15 Tips for GCU College Freshmen

GCU Freshmen celebrating Welcome Week

Starting college can be a difficult and stressful time, especially for first-year students. Between living on your own or the first time and having so many other new experiences, you will have to figure out life as you go. Keep reading for advice that you can take with you throughout your entire college experience.

1. Don’t Overpack

When moving away from home for the first time, it can be tempting to bring everything you own with you. Keep in mind that, as a college freshman, you will be sharing a room with others and must be mindful of their space, so you will most likely have to make decisions when packing and prioritize what you bring

2. Get Involved

Getting involved in campus life is one of the best ways to make friends and get to know people when you’re new to campus. Look online to see what clubs or sports you might be interested in or find other ways to get involved in campus life. This will make your time at college much more enjoyable, and you could make lifelong friendships in the process. 

3. Attend Campus Events

Attending events on campus will help you to be a part of the GCU community and can greatly improve your college experience. GCU has many events for students to attend, from larger events like high-energy basketball games and lip-sync battles to smaller events like small concerts and pop-ups with fun giveaways. No matter the event, you’ll always find something to do with your newfound friends. 

4. Budget Your Money – and Dining Dollars!

It’s essential for college freshmen to start learning how best to spend and budget their money; this skill will stay with you for the rest of your life. Educate yourself about how you’re paying for school, whether it be with money you’ve set aside, help from family members, scholarships, student loans or any combination of these.

Additionally, ensure that you’re using your dining dollars wisely. Your dining dollars are like a prepaid debit card that you can use for food on campus. This makes it easy to spend too much early in the year, so make sure to spend your dinning dollars in a timely matter. Otherwise, you may have to spend extra money on food as the semester goes on.

5. Stay Healthy

Staying healthy can be difficult for college freshmen; there are so many new things to experience, and it can be hard to remember to prioritize your health. You can make healthy choices at the dining locations, such as eating at the Lopes Training Table in the Student Union, and set aside time to exercise each week. This will not only keep you physically healthy but can also help improve your mental health.

6. Take Care of Your Mental Health

You experience tremendous change as a college freshman, so taking care of your mental health is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. College freshmen often experience homesickness and increased anxiety, especially at the beginning of the year. Surround yourself with people you feel comfortable opening up to. Additionally, learn about the on-campus mental health resources available to you, and don’t be afraid to use them. 

7. Remember Your Online Classes

It can be difficult to prioritize online classes when you’re taking both online and in-person classes. However, it’s important to participate in all aspects of online classes. Answering the multiple discussion questions (DQ) and posting responses every week can be an easy way to keep your grade up in the class and maintain your GPA. These DQs are also a great resource to help you thoroughly understand the content of the course. 

8. Go to Class

Attending class may seem obvious, but it’s important. You will learn more and perform better on assignments and tests if you do. Keep in mind that you’re paying for your education, and going to class will benefit your learning in the long run.

9. Find the Perfect Study Spot

Sometimes the perfect study post isn’t found at the desk in your room. You could find that you’re most productive in a study room, in the library, at the union or even on a blanket laid out in a field. No matter where it is, it will be helpful to know where you can go to get your best work done.

10. Get to Know Your Roommates and Neighbors

Because you’ll be seeing your roommates a lot, it’s a good idea to get to know them. While it’s unlikely that every roommate you have will be your best friend, it’s possible that you could form strong friendships with your roommates. The same goes for your neighbors. Take time to introduce yourself to the people who live around you; you never know who you could meet.

11. Make Friends in Your Classes

Making connections in your classes can help you get to know other people with similar interests while keeping up with your classes. You can find people to study with outside of class, long-lasting friendship and someone to share notes with you if you ever miss class.

12. Take Advantage of Campus Resources

As college freshmen on campus, make sure you know about all the campus and learning resources available to you. These include academic help, career help, tuition and financial aid information, health resources and more. These resources will come in handy throughout your entire college career. 

13. Talk to Your Student Services Counselor

Your student services counselor is the person who will help you schedule your classes, change your classes, select your general education courses, change your major if you decide to do so and more. It’s important to take time out of your semester to talk with your counselor and make sure you understand the classes you’re enrolled in and why.

14. Get To Know Your Professors

Make time to attend your professors’ office hours or introduce yourself after class. Building relationships with your professors will help you feel comfortable asking for help if you don’t understand a topic, and in the future, your professors can provide you with references and advice as you pursue your professional career.

15. Stay Organized

It’s essential that, as a college freshman, you develop the habit of staying organized. Consider buying a planner if you don’t already have one or utilize a calendar app to help you stay on top of your coursework. This can also help you plan out when to hang out with friends and when to do your homework.

Grand Canyon University is committed to helping all students succeed in their academic journeys and work toward professional careers, whether by making ample resources available to all students or fostering vibrant campus life for students to enjoy. Click the Request Info button to learn more about GCU and how to enroll.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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