Top ten tips for incoming college freshmen from those who know the ropes

By Kennedy Werner

It’s your first day on campus and you cannot wait to explore this newfound freedom… college. You’re in a pack with many other freshmen, glancing at all the sororities, fraternities, and student housing thinking about how you’ll make a good first impression tonight. The best part of it all: this is no longer high school, nobody cares who you were in high school, and this is the uttermost perfect time for you to become you.

Compiled from Walled Lake Central’s alumni and other upper-class college students, here are the top ten tips you’ll need to get through your freshmen year.


Advice on choosing a major:

“Try and figure out the degree and program you want to study early on,” said WLC and WMU alumnus and accountant Jordan Werner.

WMU’s Bronson School of Nursing student Kaylee Williams added, “If your major is undecided, talking to an advisor helps!”

WLC alumna and MSU English Major Lauren Allen further explained “Don’t feel rushed when picking a major. Start by exploring different classes in several subjects to discover what feels right for you. When you eventually do choose, make sure you have reasons other than how much the career path pays. Otherwise… you will not only end up hating college, but also the next 60 years of your life.”


Advice on dorms:

“Make sure that you have enough food and water in your dorm room because the cafeteria usually isn’t open 24/7. You need some food so that you’re not stuck with nothing,” said Werner.

WSU premed student Maria Qadir offered that you “establish ground rules with your roommates before you move in, even if it’s your best friend.”


Advice on class:

“Always arrive to class early and come prepared,” recommended WLC alumna and WSU premed student Kristen Aboona.

“Take homework and exams seriously, they aren’t as easy as high school,” added Williams.

“Don’t skip class, even though it’s super easy to do, because it just leads to falling behind. Even if classes are big, ask questions and raise your hand. It’s the best way to find study groups,” further conveyed Qadir.


Advice on studying:

“For every hour spent in class, study two hours. DO NOT CHEAT,” advised Aboona.

“Take advantage of all the free tutoring that colleges offer and don’t hesitate to use your professors’ office hours. You really are in charge of yourself. No one is going to remind you when homework is due, some professors might not even tell you that you have homework,” further expressed WLC alumna and UOU exercise and sports science Major Alexa Albin.

“The library is your best friend. Even if you aren’t fond of studying, a quiet library is often better than dormitories full of freshman who are just discovering alcohol OR suitemates that refuse to stop throwing that basketball at your wall while singing ‘Let It Go’ on repeat,” added Allen.



Advice on student life:

“If you want to rush a fraternity and sorority, try to find the best one on campus. They all will claim to be the best so use outside sources and get the facts,” advised Werner.

“Be open to meeting new people and go out of your way to make friends,” proposed Williams.

“Living on campus is THE best. As soon as you move off campus, you will miss the feeling of community. Recognize just how many resources your school has to offer… such as free laundry, several meal choices, gym equipment, academic and psychiatric counselors, and so on,” recommended Allen.

“Have a budget for spending, get a job, participate in school activities, join clubs, and go to events because eventually you’ll find something you like,” urged Qadir.


Advice on organization:

“Be organized with everything and have a daily schedule to keep your life on track,” proposed Qadir.

“Your backpack is like a survival kit, especially if you’re going to a large university like MSU. There are no lockers or best friend attached to your hip. So before you leave your dorm, make sure you have EVERYTHING. This includes an umbrella (even on a sunny day) and a pack of gum so you don’t get stuck with bad breath while talking to that cute, upper-classman in Spanish,” advised Allen.


Advice on technology:

“Press save. Press save again. And then, while you are at it, back up your entire laptop. It will save you from losing that 15-page research paper you spent all weekend writing when your laptop decides to crash the week of finals,” said Allen.


Advice on college resources:

“Utilize school resources like student organizations, advisors, and career services. The earlier you meet with these people, the better impression you can make on them throughout your college career. Also try to find the most distinguished alumni from your college because networking is very important after college,” said Werner.

“While some professors may be more interested in their research than actually teaching (avoid this by checking professor ratings online- become familiar with Koofers), most of them are there to help! Take advantage of their office hours, even if just to introduce yourself. It might just help when you need that extra .02% to pass the class. Also note that not every word that comes out of your advisors mouth will be the most helpful or even the most accurate. They advise a LOT of students and sometimes forget to leave out some very essential information or simply provide bad advice. Be responsible for your own academics; use online resources, professors, and other students to verify anything you are unsure of,” explained Allen.


Advice on staying safe:

“Be careful when you go out to parties; you’re still a college freshman and have a lot to learn. If you have a car, be very careful around campus because it’s a new town and city that you are unfamiliar with driving,” advised Werner.

“Have an alcohol limit. Don’t be the freshman alcoholic,” urged Qadir.


Advice on enjoying yourself:

“Be excited. It is going to be a really different and exciting time in your life. It will be the best time you’re going to have, but you have to pick and choose correctly on how you play the college game. Have a solid plan going into it and stick to the plan the best you can,” said Werner.

“Go out and have fun as much as possible because time flies and you can’t take back your college years, you’ll be a grown up before you know it,” proposed Williams.

“Everyone is in the same boat as you so don’t be afraid to ask questions,” further explained Qadir.

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