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Freshman Survival Tips: Keys to a Successful First Year (241 hits)

College classes are more demanding than high school. In addition, you must adjust to having primary responsibility from everything from finances to personal safety to managing your study time. From now on, meeting those responsibilities is no longer your parentsí job. What you do is up to you. The best approach is to think of going to a college like Independence University as your first adult job. This doesnít mean that you canít have fun. Doing things you enjoy is essential to a healthy work/life balance. Your task is to set and follow priorities, so you can make sure you also fulfill your responsibilities.

Put Your Health First

Staying healthy and in good physical shape is a big part of college success. You will have more time and energy to put into study and other activities. Your first priority should be to get enough sleep. If you are constantly fatigued, you wonít be able to concentrate effectively in classes or study sessions. You will also be more likely to come down with a cold.

Get regular exercise. Adults need at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Taking a brisk 30 minute walk five days a week will serve. Use the student gym to do strength training twice each week. If you do start feeling sick, visit the student health clinic or see a doctor right away. The sooner you deal with illness, the easier it will be to recover.


Itís easy to get wrapped up in campus life, but you must maintain attending classes and studying as your top priorities. Start by scheduling enough time to study. Most colleges recommend two hours per week for each credit hour. Find a quiet place to study. Take advantage of study groups and learning labs. When you have questions outside of class, go to your professors. College faculty schedule weekly office hours so as an opportunity for you to receive individual attention.

Safety and Security

If you live in a dorm, keep your ID, driverís license and credit cards with you at all times. Keep your room locked. Familiarize yourself with the campus environment and avoid high-risk areas. Use campus or public transportation services. These are generally the safest ways to get around in urban areas. Travel in groups at night if possible, and donít hesitate to call campus security if you see anything suspicious.

Build a Social Life

Most college freshman start out knowing very few people when classes begin. Donít be discouraged. There are endless ways to connect with fellow students. One option is to join a student organization whose mission is one you are interested in. A less formal tactic is to become a regular at a campus coffee shop or similar venue. Take advantage of campus entertainment events. You will soon discover that there are concerts, plays and many other activities available. Most are free or cost very little to attend.

Managing Money

You are now in charge of your finances on a day-to-day basis. Start by making a budget that accounts for all of your income sources and expenses. Adjust the budget as needed but stick to it. Exercise restraint with credit cards. The best practice is to use credit cards for convenience and building credit, but pay the balance off each month. Make sure you know the terms attached to your student financial aid, especially student loans. Remember, you are the one who must pay them off after you leave school. Look for ways to save money. For example, you can often buy used textbooks, and also sell texts that you wonít need in the future.


Many people look back on their college years with great fondness and with good reason. It is a very special time that starts with having a successful freshman year. You are immersed in an environment rich in social and learning opportunities. For many freshman, it is also their first chance to live and act as adults every day.
Posted By: Dixie Somers
Tuesday, January 9th 2018 at 1:58PM
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