Tips For College Freshmen

Posted September 9th, 2015 at 11:02 am (UTC-4)
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Hello All!

My name is Larry Stansbury and I am a Learning English Summer Intern for VOA.11244834_1594053074169994_1982938691_n

Many of you will be starting your freshmen year in college soon.  You may worry about not fitting in or not making friends. You are moving to a new place where you know no one. You have to begin everything again. In this blog, I will help you know what to expect when you are a first-year student at an American college.

I began my freshman year in college in the fall of 2014. I noticed many new problems with being 12 hours away from home (I was born and raised in Maryland). When you are a college student, you have the freedom to share your thoughts and opinions in class, and explore new interests and materials. The things you thought you hated might be things you love now. Most of all, you have much more independence than you did at home. Here are some tips for making your freshmen year a success:

  1.  Join a club: When I was school, there was an activity fair. At the fair, someone from every student club sits at a table. They have signup sheets to persuade freshmen to join the club, and make their year fun and exciting. When I was a freshman, I walked around each table to see if there was like a publishing club for me to join since I was a communications major. I saw a newspaper club table and I immediately signed up.
  2. Be prepared for loads of homework: In high school, you had to write a 3-5 page essay but in college, your professors require their students to write a 10-20 page essay of reading materials. Be prepared to stay up all night writing essays from a reading assignment or studying hard for tests and quizzes. DIANA DELGADO
  3. Push yourself to improve: If you go to a college that the professors make you do a 5 page essay of a reading, that’s too easy. Make the essay a little longer. You sometimes have to push yourself to make yourself better. Even if English is not your first language, volunteer to ask or answer questions in class. That way, the professor will learn who you are and give you a better grade for taking part in class discussions.
  4. Don’t just say it, Do It: You may notice that you keep reminding yourself to sign up for something. If you say to yourself that you are going to do this or that, don’t just say it, do it. When you see an advertisement of a club or event that you’re interested in, sign up immediately. This was my motto when I was a sophomore in high school. It helped me to overcome my shyness to get involved in journalism.
  5. Choose to transfer if necessary: If you do not feel happy at a school for many reasons, you can choose to transfer. Many students tend to feel homesick because they are far away from home. Another reason to transfer schools is that the school doesn’t offer a particular major. When I was at New England College, they didn’t offer my major, which was journalism. I applied to transfer to a school that accepted all my credits and I was accepted. An advantage of transferring is that it is easier to get accepted as a transfer student. You have shown that you can make it through a year or two of college.
  6. Have fun: Everyone says “college is the best time of your life.” So make the best out of four years in school because it goes by quickly – within a blink of an eye.
  7. Go to all the orientations: this will help to prepare you for what the school has to offer and you get to meet new people. Also, if you haven’t yet chosen whom to share a room with, this is a great chance to meet a possible roommate.Michael Cassidy, Mason Masters

You did everything you could to get to college – you’ve gotten good grades in high school, scored well on standardized test scores and been accepted to your top choice college – so enjoy and cherish all the hard work you’ve done in a journey of successful college career. Don’t forget to be determined in your freshmen year. Take advantage of the chance to learn as much as you can and make the best of your freshmen experience.

Good luck at your first year!

Larry Stansbury



Words in This Story

communicationsn. an academic discipline that deals with processes of human communication. The discipline encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation to mass media outlets such as television broadcasting

major – n. to have (a specified subject) as your main subject of study

homesick – adj. sad because you are away from your family and home

transfer – v. to stop going to one school and begin going to another

credits – n. a unit that measures a student’s progress towards earning a degree in a school, college, etc.

Now it’s your turn. Write to Larry about how your first year of college or university. What advice would you give to a new student?


Jill produces TESOL-related content for VOA Learning English.



Confessions of an English Learner is a place for you to practice your writing and share the joys and pains of learning the language. We will post a weekly prompt, to give you a chance to practice your writing and to comment on others’ writing.


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