College Tips from a Recent Grad
1. Research your professors. RateMyProfessor is a great resource.
2. Check Facebook for college groups. My college had groups for each class and even had a buy/sell/trade page.
3. Rent your textbooks whenever possible. Buy/rent digital whenever possible. Amazon is your best friend. They have most textbooks, and they even have a rental service.
4. Living off campus is typically less expensive than living on campus due to jacked up housing prices and mandatory meal plans.
5. Bring a bike to campus. It is so much quicker to bike than walk, and most campuses have large sidewalks and/or bike lanes. Some colleges even have semester bike rentals. Bring a lock and please please please wear a helmet.
6. Bring reusable bags for those late-night grocery trips. You won’t have a endless pile of bags in your room and you can actually carry more in reusables due to their durability. (Oh and you’ll be saving the planet).
7. Laundry pods are a great way to do laundry especially if you haven’t washed clothes before. You won’t have to estimate the correct amount of detergent (college washers are super finicky).
Make sure you have lots of quarters if your college has pay laundry. You can get a sleeve at your bank.
8. Buy 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 cups, 2 mugs, 2 forks, 2 spoons, and 2 knives for your room. You won’t have to continually buy paper and plastic ones.
9. Buy paper towels, a sponge, and some soap to clean said dishes and silverware and any other messes you may have.
10. Record your lectures if possible. You can take notes normally, but it helps to have a record if you miss something or if you’re an auditory learner.
11. Google Drive will be your best friend. You can work on group projects without having to meet up. You can take notes as a class and even have a class study guide.
12. Quizlet is super helpful for studying. You can create your own flash cards without having to buy paper flash cards, and you can share it with your classmates. Quizlet helped me so much with my sciences and foreign language!
13. You do not need an unlimited meal plan. You will not eat that much. I promise.
14. Check out to see if your college offers meal equivalency. At my college you could get $3-5 off of a meal at a retail dining location during certain times of the day. This helped me save my dining dollars.
15. Take shit from the dining hall, but bring your backpack to do it. Bring a bottle to get milk. Grab some fruit for snacks. I used to grab bananas for snacks. Take some cookies. Bring tupperware to sneak out cereal or even full meals.
16. Buy a planner and set up a digital calendar too. You’ll be glad you have both.
17. Set multiple alarms. You may not always wake up during the first one. Give yourself enough time in the morning to get ready and eat.
18. GroupMe is pretty important too. Classes, dorms, and clubs use GroupMe to communicate. I’ve used GroupMe to coordinate volunteers at my work and to schedule study groups.
19. Buy comfortable and durable shoes. I used to wear hiking sandals or tennis shoes on campus. You will likely walk a lot more than you are used to. I injured my foot my freshman year (initially by playing soccer), but because I wore unsupportive shoes while walking 6+ miles a day I fractured my foot!
20. Wear whatever the fuck you want to wear. You don’t have a dress code anymore. People will always dress fancier than you, but it doesn’t matter. Dress comfortably.
21. But a supportive backpack. I highly recommend a hiking pack. You will likely carry several books and a laptop with you, and your backpack will be heavy.
22. You don’t need a car in college unless you have no way to get home on breaks, you live too far away off campus to walk, and/or your job/internship is too far away to walk.
23. Use public transportation when available. Some colleges have their own bus system. Some cities give discounted bus and train passes to students.
24. Add your campus police and crisis lines to your phone. Have the campus police on speed dial. You never know what will happen.
22. Carry some form of self-protection. I had a brass knuckle type thing was the shape of a cat head and it would poke my attacker’s eyes. I eventually got a knife (for work), but I know people with mace. Get mace with a safe sprayer (so you don’t spray yourself) and a black light dye (invisible to the naked eye).
23. Free stuff is the shit. Sometimes you can get a snack or meal for free! Check out your college’s calendar for a list of events with free stuff. Twitter is also a great resource for knowing when free stuff is being given away.
24. Do not get a pet in college unless you have a schedule that allows you to be home a lot, an apartment that allows it, and the money to afford it. An average vet trip will cost $100. I got a cat my senior year, and he cost around $800 that year between vet costs, pet fees, food, and litter. Visit your local animal shelter if you miss animals. I saw too many neglected animals in college.
25. Mental and physical health are important. Research your college’s health center. Most will offer free or discounted services. My college offered free counseling and a discounted OBGYN. Make sure to keep up with your physicals in college. Being healthy is important!