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Asking a college freshman “how is college going?” can sometimes be a sore subject. No matter how homesick they might be feeling, they’ll probably end up staying “Oh I love it!” Well, I’m here to bring you the truth about the freshmen experience at institutions ranging from small liberal arts to large research universities.


Q: What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to college?

  • Penn State: I wish I got used to doing stuff alone more. In high school, you’re constantly doing things alongside friends, but in college, everyone is on their own schedule and always super busy. Having alone time forces you to become a lot more comfortable with yourself and a lot more independent!

  • Lafayette: College isn’t going to magically fix your life and make you into this perfectly improved self; you have to put in the work. You have to seek those opportunities, get outside of your comfort zone and explore as much as you can.

  • William and Mary: It’s not normal to make best friends right away–most people who do don’t have real long lasting friendships. So don’t fret and be patient!


Q: What is the biggest misconception about college?

  • Lafayette: People talk about college like it’s summer camp and it’s not, it’s still school. So you should still focus on your academics.

  • Barnard: You have a lot of free time, more than high school, it’s true. But it’s harder to manage than I thought! I find myself staying up super late working because it’s harder to get As than I thought it would be (it’s normal not to get the best grades at first).

  • Cornell: Clubs and jobs are selective! Leaders go for people who have prior knowledge so do your research and try to have some knowledge or experience beforehand!


Q: What are your best memories so far?

  • Lafayette: Definitely just chilling, staying in with your friends and being weird and having fun together. The Instagram tailgate posts might say otherwise, but it’s definitely the intimate friend hangouts that are the best.

  • Barnard: Well, one day someone left their door open and all my floormates happened to stumble in there. Bonding with the people makes up my favorite memories for sure!


Q: What are you looking forward to the most?

  • Lafayette: I’m definitely looking forward to studying abroad most!

  • Lafayette: Taking fewer Intro classes and having more leadership roles.

  • Lafayette: Getting further involved with neuroscience research and becoming a psych lab assistant.

  • Barnard: Figuring out what I want to major in! There are a bunch of interesting classes to choose from and I can’t wait to take advantage of the selection.


Q: Best advice for high school seniors?

  • Michigan: The transition into college is really tough. There’s a lot of stress and anxiety along with doubts and concerns about your choice of school; this is perfectly normal. You might feel like it’s not the right fit at first but not everything immediately falls into place. If it doesn’t feel right at first, it’s most likely due to the transition not the school itself! Remember to try your best to stick it out freshman year and see how you adapt before you may decide to transfer; it’s not supposed to be easy. Give it time and patience!

  • William & Mary: Don’t worry about where you end up going! You get what you give in college–just like in high school. If you’re going to grad school, that’s what matters, so just try the best you can wherever you end up.

  • Lafayette: Enjoy senior year and all your high school traditions while you can because college is a whole new ballgame with brand new traditions. Go out to coffee with your favorite teacher or get to know your librarians, because there’s a chance you may never see them again (if you went to boarding school at least).

  • Ithaca: High school teachers make it seem like college work is much harder and you’re all alone. That’s true in some ways, but there are also plenty of accommodations: tutors, writing centers, study groups and much more. If you’re struggling, take advantage of all your future college has to offer and it will pay off in the long run!


To high school seniors or younger: the college process is a daunting task, but it all pays off in the end. Things most likely won’t end up how you originally thought they would.


To current college freshman: yeah, we’re here with you. Taking it one step at a time and figuring it out as you go is a-okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself.


To everyone else: Here it is, we spilled our secrets. Now you’re probably reminiscing on your cringey freshmen year phase. Thanks for giving us hope that it only goes up from here.


Huge bagels and Soundcloud enthusiast.
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