There’s lots of advice out there for first-year college students, but some of the best tips we’ve seen has been on the blog of COLLEGEINFOGEEK. Thomas Frank offers 42 tips from his own experience, some of which are excerpted and condensed below.
1. Always go to class. You never know when the professor will drop a crucial test hint, or give out extra credit for attendance.
2. If you have to choose between a double major and getting involved on campus, get involved. All the knowledge in the world won’t help you if you come out of college with no experience or professional relationships.
3. Always back up your files and make sure your computer is protected against malware.
4. Bring enough clothing to school with you that you can go two weeks between washings, but when you do get around to washing your things, never leave them in the washer after the cycle is over. Be there to take them out a minute before the cycle ends. Not doing this is rude, and people WILL pull your clothes out and set them somewhere.
5. Get to know your professors. College is just as much about networking as it is about sitting in class. Find out when their office hours are, where their office is, and then make a visit.
6. Take smart notes. Find a note-taking system that works well for you, and focus on learning rather than simply recording the information. And getting a tutor does not make you look dumb. Not getting one when you need help does.
7. Get out and explore your campus. If you have to ask your friends where the main financial office is, you’ve failed. Find out what resources are available on campus as well. Same goes for exploring the city your campus is in.
8. Take a speech class, even if you don’t have to. Communication skills are among the more important things recruiters look for in students.
9. Connect with your school’s career center; your career advisor will be an invaluable resource in the years to come.
10. Get an internship the summer after your sophomore year, or as soon as you can. You’ll forge professional connections early on and make it easier to get another internship the next summer. Graduating with two or more internships will give you a real leg up on the competition.