The Dos and Don’ts of Freshman Year

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Anne Weeks
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You finally have the freedom you want! You are stoked to be meeting new people and to be trying new things! It’s exciting and fun, but don’t lose your focus on why you are in college.


US News shares the 10 most common mistakes students make their freshman year in college:

  • Be willing to ask for help: If you are struggling or just unsure, ask for help. Go to a professor, your dorm RA, a counselor, just don’t try to go it alone. Learning to ask for help is a skill worth developing for your future career.



  • Go to class: It is all so tempting to skip class once in awhile – whether to sleep in or to go to some event. Skipping class can have a direct impact on your performance. What is covered in class may not be in the assigned readings. You may miss out on key points, and using someone else’s notes is never the same as having been there. Professors often have attendance rules that are calculated into your semester grade. The bottom line, though, is you are paying dearly for those classes with your tuition money. Honor your investment.

go to class


  • Don’t procrastinate: All nighters are not what they are cracked up to be, and your body takes time to readjust its sleeping patterns afterwards. For every hour in class, you should be devoting three hours to study. There’s a reason you have all that free time.

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  • Expand your horizons socially: This is the best time to meet people from all walks of life. Get involved in an organization, reach out to meet new people, get to know your professors during their office hours – essentially, build a new community of different people. This will build your communication and networking skills for the future.

friends community


  • Get your sleep: Ideally 8-9 hours of sleep! Your body and mind will function better when rested: the risks of little sleep.

sleep gif


  • Balance is the key: Don’t overload yourself with too many classes and organizations. Make use of the January term to take an extra course to alleviate your load during a semester when you have difficult core classes. Choose one or two organizations to which you devote yourself and can rise as a leader.



  • Binging: Keep this word out of your vocabulary altogether! Whether it is food, beer, or Netflix, binging will only have a negative impact on your GPA, health, and emotions.

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  • Watch your weight: It’s really tempting to eat pizza with the guys or to order that cheesesteak while studying for a history exam, but calories add up and the Freshman Fifteen will become a reality. Here are some tips on avoiding that inner tube: freshman year health.

pizza for every meal gif


  • Partying: The headlines have been constant. Over-drinking is linked to risky behaviors and to sexual assault. You can have fun while still sober: what kind of drinker are you?

ready to party


  • Credit cards: Many credit card companies target college students. Be careful not to bite! It is all too easy to use a card for impulse buying and then end up only able to pay the minimum payment each month, racking up interest: why credit card companies love college students.

credit cards


For more practical tips from US News, read here and, follow us on the BTU Blog!

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Anne Weeks

Anne Macleod Weeks is a graduate of Lawrence and Villanova Universities. She has been an educational administrator and English teacher for 38 years, specializing in the area of college admission. Ms. Weeks has been a leader in the college admission and Advanced Placement arenas and has published on pertinent educational topics in a variety of national papers and journals. She currently resides in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Latest posts by Anne Weeks (see all)