How to Be Successful in College: Tips & Advice for Freshmen
Choosing a Major
Things to Consider When Choosing a Major
- Which subjects are you most passionate about?
- What skill sets do you have? Which are you interested in developing?
- Which majors have the highest employability rates? Which majors have the highest earning potential?
Start Exploring Your Field
Refining Your Academic Priorities
Getting Organized To Transition To College
Time Management As A Student
Finances and Budgeting In College
General College Tips and Good Habits
Making Use of Resources for Students
Seeking out Student Exclusive Resources
- Writing Center: If you struggle with writing, check if your school offers a writing center. Also housed in the Center for Academic Success and Life Coaching, the Maryville University Writing Studio can help students of any major become better writers.
- Online and In-Person Study Groups: Participating in a study group — whether online or in-person — is an effective way of learning and reinforcing important course concepts.with your peers. You can organize study groups through online academic forums or with your peers in person.
- Health Center: If you aren’t physically or mentally healthy, you’ll likely find focusing on coursework to be difficult, if not impossible. Your school’s health center may offer a variety of services, including providing you with health information, referrals for medical services, vaccinations, some over-the-counter medications, simple lab testing/screening, and emergency services.
- Advising Office/Advisers: As noted earlier in this guide, your academic adviser is an integral resource as you navigate your first year in college. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most underutilized campus resources. Are you having difficulties with your current course load? Interested in declaring or changing your major? Looking for assistance in meeting personal or professional goals? Speaking with an adviser is a great step towards learning key college tips and resolving these issues.
- Libraries: Modern libraries aren’t just book depositories. If you need to use research databases, access digital materials, or consult with a librarian for help in your schoolwork, the library is a helpful resource. Of course, if you simply need a quiet place to focus and work, the library is a great place to go.
- Online databases, JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, etc.: Databases like JSTOR and Academic Search Premier provide copies of archived scholarly journals/abstracts for research purposes. Subscriptions are offered to colleges and universities, so be sure to check if you have access to these valuable resources.
- Career Centers and Career Fairs: Uncertain about your professional path? Your school’s career center can provide ideas for future career choices, review your resume, provide you with interview preparation tips, help you find work, and form professional connections. Keep an eye out for career fairs, which can help you learn more about organizations that are hiring in your area.
Finding External Support for College Freshmen
- CDC – Tips for College Health and Safety: This resource by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides useful advice and resources to help college freshmen cope with issues like dietary concerns, campus safety, preventing sexually transmitted infections, and avoiding substance abuse.
- iMentor: If you need further help finding a tutor, iMentor is designed to match every high school student with a college-educated mentor. These mentors can guide these students through their college journey. Their regional offices are in the New York, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area, though their services are offered in many partner program cities.
- Bottom Line: Dedicated to helping first generation college students in urban communities find academic success, Bottom Line provides personalized guidance to college applicants throughout the college application and decision process. They also provide ongoing guidance and support for at least six years (or until graduation) for newly enrolled students. Currently, they assist students in Boston, Chicago, New York City, and Worcester.
Preparing for Your Career
Working While in College
- Earning extra money
- Developing professional experience for your resume
- The opportunity to develop new relationships
- Less time for coursework and social activities
- Work-related stress
- Your work could be incompatible with your career aspirations