Skip to main content

First Year Tips and Tricks

A guide to surviving your first year of college.

The first eighteen years of our lives are defined by school. From elementary school to middle school most of us went from being cute to awkward. From middle school to high school we lost most of our awkwardness and became know-it-alls.

Now, a lot of us have matured (hopefully) and have families and careers. Going back to school to get a degree seems almost impossible. Sacrifices will have to be made so we can balance our personal, work, and school lives, all while squeezing in a couple Netflix binges each week. It’s not our fault they keep dropping shows like Stranger Things.

Whether you are starting college straight out of high school or have taken a break from education and are going back, here are nine tips and tricks to help you have a rewarding college experience.

1. Go to class.

No brainer, right? At times it’s easier said than done. Justification starts to set in when we get comfortable and we think, “I’ll be fine if I miss class today.” Maybe, but what if there is an in-class assignment or a pop quiz? Also, a lot professors mark attendance and give you points just for showing up.

2. Meet with your advisor

This is critical. An advisor makes sure that you are on the most efficient path to earning your degree. Want to save money? Meet at least once a semester with your advisor.

Student typing on keyboard

3. Take advantage of the campus’s resources

USU has a ton of resources at your disposal and you should be using them. Computer labs, access to the Merrill-Cazier library, and tutoring, either one-on-one or online, are all covered by your tuition and don’t require any extra payment.

4. Get to know your professor.

If you are going to class every day, this will be easier. The path to success is paved with visiting professors during their office hours. Believe it or not, they want you to graduate and have an awesome career as badly as you do.

Being overwhelmed with a full class schedule, work schedule, and social schedule is normal. But it can be managed by making sure to assign a specific task to ever hour of the day (or even every half hour). If you have a Gmail account, their calendar is simple and easy to use. You can find tips on managing your time at

Chemistry Teacher teaching students

5. Set goals

Having the goal of graduating college is good, but there is a lot you have to do leading up to the glorious walk across the stage. Meeting with your advisor will give you a breakdown of when to take each class.

6. Get involved

Meeting new people in class, at events, clubs, and other university organizations increases your success rate as a student and a needed break from the books. Become friends with your peers and create study groups.

7. Remember names

Forgetting someone’s name is embarrassing. You are going to meet a ton of new people your first year in college. Make an effort to remember their names. Especially if they are taking the same class as you and you know you will see them regularly.


8. Pursue passions, not grades

It is easier to stay motivated if you are pursuing something you love. If you are only focused on a grade, bad habits, like procrastination, will begin to take over.

Student sitting using laptop
First Year Tips & Tricks

A guide to surviving your first year of college...

Student eating ice cream
Aggie Ice Cream

The first ice cream to make it to outer space...