Best College Advice

Click here to go to the NEW College Discussion Forum

Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Best College Advice
By Idiias (Idiias) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:56 pm: Edit

What's your best piece of advice to give for incoming freshmen

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:07 pm: Edit


By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:10 pm: Edit

Spend all your money from summer earnings on a watch and some CD's!

(I wasn't one of the "annoying" ones was I?)

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:18 pm: Edit

Keep a 3.2 GPA so that you cwill be allowed to take Junior Year Abroad.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:21 pm: Edit

Make friends.

By Avoidingwork (Avoidingwork) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:44 pm: Edit

Be open to new friends, ideas, and experiences...but keep your brain cells intact.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:06 pm: Edit

My advice is to study every subject every day even if it is just a little.

By Encomium (Encomium) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:10 pm: Edit

If you get depressed, don't hide in your own shell. Don't be afraid to talk to your parents even if you feel strange about it. They're still their and they want to help you.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:16 pm: Edit

Leave your comfort zone. Take a class in something on the opposit end of the spectrum that is normal for you, befriend people from totally different backgrounds...

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:46 pm: Edit

Too many freshmen pace themselves by what they see other freshmen doing.

Make believe you don't have ANY time to party for the first THREE weeks, even though everyone else is partying and socializing. Start reading ahead in every course during every spare moment.

At the end of the third week, if you can honestly say that you have some time to spare, start partying THEN. It will be more fun.

By A2a2 (A2a2) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit

Take advantage of the resources at your college or university - get involved, join an organization, go to the special lectures and performances, get to know your professors, participate in class, use the career center, try to get a meaningful research project or internship... It's all there for you.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:49 pm: Edit

Loved Morgantruce's post. Yes, study hard first then socialize. Get things under control for sure.

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:51 pm: Edit

call your parents at least once a week!

By Hill (Hill) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:54 pm: Edit

Trust your instincts.
Don't go crazy just because this may be your first time away from home.
You have 4 years ahead of you - pace yourself, if you plan to party.
Relax and have fun, make new friends.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:46 am: Edit

Take at least one course that intrigues you--because you know nothing about the subject.

By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:53 am: Edit

I think that this is important - very important: Get involved!! With a club or a fraternity or athletics or just hanging with friends. This is the time - ESPECIALLY as a new freshman - to make new friends and get involved in things other than academics. Do not be a loner. Make an extra effort to get involved with other people.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:54 am: Edit

No partying for the first three weeks? Miss all those orientation parties?? I don't know if that kind of isolation is can you make friends in your room or in the library??

They have to figure out how to balance work and play. Might as well start on Day 1.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:11 am: Edit

I read an excellent essay once, and the writer's father had given him this piece of advice on going off to college: "Figure it out."

I thought about that a lot. I think it is truly excellent advice, to stop and realize that there will be many, many things you don't understand or don't like or find unfair. After you start college, you have to figure out how to deal with a lot of groups, systems, requirements, as well as your own field. No one will take you by the hand to show you all these things. You have to figure most of it out for yourself.

It was years ago that I read this, and I still think of it.

By Myway (Myway) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:16 am: Edit

When feeling nervous, take a deep breath.

By Tabby (Tabby) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:18 am: Edit

Don't cut class.

By Valpal (Valpal) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:34 am: Edit

Don't forget that there's a lot of Mom and Dad's hard earned money riding on this enterprise called, College. So don't blow it by making socializing and partying your main priority. The rest of your wage earning life may be seriously influenced by the decisions you make while in college.

Endeavor to use your unprecidented freedom as an opportunity to practice behaving like a adult.

Make friends with people from other cultures and income groups. Try to be a supportive and caring friend.

Once in a while, do something kooky and just plain stupid (as long as it's not self destructive or harmful to others)---you'll look back at those escapades with laughing fondness.

And by all means, take advantage of that wonderful smorgasbord of college course offerings, and feed your intellectual curiousity!

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:16 am: Edit

Sorry, Morgantruce, but that's really bad advice for freshmen.

The first 3 weeks are the time when all freshmen are eager to make new friends. After that people settle down, form their groups and are not as approachable as they are in the first few weeks. Studying during this wholetime and not sharing the novelty with your peers will make you depressed because you'll be homesick.

By Originaloog (Originaloog) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:03 am: Edit

Realize that you will never have an opportunity like this again in your life!!! Never!

Much of the advice above is good. Select your free electives carefully, ones that intrigue you, broaden your understanding of life. Attend colloquia, special lectures, music/theatre performaces, poetry readings, seminars offered on campus. Join a club or two which will broaden your circle of friends.

