20 Things You Need to Know Before Going to College

20 Things You Need to Know Before Going to College 8 min read

School is just around the corner, and for some of us, that means stepping foot on a college campus as a student for the first time. The transition can be overwhelming as you enter a new environment. There’s already a lot of things to keep in mind, so here’s a list of some things to know before going to college to help things run a little smoother.

1. The freshman fifteen is real.

Keeping up with your workout routine can be tough, but it is very important. Don’t rely on the metabolism you had as a kid to keep your weight in check. Check out the activities your college offers. If nothing appeals to you, there are tons of workouts online that will suit your needs. Don’t worry about money; YouTube has plenty to offer.

2. Textbooks are expensive.

Seriously. They are very spendy, especially for a book that you probably end up collecting dust once the semester is over. Before you make a purchase from your university’s bookstore, check to see if there are other places you can purchase from. A good place to start would be to find a Facebook buy and sell group. Bonus points if you can find a group for your university.

3. It’s okay if you realize that your major is not for you.

Or that your university is not for you. Many times, we jump into something thinking we know exactly what we want and how things will go. People learn a lot about themselves during their college years and something happens that changes the way we think. Things change, and it’s okay to change plans.

4. It’s also okay if you realize college is not for you.

The “model” path that seems to be drilled into our heads by society is to get good grades, go to college, and start your career. The thing is, this path is not for everybody, and there are other ways to start a career. This could mean going to a trade school or working your way up the ladder at your current job. There’s no right or wrong way to approach what you’ll be doing for life because what’s right for you might not work for others. If you choose to go to college, go because it’s what you want to do, not because it’s what you think you should be doing.

5. The temptations will be real.

If you are moving from a small town to a big city or you are truly being independent for the first time, chances are there are a lot of things that seem appealing to you not necessarily because you want to do it, but because you can. It’s okay to have fun, but never forget the ideals and standards you had before you left for college. Take them with you, and keep it close.

6. You will get homesick.

No matter how excited and ready you feel you are, there will be a time when all you want to do is hear your parents’ voice. That’s okay.

7. What you did in high school is not going to fly in college.

I'll admit it. I did it too. I used to do some of my assignments in high school in the morning it was due. Sometimes I would skip reading assignments. I'd still get a good grade, so it was all fine and dandy. So let me break it to you now because this is one of the most important things to know before going to college. Slacking off is not going to work in college, trust me. Save yourself stress by managing your time and doing your work.

8. There are discounts and freebies for you EVERYWHERE.

Take advantage of them! You can find discounts locally and online. Here is a list of 22 discounts you should know about to get you started!

9. Don't skip class, no matter how tempting it is.

Not only are you wasting money, but you're also wasting an opportunity to learn. That's what you're there for, right?

10. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

You'll be stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. It's easy to get ignore self-care when you've got a schedule packed with classes, study sessions, activities, and your social life. Don't forget to take care of yourself.

college campus with text Things You Need to Know Before Going to College
20 Things to Know Before Going to College Pinterest Photo (Image: Arianna Lynne)

11. Figure out what your learning style is.

This is probably going to be one of the most important things that will help you get through college. If you are a visual type of person, listening to audiobooks might not help. If you are a social learner, reading might not be for you. Finding out what works best for you helps to speed up the learning process so that you are not spending more time than you need to on an assignment.

12. You can't do everything.

There's so much to do at college, it's insane. From sororities and fraternities to clubs and activities, there's more than enough to keep you preoccupied when you're not studying. However, as fun as it may be to represent your university as an athlete or club member, remember that there's only so much time in a day. Avoid overwhelming yourself by starting off with just a few clubs and keeping your grades up, and see how it goes from there.

13. There are people from all walks of life in college.

This is probably one of the most important things to know about going to college. You will meet people in college who started straight after high school. Some night have taken a few gap years. Others might be going back to school after deciding a career they committed to for years just isn't for them. University isn't something you have to do or complete by or at a certain time. Post-secondary education is a privilege many people in the world will never have the opportunity to experience. Everyone who is at that campus belongs at that campus regardless of age, experience, gender, sex, religion, race, etc.

14. Really understand what your major requires.

There are a lot of things you need to know before going to college and a lot of things to keep track of while you're there. Take a look at the pre-major requirements for your major. This will not only prepare you for what's to come in the next few years, but you might find that there's more to your degree than you originally thought. You might find that your degree will actually open several doors for you, not just the career you had in mind, or you might find that your major isn't quite for you. Either way, going through your major in detail could be eye-opening for you.

15. You need to actually read your textbooks.

I get it. You'd much rather read the back of a shampoo bottle than read your textbook but remember, your professors aren't randomly assigning you things to read because they get a kick out of it (at least I hope not). If this isn't a habit you picked up in high school, pick it up now. Working off just the handouts and lecture notes won't be enough. Plus, you probably paid quite a bit for your textbooks, especially if you got them brand new, so you might as well get your use out of them.

16. Learn how to use Google like a pro.

Did you know that you can use Google to search for content on just a specific site? And that you could specify which terms you don't want to be included in your search? And that you can specify your search results to only include a specific date range? Also, did you know Google Scholar is a thing? We already know that Google is going to become one of your best friends when completing assignments, so it would be a good idea to learn how to use Google efficiently.

17. Learn to balance a budget.

Even if you have your tuition taken care of and you don't need to worry about working, it would be wise to learn how to budget while you're in college if you haven't learned already. Budgeting is a skill you'll need as an adult in order to manage and stay out of debt. The College Investor is one of the best resources for anything money related as a college student and young adult.

18. Find where your university's career services are and how to contact them.

You're not going to be in university forever, and chances are, you'll probably pick up some jobs, internships, and experience while you're in college. If you don't know how to write a cover letter or resume, your university's career services should be able to help you out. It's also a good idea to build a template resume with all your experience rather than trying to remember what you did in college years later.

19. You will make mistakes in college.

Mistakes can be a number of things. Trusting the wrong person. Sleeping in when you have a test. Going the wrong way and ending up on the opposite side of the campus from where your class is. Mistakes will happen, but what matters is you learn from them.

20. Know that you got this.

Have confidence in yourself! If you take anything from this list of things you need to know before going to college, take this: Your decision to embark on the journey to college is a major milestone regardless of whether or not you change plans along the way. You got this!

Arianna Lynne
Arianna Lynne

Hey, it’s Arianna Lynne, the creator of Yoga With Mimosas. I am a certified POP Pilates and PIIT28 instructor with an obsession for learning kpop dances. I want to help others find balance between life and fitness. You can reach me at [email protected]

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