How to be a stellar college freshman

Find a balance between academics and your social life to rock freshman year

How to be a stellar college freshman

I am a sophomore in a fairly large public school in the Midwest. My major is business, and I have excellent grades thus far.

Nerd alert, right?

Think what you want, but I had more fun in my college freshman year than I did in all my high school years. I am proof that it is possible to have fun and still earn high grades.

Here are my tips on how to have a successful college freshman year.

1. Go to class
Not only is this the most basic and obvious tip to succeeding; it is also the most effective.

2. Pay attention to the professor
Just showing up at class isn’t going to be beneficial if you just take a little “lecture nap.” Going to class is worthless if you don’t use the time wisely.

3. Get to know your professors
Professors want to be approached with questions or even just to get to know their students during office hours.

4. Do the homework
Most professors recommend studying for two to three hours for each hour you spend in class.

I easily spend 30 to 40 hours each week going to class and doing the work for each course.

5. Study for tests
Let’s face it: A lot of us could easily get by in high school without studying any more than the five minutes between classes. For the vast majority of tests in college, this strategy won’t cut it. Many tests are going to require around three or four hours of extra studying.

6. Meet your neighbors
Living in a dorm in your college freshman year is the easiest way to meet all sorts of people.

Don’t be afraid to leave your door open when you’re there the first week or two of classes, and step into anyone’s room who has done the same. Remember that everyone is in the same boat as you.

7. Get involved
Clubs and intramurals are great ways to have fun and get involved in college.

8. Try new things
This is what college is all about.

9. Put academics first
Think about what you are really at college for: learning!

10. Save the partying for the weekends
It is hard to pay attention in class after a night out. There are tons of other activities to do on weeknights. Watching a movie, working out, or even just hanging out with friends are all great alternatives.

Alex Payton is a sophomore business major at Iowa State University (


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