Most high school graduates are excited for their freshman year of college: new friends, freedom in decision making, living alone, and many more. The first year of college is a serious part of your college life, and it's a stage where you measure your ability to succeed in higher education.
- What Are the Common College Freshman Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- Start Your College Life Right
So, you should start it right by avoiding these 5 class scheduling mistakes.
What Are the Common College Freshman Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Higher education costs a lot, making college hard for students without student loans, financial aid, or part-time jobs. The overwhelming number of coursework, school and life imbalance, physical and mental health issues can lead to first-year students dropping out of school.
However, there are ways to successfully finish their first year of college by identifying the common college freshman mistakes and how they can avoid them, starting with class schedules.
Freshman Mistake Number 1: Tardy Registration
College classes will not wait for you, and they fill up quickly. So don't wait until the last moment before registering for classes you should take. If you end up not getting the slots you need for your first year, it'll affect your next terms and might even hinder you from graduating on time.
Freshman Mistake Number 2: Taking Consecutive Classes
During the first week of college, many students fall into the trap of thinking they can do it all. This often results in poor time management and added stress and pressure. You can't always go to class, do all the schoolwork, participate in study groups, and attend club meetings every single day.
Many students join organizations and activities to have a higher GPA, but there's no need and rush to join every club and attend all the campus events at your college. Find what interests you the most and check if you can handle the responsibilities before signing up. If not, it'll significantly affect your classes and health.
To do this, appropriately set a schedule to consider the clubs you want to join and the activities you expect them to hold. It's best not to take classes that come one after the other to pace yourself and have breaks in between.
Freshman Mistake Number 3: Disregarding Your Natural Routine
It's okay that you're not a morning person or that you tend to sleep in late. Unlike high school, where your time is structured along with everyone else, college gives you more freedom to adjust to what your body demands of you.
Each individual has a different internal clock that may give you different time zones for bursts of energy or sleeping patterns. You can incorporate these into your college schedule, and it's better to start it as a first-year student.
Being aware of your body's natural rhythm will help you in the following:
- Cramming. The primary advantage of knowing your body's internal clock is being able to have proper student time management. You'll be able to schedule and write your paper based on when you wake up and when you have the best energy to do it.
- Procrastination. If you ignore your circadian clock and end up enrolling in classes that go against it, it'll be hard to process information from your classes and instead waste time not doing your schoolwork. You'll feel unmotivated and uninspired.
Freshman Mistake Number 4: Avoiding Core Classes
Core classes exist for a reason, and it's not to torture students. Their purpose is to strengthen an individual's basic knowledge to prepare them to take more specialized classes in the following years of college. These classes will depend on your course, but they are generally similar between courses.
Core classes are similar to house foundations. You need them to have a sturdy home where the frames and roofing will be built upon. These classes are important so you should take them seriously.
Freshman Mistake Number 5: Ignoring Your Habits
Many students believe that high school and college levels are the same, that they can transition effortlessly without making changes to their habits and behavior. These students will not be prepared for their college life and will have difficulty adapting to the new environment.
If you know you have bad habits as a high school student, you should try and change them the earliest you can when you step into your college life. Doing so will not only positively affect your university days but also the rest of your life.
The following are some bad habits you should be wary of.
Overusing your credit card. As stated above, college is expensive, and students need to have enough money to support their tuition fees, dorm room, food, school supplies, and transportation. Proper allocating is necessary, but a whole new type of temptation comes when you own a credit card.
Misuse of credit cards is one of the most common mistakes first-year students commit because they're new to the concept of being financially responsible. As a student, building your credit history ahead of time is vital. Overspending and failing to pay your credit card balances on time will decrease your credit score and increase your debt rapidly. To manage this, you can set up auto-pay or keep track of your bills and don't spend more than what you need.
Not budgeting. A clear budget helps first-year students control their money and avoid overspending. It's also advisable to have an emergency fund you can use for unexpected expenses.
Failing to complete paperwork. It's also crucial for first-year college students to complete their financial aid paperwork and submit it on time to receive their money for tuition and other expenses.
Skipping classes. Students sometimes skip their classes for different reasons, such as:
- Studying for other classes
- Finishing assignments and projects for another subject
- Participating in extracurricular activities
- Trying to get enough sleep
- Attending part-time jobs
Unfortunately, these reasons can cause them to fall behind in coursework and scramble not to fail the class. Avoid this pitfall by evaluating yourself and identifying the critical factors that may make you skip class. If it's your part-time job or extracurricular activities, you can ask your academic advisors for suggestions on how you can handle the class.
Disinterest in getting good grades. First-year college students should always visit their learning centers and develop critical reading skills and note-taking. During the first semester, college students with a low GPA or Grade Point Average get into academic probation. Being on academic probation means you can be dismissed from your college.
If you find it hard to study on your own, you can look for other college students to form study groups to get assignments, like reports and essay help, and to instill commitment.
Poor time management skills. Time management is a skill every college student should master to have a better college experience. Procrastination and disorganization will give you stress and anxiety.
Use a calendar app or planner to avoid cramming for your exams, constantly be updated on your deadlines, and take note of other important dates. Allocate adequate time for each of your tasks. Also, start doing your schoolwork as soon as you can and one at a time to avoid pulling all-nighters every time the submission is due.
Disconnection with faculty. Academic advisors don't only help students to understand and learn the syllabus on their college course material. They also provide recommendations and become mentors. You should not be scared of visiting them during their office hours whenever you need help with their subject. Be active and participate in class, be punctual, courteous, and professional when talking to them.
Prioritizing social life. The freshman year of college is not all about studying, writing your assignment, and preparing for your future career. A considerable part of it is partying and attending events the college life has to offer, whether inside or outside your college campus.
For some students, going to college means living on their own for the first time, but this doesn't mean that you can be irresponsible. It's crucial to manage and balance your academic and social life.
Uncontrolled social media use. Social media always have something new to distract students. Whether it's focusing in class or finishing their schoolwork, scrolling through social media sites makes students take longer to work on what they should.
To avoid this distraction, you can put your phone into airplane mode, place it out of sight, or turn it off during class or study hours. After you finish your important task, you can always go back to scrolling and updating your social media and chat with your best friends.
Start Your College Life Right
Begin your university journey with the proper steps, and you'll be headed to great college life. It's alright to make small changes for a better you, as long as you keep on improving yourself. Look out for these mistakes and start your college life right!