Approach your studies seriously. That will be your "job" for the next four years. Take advantage of the career center, perhaps to get an interesting intership or co-op opportunity.

Above all, have the time of your life and take advantage of those Greek rush parties to give you a break from the dining hall offerings!

By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit

As our kids begin yet another first day of school, I that these words still hold true.

All I Ever Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten
By Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not found at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

don't take things that aren't yours.

say you're sorry when you hurt someone.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush the toilet.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder and wonderful things.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are still all like that.

Goldfish and hampsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all die...So do we.

And then remember the story book about Dick and Jane and the first important word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK!

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:43 am: Edit

Don't ever forget where you come from and who you are.

Spend as much vacation time with your folks because once you graduate, you will not be able to see them as often...and family is the one constant in this universe that will always be there to guide you.

You will be homesick. Expect it.

Don't lose touch with your high school friends. High School friends are the ones that last a lifetime.

Don't try to conquer the school in a semester. You will have 4 years to explore every little corner. So be patient and take your time.

By Over30 (Over30) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:00 am: Edit

Don't be too embarrassed or macho or cool to ask for help if you need it. Colleges have a lot of resources available to deal with any concerns you may have with classes and grades, social or sexual issues, or stress or other mental health problems.

Try new things and make new friends.

By Demingy (Demingy) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:14 am: Edit

Think outside the box.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:29 am: Edit

Cheers, I don't think orientation parties are the kind of parties Morgantruce and I were referring too! There's a difference between attending scheduled social events and meeting fellow freshman and attending any party that you happen to get wind of.

By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:51 pm: Edit

Morgantruce, that's absolutely rotten advice. The first two or three weeks of freshman year is the precise time that you want to put academics on the backburner (no midterms, big papers etc.) and meet as many people as possible. Never again during your collegiate career will it be as easy to make friends.

By Drusba (Drusba) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 03:05 pm: Edit

The key to success is very simple:

Get out of the damn bed early enough to make your first class in the morning. Go to bed early enough to be able to do that.

It will be about the third week of college when the freshman fully realizes how hard it is to do that...and how many are failing to do it.

By Demingy (Demingy) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 03:21 pm: Edit

I'm not sure how many of the protests are coming from people who have been to college, but I don't think that Morgantruce's advice is horrible.

So many freshman do the opposite (live it up as soon as they get on campus) and then find themselves in over their head. If you focus on finding balance at the very beginning then it is less likely you will end up over your head and having to drop out. It is generally easier to catch up later in the semester or quarter when you have at least a basic understanding of the class than toward the beginning when you haven't even learned much about it.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 03:40 pm: Edit

I agree with Demingy you get over your head, how much fun is partying going to be ?
My best piece of advice is never just stop going to class. Talk to the professor, if you need to, drop the class but never just stop going.
Sleep at least 40 hours a week. Don't neglect your health. Always have a designated driver or other person who will be able to act soberly in emergencies if that happens. Better to have one and not need him....

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 05:32 pm: Edit

Morgantruce didn't stay you should stay balanced and make sure you don't fall behind..he said make believe you don't have ANY time for partying. That is what makes his advice horrible.

By Momof2inca (Momof2inca) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 05:59 pm: Edit

Since hardly anyone writes letters anymore, email your parents once a week about your impressions of college life. Tell them to save the emails (and their responses to you) to print out later so you have a record of your time in college. It gets to be a blur later on in life. Bonus: you will have a record of how much you have grown as a human being during these four wonderful years. It really is amazing, the difference between 18 and 22.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:52 pm: Edit

Wait a second, are parents saying there is a difference between an orientation party and a party you catch wind of? I don't think so!

I'm sure Morgantruce had good intentions, but the advice on 'pretending' seemed weird to me. I would say forget about any sort of 'pretending'--go in as true to yourself as you can possibly be and go in with your eyes open.

If you're the sort who likes to play hard, then by jolly, you'd better figure out how to work hard too. Day 1 sounds like a good day to start haha.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:59 pm: Edit

My husband and I, needing to decide what to say to our son before he left "home" in June reflected often on the advice given to him by his father, 30 years ago next month..

"At college there will be alcohol, drugs and sex..I recommend the latter."

My father gave me a bridge book and said, "learn to play well and you will never be bored"

Different era.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:15 pm: Edit

Very funny R. And did your H take the advice??

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:20 pm: Edit

Can I take the 5th on his behalf?

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit

Cheers, depends on what you're getting oriented to.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:35 pm: Edit

For some time, I've given the exact same advice to college bound students that I know personally. Several later told me that it was good advice. A few told me that they wished they had taken it. Not ONE ever told me later that it was bad advice.

