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10 Things College Students Need to Know

August 9, 2022

Heading to college? The change from high school is a big one!

We asked some Bright Star alumni what they wish they’d known as a first year college student, and they shared some important insights. Thank you, Bright Star alumni!

At Bright Star, through our Alumni Support and College Success program, we provide individual support for our graduates for up to 6 years along their higher education pathways to ensure they succeed and graduate. We believe that every student belongs in and is capable of succeeding in higher education, and we’re happy to share our resources with all students.

Pass along these tips with the college-goers you know!

1. Manage your time.

In college, students are in class much less than in high school, so you’ll need to manage your time better. When you have down time between classes, you’ll be responsible for managing your study time, personal time, work time, athletics, and academic responsibilities. Use a planner, calendar, or app to help stay organized!

2. Meet people wherever you go.

The first people you meet will not necessarily be your best friends. Keep meeting people throughout your first year on your floor, dorm, or cafeteria, in class, at the gym or at parties. The more people you meet the easier it will be to find “your” people.

3. Join clubs.

Join clubs that are of interest to you. You’ll not only advance your own interests, you’ll meet new people who share your interests!

4. Use the tutoring center.
College isn’t necessarily more challenging than high school, but it’s different. You will have less daily homework and more long-term assignments, like essays, more significant projects, and more extensive tests. Use the tutoring center on campus to help prepare for tests and use the writing center for help in writing articles and papers.

5. Meet with faculty.

Make use of faculty office hours. The better you get to know your professors, the better you will do in the class. And you never know if/when you may need a letter of recommendation from a professor! Go to faculty office hours!

6. Go to career services.

Go to the office of career services early and get help with your resume, learn about internship and job possibilities, and prepare for interviews. Don’t wait until senior year to visit this office! Go early!

7. Exercise and rest.

Be sure to exercise, get your rest, and take care of yourself! Students need to balance their lifestyle with exercise and getting enough sleep. Short naps can be great. Remember to hydrate too!

8. Don't overpack.

Bring what you need and that’s it. You do not need to bring everything all at once unless you are traveling far to college. Regardless, do not buy extra stuff for your dorm room that you do not need.

9. Don't call your parent(s) every day.

Try not to FaceTime or call on a daily basis. Building independence is vital during the first few weeks of freshman year. You are going to be okay. You’ve got this!

10. Be kind to yourself.

You will have a period of adjustment during your first semester or quarter. Going to college is a big change! You will feel homesick at some point. Be kind to yourself and seek out someone to talk with, like an RA or a counselor, if need be.

Good luck and have a great year!