15 Practical Tips for Students Starting University

See also: Research Methods

Starting college is an important milestone is any young person’s life. It’s a time filled with possibility and joy, but also a bit of anxiety.

What will college be like?
Will I do alright?
Will I make friends?
Will my colleagues like me?
Will I pass all my classes?
Will the teachers like me?

All these are questions any student starting university will ask themselves.

Unfortunately, you’re the only one who will be able to answer them, in time. But everyone needs a little help now and then, especially young people starting college. This is why we’ve got some awesome tips for all you future students, to make your transition as smooth as possible, and your time spent in college as awesome as possible.

15. Break up with Your Phone

Break Up with Your Phone

OK, so maybe don’t break up with it for good, but go on a break where you both assess your future together. Your phone is an important tool that keeps you updated, and connected, but it’s also a tool for distraction and procrastination. And a student’s most formidable foe is procrastination. Make some rules: no phone while you’re studying, 30 minutes a day of browsing, something to keep you on track.

14. Be Organized

It is very important to your mental health and performance that you feel on top of the situation at all times. This can only be achieved if you are highly organized. Keep and constantly update a calendar, make a to-do list, or simply have a journal where you can write down your tasks, homework, and plans. Anything that you think will help you be on top of your game.

13. Review, Review, Review

Unless you’re a genius, college won’t be a piece of cake. It requires constant work and quite a big part of your time. Always review your notes before a class to have all the information fresh in your mind and make it easier to pass your exams.

12. It’s OK to Be Anxious

It really is OK to feel anxious at times. There are so many new things that have been thrown your way that it’s alright to feel overwhelmed. But if that anxiety becomes constant, or if you’re feeling like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, maybe it’s time to ask for some help. Talk to the college’s counsellor as maybe they’ll be able to shed some light on your issue.

11. Get Your Finances in Order

You’re on your own for the first time ever and you’ll be tempted to spend your money unwisely. Splurge from time to time on things that you love, but make sure you have money left for what matters. Make an expenses file at the beginning of each month or term, and update it regularly to see where you stand with your finances. This way, you’ll know exactly what comes in and what goes out.

See our page: Student Budgeting and Economic Skills for more tips and advice.

10. Love Where You’re Living

Love where you live

Your student home needs to be a safe space, somewhere you can relax. Your new home needs to be cozy, and you have to love coming home, otherwise your whole college experience won’t be as fulfilling as it can be. Think of everything that you need to turn your dorm or new house into a home, and do it as soon as you move in!

9. Mingle, Join a Club, Make Friends

One of the best things about college is that you will meet some amazing people. And with some of them, you will be friends for the rest of your life. College is when good friendships are forged and you need to be aware of that. Don’t be afraid to meet people, to mingle, and to make put yourself out there. You might just meet your new best friend.

8. Have a Study Space

Whether it’s your desk, bed, or the coffee shop around the corner, you need to have a designated space for studying. A space where you go to and you automatically feel you’re in the study-mode and start getting things done. Try various places until everything feels right: it will greatly help your learning process.

7. You Won’t Love Everything…

… and that is absolutely alright. Maybe you won’t like a teacher, a class, or some of your colleagues, and it’s fine. Don’t let that ruin your college experience and don’t let it deter you from accomplishing your goals. Remember that you’re there to make something of yourself, to get an education, and it won’t be just fun and games. Nothing is.

6. Stay Focused on School

It’s so easy for freshmen to get distracted. There’s always a cool party, a get together, a new game or TV show. But if there is one piece of advice that you take from all this, it is that you need to stay focused on school, and on your work. It’s why you’re there in the first place, and your future is at stake.

5. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities

Find something that you’re passionate about and focus some of your attention, energy, and time on it. Extracurricular activities will prove as a great escape from the daily rut and you might even find your life’s passion while you’re at it!

4. Keep Parents in the Loop

Your parents love you and will always be worried about you. Just because you’re an adult and you’re no longer living at home doesn’t mean that they’re no longer part of your life. Call your parents on a regular basis, keep them in the loop, and be kind to them. After all, they’re the ones paying for your education.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide for Students

The Skills You Need Guide for Students

Skills You Need

Develop the skills you need to make the most of your time as a student.

Our eBooks are ideal for students at all stages of education, school, college and university. They are full of easy-to-follow practical information that will help you to learn more effectively and get better grades.

3. Stay Safe

Ah, to be young and foolish! There’s that feeling of freedom that we’ve all felt during college, like we’re untouchable and that we can do just about everything without anything bad ever happening to us. But unfortunately that is not the case, which is why you will need to take precautions at all times. The classics apply here: use a condom, don’t walk the streets at night alone, don’t start a fight, get your yearly check-ups, don’t drink too much… you know the drill!

2. Don’t Be Ashamed to Ask for Help

If you’re struggling with anything, ask for help. You are not alone, even though, at times, it may feel that way. Get a tutor, a mentor, talk to a therapist, or simply ask your friends for their help or opinions; it could make the difference between you loving college and hating it.

1. Just Have Fun

College truly is the best time of your life. You’re young, don’t have many responsibilities, you’re surrounded by awesome friends, you feel as if you’ve got all the time in the world (and trust me, that feeling goes away pretty quickly in the real world), you’re no longer living with your parents, and so many other things that make college so damn cool! Have fun and work on those stories you’ll inevitably tell your grandchildren.

Stay safe, have fun, and invest in your future!

About the Author

John Stuart works in outreach and content creation. He creates engaging content that help businesses connect with their audience and stand out from the crowd.