Three weeks into the first semester, you'll be in a much better position to judge for yourself than you are now. If the logic of that escapes you, I'm sorry.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:02 pm: Edit

R, Just kidding. Not really suggesting you should advertise your H, lol.

Mmmmm, puritan logic tends to 'escape' me, sorry. I went to every orientation party--and there were some wonderful doozies--and still managed to make a success of architecture school and life.

Go figure?

Different strokes for different folks...

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:31 pm: Edit

Why would a teenager go back and tell an older person who had given them advice that it was bad advice? Think about it. That would be unnecessary or rude. That doesn't prove your point.

Not going to ANY parties during the first few weeks of college is bad advice. Period. Isolating yourself can be just as bad as overdoing it and neglecting your studies.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:39 pm: Edit


Telling Morgantruce NOW that the advice he is giving is horrible is not rude? The logic escapes me.

The good thing about advice, especially, given over the internet, is you are free to take it or not, as you wish. If you don't wish to take the advice, thank the person and go ahead and do exactly as you please.

At any rate, I have a general request. Three weeks into the term, perhaps student posters could comment on what they did since the beginning of term and how they are faring.

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:47 pm: Edit

I didn't say I wasn't being rude....But I don't personally know him and he wasn't giving the advice to me so there's a difference.

By Idiias (Idiias) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Okay, okay...I'll compromise between studying and socializing the first three weeks. More advice please.

By the way thank you all for your great advice, It's really helping me prepare ALOT. You're all invited to my going away party next saturday. Especially you sokkermom. lol

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:03 pm: Edit

Well, I don't see the difference.
Posting on the internet for all to see that a piece of advice is horrible is not exactly courteous to me. It does not matter if the post is directly addressed to the person who gave the advice or not. All the more so since you have not yet had a chance to test the utility of the advice and are just speculating. However, once you have evidence that a piece of advice is indeed wrong, informing the advice giver discreetly is being helpful as it will prevent this person from later giving the same erroneous advice.

Anyway, the test will come soon enough.

By Wjb (Wjb) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:12 pm: Edit

Momof2inca: I love your email journal idea! What a great way to chronicle the college experience. I'm going to suggest it to my daughter. Thanks for a wonderful suggestion.

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:17 pm: Edit

I may be speculating, but it's common sense that if you isolate yourself, that will make you even more homesick. By the way, the part about being rude was meant to show why he had never heard the advice was bad..people in general wouldn't do that to an older person who had given them advice. They would just ignore it or say it was actually good advice. I was not trying to defend myself.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:46 pm: Edit

I've had nine months of emails from S's GAP year...they are wonderful but if 'we' want a journal? You know 'who' is going to do it.

All I ask is that he takes the pictures and sends the emails, (entertaining please). Once he is home, I assemble the photojournal for grandparents et all to see. Plus it gives him easy talking points.

Likewise, I print and save the once-a-week email I send to my list of 100.

By Sac (Sac) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:19 am: Edit

You don't have to decide what you are "going to do" with your life as a freshman. You don't even have to decide as an undergraduate.

You have four years to get the most out of college -- not four months.

Find what interests you, learn all that you can about it. Later, you can figure out how to make a living at it.

Get involved in at least one extracurricular as a freshman.

Get to know some professors.

Choose a balanced schedule of courses -- not all heavy reading, not all heavy writing, not all lots of problem sets. I didn't do this one semester and ended up having to read the Brothers Karamazov in two days. What a waste.

Get a planner and write down dates. Don't waste energy trying to remember every day what you have to do today, tomorrow, and next week. Lists, lists, lists.

Have fun. Feed your head! (with books,and ideas, and lectures, and plays, and discussions, of course).

Honor thy father and mother, who are probably paying the bills, with a phone call at least once a week.

By Momofthree (Momofthree) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit

Email your mother. Make eye contact with your professors. Ask for help.

By Coureur (Coureur) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 07:47 pm: Edit

Don't worry that you can't do the work. The whole Byzantine admissions process was designed to pick you because you CAN do the work. But of course you have to follow through and actually do it.

Don't worry that many of your classmates seem smarter or better than you. They're not. In fact they are probably thinking the same thing about you.

If you go to a big school don't worry that you won't learn your way around campus and get to know all those buildings. You don't need to know them all. Four years from now when you graduate you will have never stepped foot inside 80% of those buildings.

Not feeling very good? Getting sick a lot?Getting sufficient sleep and eating a better diet can cure almost anything.

Report an offensive message on this page    E-mail this page to a friend
Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.

Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only
Administer Page