As an incoming college freshman, you're currently experiencing an odd blend of anticipation and anxiety. It's impossible to know what this transformative experience will be like or how it will shape you as a person. If you're open to new experiences, however, you just might find that college gives you a new lease on life. Keep these success tips for college freshman in mind as you prepare for this important life transition:

  1. Learn to say, "no."
  2. Go to class
  3. Be mentally present
  4. Get to know instructors and advisors
  5. Join a study group
  6. Secure your data and device
  7. Start applying for internships ASAP
  8. Move your body
  9. Take extra precautions against COVID
  10. Set aside time for yourself

Learn to Say No

The word 'no' can be a game-changer for students who struggle with everything from busy schedules to peer pressure. It takes confidence to turn down a party or yet another commitment, but this will make all the difference for both your physical and mental health. Remember, 'no' doesn't make you unlikeable or unmotivated—it simply demonstrates that you understand your limits.

Go to Class

It seems so simple, and yet as essential as it is, this important study tips eludes many students. The temptation to sleep in can be especially strong as final exams and papers loom large, but class provides the best opportunity for making academic breakthroughs and cementing those discoveries. The need for attendance is true both of in-person and online classes. Digital lectures can be easy to neglect, but they make a huge difference in your long-term learning outcomes.

Be Mentally Present

Simply showing up isn't good enough. Your physical presence is appreciated, of course, but your mental game should be even stronger.
Make every effort to ditch distractions before class begins. Depending on your situation, this may mean turning off your phone, writing notes on paper instead of using a laptop, or choosing a seat away from your friends. Most of these measures also apply to online learning. You may need to strategically select a distraction-free learning environment if you lack access to a conventional classroom.

Get to Know Instructors And Advisors

There's more to college than textbooks and lectures. The relationships you form during these crucial years can make a huge difference in your career trajectory. Hence, the value of interactions with instructors and advisors. These individuals are eager to help you make the most of your education if you take the initiative to reach out. Get in touch for feedback on your coursework or to simply chat about the college experience and the world outside of your post-secondary bubble.

Join a Study Group

In addition to networking with instructors, it's important to develop relationships with other students in your degree program. While some of these may be facilitated through projects, you'll find greater social and academic benefits in joining an organized study group. This option can be a bit more difficult to implement through online learning but is possible with the help of videoconferencing apps.

Secure Your Data And Device

Whether you take classes online or primarily in person, you'll want to look carefully at all your devices—and the files stored on them. Data breaches are alarmingly common these days, with even reputable companies succumbing to the nefarious efforts of hackers. For example, over 13,000 school accounts were compromised in a 2018 breach involving textbook company Pearson.
While breaches are nearly ubiquitous in today's world, a variety of simple security measures can reduce the likelihood of compromised data. At minimum, secure your accounts with strong passwords and, when possible, two-factor authentication. Additional measures may include using a strong firewall and backing up all sensitive data.

Start Applying For Internships ASAP

The internship represents one of the greatest opportunities for gaining practical skills and impressing potential employers. While these are traditionally thought of as the domain of seniors, earlier is always better when you're determined to beat out the competition. Many students now hold multiple internships throughout the course of their academic careers. Join their ranks by getting started with applications early on.

Move Your Body

Many incoming college students worry about the notorious freshman 15, but there's more to exercise than weight control. Research shows that physical activity can improve your mental health and even help you remember the material covered in your college courses. Sports teams and intramurals are great options, but a brisk walk or weight-lifting session at the gym can also transform your mindset. Try to move your body for at least a few minutes every day.

Take Extra Precautions Against COVID

As an incoming freshman in 2020, you're forced to consider issues that go well beyond grades and internship applications. This includes, of course, the potential for infection. While online classes provide the best opportunity for social distancing, you may be able to safely return to campus depending on local and personal circumstances. If you choose to venture away from home, be sure to wear a mask, stay at least six feet away from other people, and wash your hands on a regular basis.
Remember: COVID-19 may change your college experience, but it doesn't need to hinder your ability to learn or grow as a person. No matter how you end up interacting with instructors and other students, you can build a strong basis for all academic and professional efforts to follow.

Set Aside Time For Yourself

Today's college students are busier than ever. From coursework to part-time jobs and family functions, many feel as if they are pulled in too many directions. While refusing extra commitments can help, it's also important to set aside solo time for relaxing activities. Your ability to do so will depend somewhat on your living situation, but even a brief walk alone can help you set the refresh button after a busy day.
Few experiences in life are as transformative as freshman year of college. This is your opportunity to set the stage for a successful college trajectory. Give yourself grace and don't hesitate to seek help if you need it—you're certainly not alone as you take on this exciting new journey.
If you are interested in earning an undergraduate degree or graduate degree, consider enrolling at the University of the Cumberlands. See what UC can do for you by contacting an admissions counselor for more information.