15 Tips to Know Before Heading Off to College

Senior year of high school brings on a lot of pressure. From preparing to graduation to keeping your grades at their best, and of course, filling out those college applications.

15 Things to Know Before Heading to College - The Witty Wife

There are 15 things to know before heading out the door to college!

Frankly, there are tons of things I wish I knew before heading out the door for college.

1. College brings the best of friends

In high school, I really didn’t have many friends. To this day, I really only talk to two (they are awesome, though). But what I didn’t know was that college brings some of the best people into your life.

2. College loan debt is a real thing

Now a days, I hear lots of parents talking about going to FASFA meetings at schools for their teens. This confuses me because those teens have no idea what they are getting into. I didn’t. Loans will devour your income after college so plan accordingly, save up during high school, and make smart money choices.

3. Studying will be second nature

In high school, it was easy to cram for the test the night before. This is not the same for college. You must prepare like a week in advance for those midterms. I have friends that literally studied all semester to Ace a bio test.

4. Freshmen 15 is NOT a myth

This is a biggie. There is constant talk before going to college about freshmen 15 and how if you aren’t careful, you will gain those 15 pounds. This is very true. So watch that fried food you get at those late night Applebees get togethers. In my case, I gained 40lbs in college… Thank the Lord that’s gone now.

5. Live in the dorms

The start of freshmen year of college I was not planning on living in the dorms. Actually, I wasn’t even registered with a room until the end of welcome week. I recommend living in the dorms as long as possible. This is the full college experience! It brings you closer to your peers and helps strengthen those relationships. It also makes it super easy to get to class!

6. Ask other college students who the best professors are

In college, I was lucky to have some of the best professors. However, there are a couple I wish people would have warned me about before signing up for a class. Make sure to ask around and figure out who teaches the best classes.

7. Plan your class schedule with no Friday classes

I mean let’s be honest, a three day weekend sounds perfect. Unfortunately, all my major requirement classes fell on Fridays. However, my freshmen year classes could have been tweaked. Shoot for scheduling with either no Friday or no Monday classes, you’ll thank me later.

8. Don’t pick a major freshmen year

If I could go back and change one thing, it would be this. I chose my major way too early. During sophomore year was when I really found what I love and that is Theatre. Try out a few different classes in different fields before picking your major.

9. All nighters really do exist

I remember when I was in middle school and would go to all night skates. Little did I know that college would bring about all night studying. Make sure you plan out your homework and study sessions so you don’t have to endure too many all nighters.

10. Plan on having a job while in school

This is a pretty controversial topic among my friends and I. Personally, I think it is harder to do college without a job. Having this extra income helps lower your loan costs and fills time during  breaks.

11. Study abroad. Anywhere.

Studying abroad changed my life. For real. I traveled the world over in less than 3 months. It opened my eyes to a whole new world I never really thought existed. Plan out your college career with study abroad in the mix. And go anywhere your heart desires!

12. Don’t go home every weekend

I went to school in my hometown so it made it easy to go home any time I wanted. But what I learned throughout college is that weekends at college was when you really got to know people. If you plan on going to school near your hometown, don’t go home every weekend. Take the time to socialize with your peers 🙂

13. Register for the least expensive meal plan

Let’s face it, college food is at the same level of hospital cafeteria food. It is better to have the least expensive meal plan and be able to eat off campus. You can still use your swipes for those group meals.

14. Don’t miss unnecessary class time

Missing class might seem easy because you control your schedule but I recommend not doing so. Missing class means you have extra homework. Extra homework means that you have less time to hang with friends. Plus, sometimes in class the professor gives extra notes and tips than you can’t find online.

15. Rush a fraternity or sorority

I was skeptical about joining a sorority freshmen year. From the horror stories online to the stereotypes in movies, I wasn’t sure it was for me. But, I was curious so I rushed. And boy am I glad that I did! Joining a sorority gave me three of the best friends I could ask for, allowed me to take on leadership positions, and shaped my character. I mean, you don’t know unless you try, right??


Even though I may not be using my college degree for my career track right, I don’t regret going. College is the chance to find yourself. Take these tips with you and you will be all set!

There are 15 things you should know before heading out the door to college!
What do you wish you knew before college? Share your thoughts with me!


7 thoughts on “15 Tips to Know Before Heading Off to College

  1. I agree SO much with your list!! I tutor high school students and I always recommended having Fridays off of class, even if you have to take a night class or three hour block during the week. Also, yes – debt is REAL! I didn’t rush but I wish I would have! Great tips

  2. Brittany_WMSB says:

    Ahh this is bringing me back to undergrad! I am so glad I lived in the dorms. I do wish my school had FASFA meetings. I was a first generation college student and my mom didn’t realize how important that form was. It was required for almost every scholarship I applied for (which was a TON of them), but a week before I moved away to college, I found the form in her room. She had put it on her dresser and never sent it in, which explained why I didn’t hear back on most of the applications, and I didn’t get any need based grants, which I may have qualified for. Gah. Painful! As for loans, I didn’t take out any for undergrad, but am paying off my law school loans now – it’s horrible!

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