Making the Most of College: Advice from Graduating Seniors

The transition from high school to college can be rough. For most, no life experience even slightly compares to college life. Parents try to offer their words of wisdom but it’s hard to relate (they didn’t even have Facebook then!). If you have older siblings or older friends you’re in luck. If not, consider this advice from your friends here at Her Campus. We’ve got you covered with advice on everything from school, campus life, social life, and more! 

Looking back, we all probably could have used this advice when we were failing our first midterms, getting sick at fraternity parties, and when we gained a ton of weight, ew. So here’s to you, high school seniors, or anyone with at least a year left of college — take our advice and enjoy the best years of your life.

School Advice

“Freshman year grades do count! Don't get overly caught up in the fun parts of can still have lots of fun while maintaining the grades that got you into your school in the first place!”

-Senior, Cornell University

If you think you might fail a class, drop it. Paying for more credits is better than paying for more credits with a zero on your transcript.”

-Senior, Lafayette College

Take advantage of professors' office hours. I really wish I had visited more of my favorite professors in their offices, especially those who taught classes or subjects I was interested in. Establishing relationships with your professors can help you feel welcome during your first year, especially if you've come from a high school where "everybody knows your name." Plus a professor in your field could be great at giving advice and could be a crucial recommendation for your first job or internship in a few years.”

-Senior, University of North Carolina

“Arrange your schedule so that you have afternoon Friday classes. A Friday 8 am class is deadly.”

-Senior, University of Vermont

“Take classes you are actually interested in and feel you can learn from. It will make your hours spent in the library so much better if you actually care about what you are studying.”

-Senior, Cornell University

Go into school undecided unless you are TOTALLY decided. At the very least, don't go in with your minor picked out already. Think about the practical application of your major and minor. Go with a minor that you are definitely interested in. That way, if your major doesn't work out, you can always go back to school and have some credits from your minor to apply to your grad work.”

-Senior, University of Vermont

“Make it a priority to learn what exactly you need to do to get good grades. (Hint: It probably isn't all of the reading). You'll end up saving a lot of time and energy.”

-Senior, Cornell University  

Home Relationships

“Unless you risk certain death at the hands of your high school significant other's father, mother, etc., do not matriculate as a freshman in a committed relationship. I saw way too many first and second semesters wasted this way.”

-Senior, Lafayette College

“Talk to your friends from home often — they’ll keep you sane. And you’ll have people to hang out with at home when you are missing school like crazy (and your parents are driving you insane).”

-Senior, Boston College

“If you insist on being in a long distance relationship, test out the waters first semester of freshman year by taking a break. If you’re really meant to be it will work out.”

-Senior, Boston University

Life on Campus

“Try to establish a positive relationship with your RA. Learn which ones care for rules and which are more flexible with them. If you live in a dorm where they're all strict, make friends somewhere else.”

-Senior, Lafayette College

My advice is to be patient and give things a chance.  It's easy to feel like the odd girl out, or that you picked the wrong place to be, but if you try to have fun, you might find new friends and learn more too!”

-Senior, SUNY Purchase

“If you care about how you smell at all, always save quarters for laundry. They're worth their weight in ... well, .25 cent increments.”

-Senior, Lafayette College

“Make sure you think of every single "stride", experience, friendship, class etc. as part of the journey of college and that you will learn something useful from that experience and take it with you. Also do not sweat the small stuff!”

-Senior, Cornell University

“Join a club, activity, or something. They are usually a lot of fun and a good way to meet people.”

-Senior, University of Vermont

“Be selfish when deciding on your roommates/living situation. Politely telling someone you can't live with someone will not ruin your friendship. Rooming with someone with incompatible living habits will.”

-Senior, Cornell University

“If you are miserable with your random roommate, don’t put off moving out.”

-Senior, Colorado State University

“Have an open mind. When you get to college you'll meet people from all different walks of life, and they will enrich your life more than you could ever know if you just let them in. Try everything once, twice if you like it. No regrets, and everything happens for a reason.”

-Senior, Carnegie Mellon University

Make the most of your time at school—go out with your friends, focus on your classes and just enjoy every minute because you can't go back. You're only in college for four years (for most of us), but your friendships and experiences stay with you for a lifetime.”

-Senior, LeMoyne College

Social Life

“The things that seem like the biggest deal freshman year end up being so minor in the long term. Don't let boy drama, roommate issues, or a bad grade ever ruin an entire weekend or even a night.”

-Senior, Columbia University

“Don’t think that just because you came to college a virgin that you need to lose it the first night.”

-Senior, Boston University

“Be careful who you hook up with. Don’t trust people too readily.”

-Senior, Loyola Maryland

“Don't go to the senior bars as a freshman and think that you're supposed to be there.”

-Senior, Fordham University

“If you've never drank before and plan to, learn your limits. Just because you have a shot put in front of you doesn't mean you have to take it.”

-Senior, Lafayette College

Try to meet and stay friends with people who could be your friends forever.”

-Senior, Washington & Lee University

Make sure you study abroad single.”

-Senior, Villanova University


“The Freshman 15 is not a myth. Plan accordingly.”

-Senior, Lafayette College

“Never, EVER wear sweatpants to class. You'll always function better and feel better if you get dressed in real clothes every morning.”

-Senior, Carnegie Mellon

“Eat the food but go to the gym.”

-Senior, University of Vermont

“Be careful what you put on your Facebook. Employers really do check sometimes! On the topic of Facebook, don’t friend everyone you meet. Not cool.”

-Senior, Cornell University 

“Get involved with career planning as soon as you can!”

-Senior, Washington & Lee University

“Try to limit your late-night eating as best you can. Hooking up after you go out is usually a good way to do that.”

-Senior, Emory University

And now, the most important advice:

College is the best four years of your life. Enjoy it. Don't take it for granted. You are so lucky to have all of it ahead of you.”

-Seniors, all over


College seniors all over the country