5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College + Pro Tips

Higher education is a privilege. Not everyone has the opportunities or the funds to attend university, so it’s important to take full advantage of your time in college. The first semester of college can be rough and things work differently so it takes some getting used to. I’ve compiled some things I wish I knew before college, as well as some pro college tips for students. Some of the tips are directed towards UNCC students.

  1. 1. It's harder than it looks.

    College is a lot harder than it looks. It’s difficult mostly because time management is crucial to your success. Professors will occasionally remind you of due dates and exams, but this is not a regular thing. Procrastination is your worst enemy. Try to find a way to stay focused . Planners and calendars are very useful for this and it doesn’t hurt when they’re pretty to look at.

  2. 2. It can be extremely stressful.

    Post high school, classes are on another level. Even when your grades are fine and all your work is done, there's always the next assignment to worry about. De-stressing is important in college. Create time to relax and wind down.

  3. 3. Join student organizations.

    Student organizations are a fantastic way to meet people who have similar interests as you. Organizations are also excellent resume builders. There are over 300 student clubs and orgs at UNCC. Visit studentorgs.uncc.edu to see the full list of campus organizations. *cough cough* Her Campus is looking for members.

  4. 4. Textbooks are crazy expensive.

    Not only do you pay insane amounts of money to attend university, but required textbooks really break the bank and the soul. Access codes for online homework and modules are really expensive, but you can’t pass the class without it. Financial aid and loans can help pay for books. I suggest to rent when you can and buy used if possible.

  5. 5. It’s okay to take more than 4 years.

    Most students are pressured from family and universities to graduate in four years. Sometimes graduating in four years can be extremely overwhelming. I changed my major three times and I took a semester off. I will be graduating a semester “late”. Sometimes you need to prioritize your personal well-being above school. Also, you should graduate with the major and degree that you really want. Some financial aid can last for six years. Check with your aid or loan servicer.

Pro Tips

  • Degree tracking is a great way to see your progress. Most universities have a degree tracking software. UNCC’s is called Degree Works. You can find it in banner self-service.

  • Don’t miss your scheduled class registration time. All the good class times will be taken.

  • Plan when you’re going to do assignments. You’re less likely to push it off if you have a set time slot to do the assignment

  • Obtain the planning sheet for your major. Your advisor will usually give you one. You can start to map out future semesters.

  • It’s alright to ask for assistance. The tutoring the counseling centers are great places to get the support you need.

  • Take advantage of the buses. The NextBus app can track the buses and find stops

  • Bring containers to the dining hall to take some food home with you