5 Things Your College Won’t Tell You About Freshman Year

By Kelly Leslie, Student at San Francisco State University

Calling all high school seniors! Have you figured out where you will be going to college?

It’s the time of the year when universities are sending out acceptance letters and requesting your commitment to attend classes in the fall.

Chances are, you will be attending an open house or two at your top-choice schools within the next couple of months. Although you will be taking home tons of information, there are some things your university may not tell incoming freshmen. Here's my guide to the advice you really need to hear!

Deadlines Will Make or Break You

Have you started filling out your housing applications for fall? It may seem early to start this process if you still don’t know exactly where you will be going, but take it from someone who has been there before … if you don’t do it now, you may not end up living on campus. What universities don’t tell you is that they may not have enough rooms to house its entire incoming class of freshmen. This means that not only do you have to turn your paperwork in by the deadline, but you actually need to turn it in early in order to secure your spot. You risk being put on a long waiting list if you don’t mail it in by at least two weeks before the due date.

Units Matter

All universities want to make sure that students are successful and pass all of their classes. As a result, many advisers will say that 15 units are too many for freshmen to handle and that you only need to take 12 to be considered a full-time student. What they don’t tell you is that in order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from a school that goes by semesters, you need to earn a total of 120 units. This means that you need to take 15 units each semester in order to graduate in four years.

It’s important not to overload yourself when you first start school, but it is also important to know this information so that you can make the decision that is best for you. Keep this in mind for when orientation rolls around and it’s time to register for that first semester.

Advising is Mandatory

All schools have different policies, but the majority of them make you attend an advising session or two before you can register for classes. You may think that you have your classes under control, but your school might still require that you meet with an adviser before you are eligible to register. This is important to note because if you don’t meet this requirement, you may have a hold put on your account, keeping you from being able to sign up for units.

Books Can't Always Be Sold Back

Everyone knows that books are a very expensive part of being a student, but most people buy them anyway because they think they can sell them back at the end of the semester. What most freshmen don’t know is that the university may not accept the old books if they are not the right edition or will not be used by a professor the next semester. Hold off on buying your books until after the first week of class in case a professor makes a mistake on the syllabus or decides he/she no longer wants you to have a certain book. Also, look into other alternatives, such as renting your textbooks.

You May Not Need All of Those Meals

Most schools will automatically sign you up for 15 to 17 meals a week, but most students won’t end up using all of these and feel that they are wasting their money. What they don’t always tell you is that you can opt for a smaller meal plan or even purchase block meals, which allows you to buy all of them upfront instead of paying per week. Make sure to check out your options and consider how many times you will really be visiting the dining center in a week before you make a commitment. The plan can’t always be changed once the year has begun.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!