Back to School: Advice for College Freshmen

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Place high on your college placement tests

So you may not necessarily like math or you may not be the best writer, but in order to not waste time back tracking, I would recommend that you brush up on these skills as this is what the college or university will focus the most on within the placement tests.  Most majors at least require credit in college level algebra at the bare minimum for the curriculum (unless you are going to art school, which in my opinion is a BIG mistake and the only thing I can really tell you at this point is good luck with your future career at McDonald’s!) and what is commonly known as “Second writing”, which is basically a sophomore level English class.  Some colleges may also require a foreign language as a prerequisite for all majors (and you wondered why you were made to take a foreign language in high school?) and you may have a chance to place out of it (which will save you a lot of time and money) by having a strong grasp of the language.

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Do well on your placement tests and you will save time and money


The higher you place on these tests, the less bull sh*t you will have to go through during your first quarter or semester, simply because you don’t want to waste time and money (unless you have a full ride, then you will be paying back these classes, which were unnecessary towards your major), which is why you want to do whatever it takes to place as high as you can, but don’t worry if you are not able to place highly, this is all relative and some people just want the extra review, there is nothing wrong with this.


Make sure you have a plan

You don’t necessarily have to know right away what major you wish to enroll in, but in order to not waste time in college I would suggest that you at least have a plan to get rid of all the GEC (general education curriculum) requirements.  Daclaud recommends taking the basics such as English, Math, Humanities and another GEC (if you can squeeze it in) your first quarter or semester just because these are the basic requirements and will still be relatively fresh in your mind (assuming you did not take a break after high school).  Then just start taking classes in sequence and enroll in whatever courses that you feel that you would be interested in (that is the beauty of GECs because you do get options), the most common ones being intro level Sociology, Psychology, Business or Economic type of classes.  If you are still undecided as to what you wish to major it, you be given the opportunity to explore different entry level GEC classes to get a feel for what you may enjoy.  Just make sure you know what you want after you hit Junior level, because once you are a Junior, you are expected to have a declared major and have met the prerequisites to get into the college of your choice.

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Make sure you plan out your schedule in advance


Make sure to schedule your classes early in advance

Courses fill up FAST and you don’t want to be left in the dust just because you did not register on time.  Personally I would suggest registering your classes as soon as they announce registration just so you are guaranteed a spot.  Even so, there is no guarantee, because if it a sequential class, then you will need to make sure you do well on the Finals, because the knowledge from sequential classes will carry over to the next one, so make sure you have a good to exceptional comprehension of the subject matter.  You don’t want to be put in the position to where you would have to retake a class just because you missed too many days or did not come out on top with a passing grade.  Assuming you were not able to schedule in time or you found out that you did not pass the class and have to retake it but it’s filled (worst case scenario) there is still a chance that students will drop their courses and open up a seat for you within the first two or three weeks.  This is not recommended if you have other responsibilities, because you will have to sit in the class, get the syllabus, learn the material (if you want to catch up) and pray that someone drops (usually at least a handful of students will drop, but sometimes not).  Then you will have to make sure you make the waiting list (which is usually a first come first serve basis).

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This is what Ohio State looks like (and that’s just one example). It is a really HUGE campus, which is why you need to register your classes in advance!

If you don’t make the wait list or the queue, then you’re just sh*t out of luck and you’ll either have to enroll in a GEC you hadn’t take yet (this is why you save them; for emergency situations like this) which will allow you to at least knock out “a” course and not fall too far behind because you’re going to be waiting for an entire quarter or semester until you are able to register for the course you wanted.  So basically to avoid all the headaches, just don’t lag behind and make sure you register for classes EARLY!


Get your fees paid on time

College is expensive and for most people, you may have to rely on financial aid to be able to take classes (Unless you are the much hated and envied trust fund baby, then you probably will not have to worry about this or even finding a job after you graduate, because I’m sure your parents have one lined up for you after you graduate), then you will need to complete your FAFSA every year and on time or else you will have to pay out of pocket (Unless you already have a good job or have savings, then I’m sure you don’t want to do this because you can use the money for other things).  Also, do not use a high interest credit card to pay your college fees unless you are able to pay it off right away.  I know that desperate times call for desperate measures, but unless you are actually trying to build up your credit and know for certain that you can get this debt paid off in no more than three months, then I would not suggest doing this simply because you will regret it (debts will continue to accrue and you do not want this).  However, if you do have the disposable income or savings, then go for it because it’s better to have your students loans paid off sooner than later (this will also lessen your monthly payments in the future).

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Getting your financial aid registered on time is important! Don’t forget!


Make sure you have a good study group

Or not, if you happen to be a loner (some people are naturally antisocial and tend to work better alone; I’ve seen these types and many of them actually do very well, so there’s nothing wrong with this if you are able to study on your own), but no city was built by just one person and lone wolves tend to not really survive on their own.  Most people in general tend to do better if they have others to assist them and one idea can stem off of another.  Study groups not only give you the opportunity to ask each other questions, verify whether or not an answer is correct, but it also allows the opportunity to make life-long friends and possible business connections in the future.

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Students studying – this is a common site within college campuses!

It is quite possible that one of your study buddies will end up working for a company that you really want to get your foot in the door or vice versa (wouldn’t it feel good to be able help someone?).  You want to build a relationship with people early so you can have a strong future.  Just make sure that none of these people are dependent leeches because you do not wish to carry this person (I know it’s hard to say no, but sometimes you just have to).  Assuming you are just that good and know your sh*t, then you may wish to hire our your services as a tutor to make some extra spending money (you know for the bars and stuff!)

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About Daclaud Lee
Daclaud Lee is a resident of Columbus Ohio.

2 Comments on Back to School: Advice for College Freshmen

  1. I am actually worried about not knowing what to do. I’ve already been in college for two semesters and I’m still undecided. Is this normal? Right now I just told them my major is English, but I do know that being an English major may not land me a job. What would you recommend I change my major to?

  2. Great advice man! I start classes next week and I’m lucky that I was able to register online, because you were right, classes do fill up fast! They are out of a book that I needed. Do you have any advice on getting books if the bookstore is out? I really don’t want to be too far behind.

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