Guest Post: So You’re Gonna Be A College Freshman

About the author: Allie is starting her senior year at University of Arizona, which she selected after an intensive search for colleges in the Western U.S. with speech therapy and audiology programs.  She graciously agreed to allow Creative Marbles to repost the following from her blog.  

This summer I worked at the College of Admissions at the University of Arizona and I called incoming Freshman every single day offering up advice, answering questions and concerns and ultimately making sure they had everything they needed before they start school. I decided it might be beneficial to some if I shared some of these tips! Every school is a little different in how they run things, but for the most part, the important things are all about the same.

So let’s get started::

1. Shop around for your books.

There is nothing worse than having to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for your books on top of every other expense that first year. I wish I had known all of the different sites to shop around on and it would have saved me quite a lot. There are some books that you will have to buy at your school’s bookstore but for the most part, you can shop around. Renting is also a great option so you aren’t lugging around textbooks as you move around every year. I recommend renting especially for your gen ed classes.

Here are my favorite websites:

Chegg (for renting)

2. Use Bed, Bath & Beyond 

This might seem obvious but BB&B is the best for all things college. Need bedding? Done. Need a fridge? Done. Need storage? Done. And speaking of storage, my freshman year I bought the bins that open up halfway and they were wonderful. You put them under your bed and you only have to open up half of the top to grab whatever you need and the other half can have things on top of it still. A lot of parents would ask me about bedding for the dorms as well and basically, the beds are Twin XL. You don’t need fancy sheets that the school is trying to sell you, you can go to Target or BB&B and they have Twin XL.

BB&B also has a great service for students going out of state! You can go to the store in your hometown and choose all the items you think you’ll need, they’ll hold them at the store closest to where you are going to school and once you get there, you can evaluate what you chose while at home. This was great for me because I chose way too many things while at home and when I got to Tucson and saw how tiny my room was, I was able to go to BB&B and eliminate quite a few items.

3. Check your school email consistently

I know some incoming students are really good at this but the majority of students I called had not been checking their school email and were missing valuable information. This is a great habit to get into earlier rather than later. Most advisors (at least at the UA) only receive emails from school emails and ensuring that your advisor is receiving your emails and that you are receiving the important ones they send to you, is crucial.

4. Get involved!!

College is the perfect time to join as many different organizations and clubs as possible and see what you are into and where you want to spend your time. I wish I had gotten involved earlier and perhaps I would have found the service fraternity I am in, a lot earlier. Schools usually hold a club fair or some type of roundup of different ways to get involved so utilize it!! During a break from classes just walk around and leave your email with some clubs that interest you! You can always go back and remove yourself from some email chains later on (like, Hiking Club I thought would be interesting…).

5. Have fun!

College is a mixed bag of new challenges, new adventures, new thrilling experiences and there will never be a time in your life like this again. (Sorry, the senior here is getting all nostalgic!) Meet as many new people as you can, get to know your professors, USE OFFICE HOURS (it can be awkward and weird but most likely extremely beneficial), and lastly, be safe and smart. 🙂


Good luck!!


Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
View all posts by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy →