time paying attention in class
  • Your brain process information from your short-term memory as you sleep
  • Sleep helps regulate your metabolism
  • Rest will help you regulate your emotions

Simply put, make sure you get that much-needed shut-eye.

6. Go to Class

This may seem obvious, but it’s essential when it comes to college tips. Far too many college students skip classes just for the fun of it.

But to succeed, you need to go to class. In fact, we recommend setting a goal to have perfect attendance.

This is because attendance is one of the best predictors of success in college. If you don’t go to class, you’ll miss out on essential learning opportunities, not to mention information you’ll need to succeed on exams.

7. Don’t Get a Credit Card

Now that you’re 18 and in college, it’s likely that you’ll start receiving lots of credit card offers.

This is because they know college freshmen are young, inexperienced, and often strapped for cash. This makes for the perfect storm resulting in quick money for you in the short-term and huge profits for the credit card companies in interest charges and late fees.

As a freshman, it’s better to avoid the credit temptation altogether. Instead, stick with a debit card until you need to start building your credit down the road.

The College Tips You Need to Succeed

Now that you’ve read through these college tips for freshmen, it’s time to put them into place. Think about the areas that you need help in the most and start to apply these ideas. Your future self will thank you.

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College Organization Tips to Keep Students on Track and Stress-Free

It’s scary to think that 3 out of 4 students report feeling stressed. College is supposed to be the best time of your life!

You might think that cutting back on sleep is the best way to fit everything in. It’s easy to fall back on a diet of coffee and energy drinks.

But with a little planning, you can actually find extra time you didn’t know you had.

Read on to learn our best college organization tips.

1. Learn to Prioritize

The best way to make sure you manage to fit everything in is to learn to prioritize. The sad fact is, you can’t possibly do everything.

But you can do more with your time than you think. All you need is a plan of how you’re going to spend your time.

Sit down for an hour on a Sunday evening to plan to week ahead. You can even invite your friends and have a group planning session.

Or use it as an excuse for some ‘me’ time. Light some candles, make a mug of your favorite drink, and sit down with your planner.

If you’re an artistic person, you might want to try keeping a bullet journal.

Check out The High Performance Planner for inspiration.

Block in your classes first, then add your shifts at work if you have a job. Next add social engagements and other commitments. These will change from week to week.

Now you can use half of the remaining time for assignments and studying. Devote the other half to exercise and down time.

If you get a call from a friend to do something and it falls during a study period? It’s up to you to decide how important that social event is.

You’re allowed to say no!

2. Use Technology for Your To-Do List

You probably find yourself getting stressed or anxious because you’re trying to remember everything. Let technology do the heavy lifting for you.

Choose an app to handle your to-do list. Todoist and Any.do are popular choices that work across devices.

Or try out Google Keep for a simple and free option. Add tick boxes to any note and turn your note into a checklist.

Set up the next week’s list during your Sunday planning session. If something is rolled across your to-do list for a week or two, decide if it’s important enough to keep on the list.

If it is, work out why you’re not doing it straight away.

3. Cut Down Distractions

Even the best willpower in the world won’t stop you from getting distracted. Put away your smartphone and close down all those browser tabs.

If that doesn’t work, try putting your laptop into flight mode so you can’t access the internet. Use a productivity app like Forest that rewards you for getting into the zone.

By cutting down distractions, you’re increasing how much work you can get done in a study session. Say you spend half of a two-hour study period browsing Facebook.

That means you need to do two of those study periods just to do two hours of work. But by cutting out the browsing, you can do it all in one sitting.

No one expects you to work for two hours solid. Try the Pomodoro technique to improve your productivity.

4. Set Your Own Deadlines

One of the reasons why students get so flustered is that they use the deadlines set by their tutor. But all it takes to throw you off track is a computer malfunction or a migraine.

So take the deadline you’ve been set and move it by a week. If you finish it by your deadline, you can submit early and have a more relaxing week.

But if something goes wrong or there’s an emergency, you’ve got the flexibility in your schedule to handle it.

Make sure your tutor knows if you’re struggling. There is help available if you ask for it.

5. Avoid Multi-Tasking

No one can actually do multiple things at once. If you try, all you’re doing is quickly jumping between tasks.

That means you never enter the flow state that’s required to make work easy. You’re interrupting yourself by switching from one task to another.

Instead, stay organized by sticking to one task at a time. You might think this will slow you down. But you’ll end up getting each task finished faster.

If you really can’t avoid multi-tasking, do the shortest tasks first. This gets them out of the way and helps you to avoid the temptation to multi-task.

It also gives you a sense of achievement and momentum which helps with the bigger activities.

A great book that can help you improve your productivity is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

6. Stay Tidy

A simple way to stay organized is to stay tidy. Otherwise how long do you spend looking for something among the clutter?

Create a filing system for paperwork. Or scan receipts and other documents so you can find them in digital format. Tagging documents makes them easier to find using the search function.

Cut through your clutter to make it easier to find things quickly. If you don’t need something, donate it or sell it to make space.

7. Keep Your Notes Organized

Do you use a single notebook to keep all of your notes in? If you do that across subjects, it becomes difficult to keep track of everything.

It’s even worse if you try to work on loose sheets of paper. They quickly fall out of order and you waste time trying to make sense of them.

Instead, keep a notebook for each subject. Label them so you can find the contents.

If you work digitally, keep a separate notebook in Evernote, or a separate document in Google Docs. That way, you can always find what you’re looking for.

Which of These College Organization Tips Will You Try?

We hope that you’ll give these college organization tips a try. They’ll make your life run more smoothly so you’ll get more out of your time at college.

With a little bit of planning, you’ll soon get into the swing of managing your workload with your social life.

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